Examination and assessment of the licentiate thesis
Public defence, approval, and assessment of the doctoral thesis:
- Pre-examination and permission to defend the thesis
- Distribution of the thesis
- Opponent 
- Assessment Board
- Assessment 
Achievements and their assessment
Degree certificate

Examination and assessment of the licentiate thesis

The Faculty Council will appoint two examiners for the licentiate thesis. The supervisor may act as one of the examiners. The other examiner should be from a faculty or university other than that of the supervisor.
Two copies of the licentiate thesis are submitted for assessment. A summary page must be included. The summary form to be submitted is available at http://www.ulapland.fi or at the faculty office.

The licentiate thesis is assessed on a scale from 5 to 10. Both the topic and the grade of the thesis are marked on the licentiate’s diploma.

After the licentiate thesis has been approved, if not before, the student must submit five additional copies of the work to the faculty office. These will be distributed to the libraries of the Faculties of Law at the Universities of Helsinki, Turku, and Lapland and to the Library of Parliament.

Public defence, approval, and assessment of the doctoral thesis

Pre-examination and permission to defend the thesis

The Faculty Council will appoint two pre-examiners for the doctoral thesis upon application by the student.
As a rule, the application should not be processed until the student’s supervisor has issued a statement recommending that the thesis be accepted for a pre-examination. This is because the supervisor has an obligation to ensure that the work fulfils the requirements set for a doctoral thesis. The supervisor must also make sure that the language level in the thesis proposed for examination corresponds to the requirements of a doctoral thesis. When necessary, the supervisor must guide the student to have the language inspected and corrected to a sufficient degree.

If the student so insists, the pre-examiners may be appointed even if the supervisor has not approved the appointment. In such cases, the Faculty Council will request a statement on the matter from the supervisor.

The principal criterion in choosing thesis examiners is to find persons with the requisite expertise for the task. Only a person holding a doctor's degree or a corresponding foreign degree can act as a pre-examiner. One of the pre-examiners must be a member of the Faculty of Law at a university other than the University of Lapland. Qualified examiners can be found not only in the student’s own faculty (mainly professors and docents) but in other faculties of law and at other universities where law is taught, including foreign universities. Interaction between domestic and international science should be promoted in the pre-examination of theses, and therefore it is recommendable to use foreign experts as pre-examiners. At least one of the pre-examiners should, however, be a person who is familiar with Finnish scientific practices and assessment criteria for doctoral theses. Yet both pre-examiners may be from foreign universities if suitable experts cannot be found in Finland or if the use of two foreign pre-examiners can be justified in some other way.

In order to expedite the thesis pre-examination procedure, the Faculty Council generally sets a deadline of three months by which the examiners are to complete their task. Statements recommending that the thesis be defended are based on the version of the manuscript examined. A recommending statement can be approved even with correction proposals if the suggested corrections do not affect the granting of permission to defend the thesis.

The pre-examiners must set forth grounds for positive as well as negative statements. If the pre-examination does not result within the prescribed time in a statement recommending that permission be granted to defend the thesis, the pre-examination procedure will expire, unless the doctoral candidate specifically wants to bring the matter before the Faculty Council for a decision.

Pursuant to an agreement between the examiners and the degree candidate, the pre-examination procedure may be extended for a reasonable time past the prescribed deadline in order to allow the candidate to make any necessary corrections. Extensions of the examination period should be reported either orally or in writing to the dean and the faculty office.

When the pre-examination procedure has failed, the doctoral candidate may request for a new preliminary examination when the amendments suggested in the rejecting statement, or other amendments, have been made and the instructor recommends starting the pre-examination procedure.

Distribution of the thesis

The degree candidate must ensure that the thesis is publicly distributed in printed or other appropriate form prior to the defence.

It is recommended that doctoral theses in law be published in book form. The faculty recommends that they be published in a renowned series of books with a broad circulation.

If, exceptionally, the thesis is published solely in electronic form, the place of publication must be an electronic publication series approved by the University of Lapland, another university, or a commercial publisher. The series must have publishing practices with clear, established, and publicly available rules and standards.

The doctoral candidate must always submit a required number of copies of the thesis to the university. If the thesis has been published in electronic form only, the faculty will notify the candidate about the form in which the copies must be submitted before the public examination and approval of the thesis. As a rule, the candidate should be prepared to provide the required number of copies of the thesis to the faculty in bound, paper form.


Normally, one of the pre-examiners is appointed as the opponent at the defence, although two opponents may be designated when necessary.

An international expert can be asked to act as an opponent also in those cases when it is not feasible or reasonable to request him or her to be a pre-examiner. Interaction between international and Finnish research should be supported also when assessing dissertations. In assessing the standard of a doctoral thesis on the basis of the pre-examination and the defence, it must be ensured that the assessment criteria are those used in Finland.

Assessment Board

Unless special reasons exist for proceeding otherwise, the assessment board for a thesis will be composed of the opponent(s), the pre-examiners, the Custos, the candidate’s supervisor, and the tenured professor (or docent) of the relevant subject at the University of Lapland.


Within six weeks after the defence, the opponent must submit to the faculty a statement either accepting or rejecting the thesis. The opponent must justify the statement. In particular, the statement must indicate the criteria used in determining the quality of the work.

The assessment proposal is made by the assessment board appointed by the Faculty Council. The proposal recommends that the thesis be either accepted or rejected. A thesis proposed to be accepted will not be graded.

If an approved thesis is considered to be exceptionally meritorious, the assessment board, setting forth the grounds in its statement, may propose that the Faculty Council grade the thesis as “accepted with honours.”

Achievements and their assessment

The postgraduate examination and the legal theory and legal history studies are assessed on a scale from 1 to 5.

The modules Expert Skills and Scientific Activity are assessed on a pass/fail basis.

Degree certificate

Once the postgraduate student has fulfilled all the requirements for a licentiate’s or doctor’s degree, he or she must apply for a degree certificate from the faculty office. Before submitting the application, the student must ensure that he or she has completed everything that is required for the degree.