Monitoring of doctoral study progress

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The University of Helsinki monitors the progress of its doctoral students when six years have passed since their right to pursue doctoral studies was issued. The monitoring and concomitant supervision is a tool for the University to support and promote the progress of the doctoral dissertation and the studies as well as the completion of the degree.

To whom does the monitoring apply?

Every spring students who were granted the right to pursue a doctoral degree six years ago or more will be screened and blocked from registering for the next academic year.

If your progress as a doctoral student is being monitored for the first time, the Student Register will send you an email or a letter during February–March, which will provide you with more detailed instructions on how to act. Remember to monitor your email and ensure that your contact information in WebOodi is up to date. If this is not the first time you have been screened, you will not be reminded about the end of the extension granted earlier. You can use WebOodi to check when the previously granted extension is going to expire.

If you complete your doctoral degree or submit your doctoral dissertation for preliminary examination during the spring term in which you have been selected for monitoring of student progress, you do not have to worry about the monitoring. The registration block will be lifted when you submit the doctoral dissertation for preliminary examination. If you have already submitted your doctoral dissertation for preliminary examination but still receive a message about monitoring or notice in WebOodi that you have been selected for monitoring, please contact your home faculty’s doctoral student services.

Why are my studies monitored?

The objective of the monitoring system is to follow the progress of doctoral studies and provide supervision and support to doctoral students whose studies are in danger of being delayed. When needed, monitored students will be provided with supervision and guidance, during which issues leading to the delay will be reviewed and, if needed, supervision arrangements and registration of completed credits will be brought up to date.

Doctoral students who are studying part time will find that their studies are often incomplete after six years even if the studies have progressed according to plan. There is no need to be concerned about being selected for monitoring, if the supervision arrangements are in order and the studies are moving steadily towards graduation.  Monitoring of the progress of doctoral studies is a checkpoint at which the University ensures that you are doing fine and have all the tools required for completing your degree.

Sometimes life puts obstacles on the way towards the doctoral degree and studies do not proceed as planned. When the reports required from monitored students are processed, parental leaves, long absences due to illness and other natural delays related to students’ life situations will be taken into account.

What should I do?

Acquaint yourself with your home faculty’s instructions related to the monitoring of student progress at the bottom of this page and submit the required study and research plans for approval following the instructions and timetables given. Draw up the reports in such a way that they clearly indicate which parts of the degree are still incomplete and by which time you are planning to complete your degree. The registration block set in conjunction with the monitoring of study progress may be lifted for no longer than three academic years at a time.

If this is not the first time that your doctoral studies are monitored, also include an explanation as to how the dissertation work and doctoral studies have progressed during the previous extension given to you. Also include possible reports of parental leave and other factors that have contributed to the delay of studies.

If your studies have not progressed as planned for one reason or other, you may seek guidance before the plans are updated. The primary source of advice are the supervisors, with whom you should regularly sit down to discuss the progress of your studies and dissertation. When needed, you can also contact the doctoral student services at your faculty or your doctoral programme’s planning officer.

Keeping your research and study plans always up to date during your studies will ensure that the monitoring of study progress will not become an insurmountable barrier to overcome. The aim is not to make the plans only for them to be monitored; up-to-date plans facilitate the management of the dissertation project at all its stages and are important, for example, when you are seeking funding for your doctoral dissertation.

Decisions

You will be informed about the decision once the documents submitted by you for the monitoring of study progress have been processed. If the decision is affirmative, you may register for the next academic year during the annual registration period (1 May – 31 August).

What if my plans are not approved?

Monitoring of doctoral study progress does not mean that your right to study is about to be retracted in its entirety. If your plans are not approved or you do not have the time to take care of the matter in time, you must register for non-attendance during the annual registration period (1 May – 31 August) so as not to lose your right to pursue studies altogether. Your status can be updated to attending once the monitoring of the progress of doctoral studies has been brought up to date.

If your plans are incomplete, you may be asked for additional information before they are approved. If your plans are not approved, you will have the right to update and resubmit them for reviewing. Typical reasons for rejection include carelessly drawn up plans; deficient supervision arrangements; or the fact you’re your doctoral studies have not progressed for a long time without any perceivable reason. Should it occur that your plan is not approved even after it has been revised, you will be informed of the reasons for the rejection. A doctoral student whose plan has been rejected may appeal to the local administrative court.

Like other studies, doctoral studies are expected to be goal-oriented and the right to attend requires that the studies progress. If your studies have been on hold for an extensive period of time, monitoring of the progress of doctoral studies is a good stage to show that you are again becoming more active in your studies and that you have a clear plan on how to complete your degree.

Faculty-specific instructions on study progress monitoring

Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry

When you are selected for monitoring, contact your supervisor and update your personal study plan. The personal study plan comprises the updated study and research plans (max. 3 pages) and the approval of the coordinating professor. If you have already sought an extension more than once, you must give an account of how the doctoral dissertation and doctoral studies have progressed during the extension granted. The updated plans are submitted to the Faculty’s doctoral student services.

The study plan must include both studies that you have already completed and a list of studies you yet need to complete.

When updating your study plan, take a moment to considered whether if it's best for you to complete your degree following the old degree structures or to transfer to the new, programme-specific structures. Transferring is worthwile especially if it looks like you won't be able to submit your thesis for preliminary examination by January 2020.

For more information on transferring, please see the instructions related to the degree reform.

Faculty of Arts

When you are selected for monitoring, start by reading the relevant instructions on this page and then draw up study and research plans.

If, during previous progress monitoring, you have received an extension, the plan will have to account for how the doctoral dissertation and studies have progressed during the previous extension. You may be granted an extension provided that your dissertation and doctoral studies have progressed decisively during the previous extension and your discipline approves of your doctoral study plan.

  • The study plan is drawn up on the attached form, where you should write down personal information, names of the supervisors and the estimated completion timetable as well as possible causes for delay.
  • The research plan for the doctoral dissertation (max. 3 pages) must indicate the topic of the dissertation, its relevance for previous research, the materials and methods to be used, an outline of the content and the present state of the research. In the case of a dissertation based on published articles, the publication plan for the articles must also be included. The research plan and its scholarly significance will be assessed as a dissertation project. The doctoral study plan must present the content of the studies, a timetable for studies to be completed as well as funding obtained for the research, if any.

The updated plans are submitted to the Faculty’s doctoral student services as e-mail attachements to address hum-postgrad@helsinki.fi no later than March 29, 2019. The Faculty’s doctoral student services will send the plans submitted by the due date for a statement to the dissertation supervisors and, if needed, to the professor in charge of the discipline. The supervisors and the professor will evaluate the feasibility of the plan and its appropriateness against the doctoral studies that you have already completed. When evaluating the timetable, special attention will be paid to the fact that a full-time doctoral student should aim to complete the doctoral dissertation in about four years. Supervisors are expected to support their students in attaining this objective.

The new doctoral programme specific degree structures were adopted for doctoral studies on 1 August 2017. A transition period of three years is applied to transferring to the new system, during which students may either transfer to study in accordance with the new structure or complete their degree according to the old, main subject specific, degree requirements. Students, who will not complete their studies before 31 July 2020 will be automatically transferred to the new doctoral programme specific degree structure. If the extension you have applied for in the monitoring of student progress stretches beyond the end date of the transition period, 31 July 2020, please also take into account the transfer rules when updating your study plan. Independent transferral to the new degree structure during the transition period is possible only for attending students. For more information on transferring, please see the instructions related to the degree reform.

Applicants will be notified of the decisions in May.

Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

When you are selected for monitoring, contact your supervisor and update your doctoral study plan. The doctoral study plan comprises a research plan (max. 2 pages) and a plan for studies to be incorporated into the degree. The doctoral study plan is simultaneously an agreement on studies to be incorporated into the doctoral degree, research topic, supervision and monitoring arrangements as well as the timetable. The doctoral study plan is signed by the doctoral student, supervisors and the professor coordinating the discipline of the doctoral student.

In addition to the doctoral study plan and its appendices, you must submit a statement written by your monitoring group to the doctoral student services attesting that the doctoral dissertation and the doctoral studies are progressing despite the delay.

When updating your study plan, take a moment to considered whether if it's best for you to complete your degree following the old degree structures or to transfer to the new, programme-specific structures. Transferring is worthwile especially if it looks like you won't be able to submit your thesis for preliminary examination by January 2020.

For more information on transferring, please see the instructions related to the degree reform.

    Faculty of Educational Sciences

    When you are selected for monitoring, contact your supervisors and submit to them:

    • updated version of your doctoral study plan, which includes a plan for the completion of remaining studies. In addition, the plans should include an estimated timetable for graduation.
    • updated research plan

    If you have completed studies that are not yet registered, please discuss this with your supervisor so you can get your studies up to date to the register.

    Make sure that your supervision contract is valid. If the supervision contract is no longer valid or it has not been signed, you and your supervisors must draw up a new supervision contract either to the paper form (links below) or to Thessa. The contract will be delivered to the Faculty's doctoral student services while returning the updated study plans. Please note that if you make the supervision agreement in Thessa, please let the Faculty's doctoral student services know when the agreement has been signed.

    If you do not have your supervisors contact information or you do not know if you have a valid supervision contract, please contact the Faculty’s doctoral student services (edu-research@helsinki.fi).

    When your supervising professor and supervisors have agreed upon and signed your updated plans, and you have signed an updated supervision contract (if needed), the updated plans are submitted to the Faculty’s doctoral student services as e-mail attachments to address edu-research@helsinki.fi no later than April 22nd 2019.

    The registration block will be lifted for a maximum period of three years or the duration of the supervision agreement. You will receive notification of the lifting of the registration block by email.

    The new doctoral programme specific degree structures were adopted for doctoral studies on 1 August 2017. A transition period of three years is applied to transferring to the new system, during which students may either transfer to study in accordance with the new structure or complete their degree according to the old, main subject specific, degree requirements. Students, who will not complete their studies before 31 July 2020 will be automatically transferred to the new doctoral programme specific degree structure. If the extension you have applied for in the monitoring of student progress stretches beyond the end date of the transition period, 31 July 2020, please also take into account the transfer rules when updating your study plan. Independent transferral to the new degree structure during the transition period is possible only for attending students. For more information on transferring, please see the instructions related to the degree reform.

    Faculty of Law

    Reports submitted during monitoring of the progress of doctoral studies (study and research plans) are reviewed by the Faculty of Law twice a year. In the Autumn term, the deadline for submitting the report is 17 September 2019 (applies to registration for Spring term of 2020). The same deadlines apply to both those doctoral students, who are selected for the monitoring of the progress of doctoral studies for the first time, and those who have received extensions earlier.

    If your degree will not be completed before the end of the current academic year, you must submit the monitoring report: Update your research plan and personal study plan (only necessary, if your compulsory studies have not been completed) and seek supervision to be eligible for registration as an attending student.

    The updated study and research plan must be submitted with the attached electronic monitoring form no later than 17 September 2019:

    Should you experience any difficulties in sending attachments, they can also be sent by email to oik-jatkokoulutus@helsinki.fi. Fill the above form even in this case, so that the Faculty will receive the information required for approving the report.

    NB! A degree reform is underway at the University of Helsinki, the transition period of which will end on 31 July 2020. It is possible to complete the degree according to the old degree structure (60 cr and dissertation) until 31 July 2020. After this the students will be transferred to the new degree structure (40 cr and dissertation, more detailed information is available in the course catalogues in WebOodi). For more information on transferring, please see the instructions related to the degree reform.

    The Dean will decide on the approval of plans based on the evaluation given by the steering committee of the doctoral programme. All students who have presented their plans will be informed of the decision by email in June 2019.

    If you have been granted an extension during a prior monitoring of the progress of doctoral studies, you must give, as a part of your research and doctoral study plans, an account of how the doctoral dissertation and doctoral studies have progressed during the extension granted. You may be granted an extension of your right to register as an attending student, provided that your dissertation and doctoral studies have clearly progressed during the previous extension and that your supervisor supports your doctoral study plan.

    The Faculty disciplines provide guidance and advice to the students whose progress is monitored. The guidance given during the monitoring of student progress is not actual supervision of the dissertation or licentiate thesis. It aims to help you, if needed, in drawing up a good research plan and a realistic doctoral study plan. During the guidance, it is also recommended that issues contributing to the delay are discussed with a view to finding means to improve the current situation.

    Faculty of Medicine

    When you are selected for monitoring, write and submit a report of your studies and the timetable for the completion of your doctoral dissertation with your email address to the Faculty’s doctoral student services (meilahti-phd@helsinki.fi).  The report is drawn up together with your supervisor(s). Doctoral students of PsyCo Doctoral Programme are to also submit an updated supervision agreement. The doctoral committee will propose the lifting of the registration block for three years after your updated study and research plans have been approved.

    Faculty of Pharmacy

    When you are selected for monitoring, contact your supervisor and update your study and research plans as well as the timetable for completing the studies. If you have applied for an extension before, the plan will have to account for how the doctoral dissertation and studies have progressed after the previously granted extension. Submit the updated plans and the form below accepted by both your supervisor and your responsible professor to the Faculty’s doctoral student services.

    The study plan must include both already completed studies to be included in the degree and a list of studies yet to be completed for the degree. When updating the study plan, you should consider whether it is beneficial to you to complete the degree according to the current or previous doctoral programme requirements. It is worth your while to transfer to new requirements, if you are unable to complete your dissertation to the preliminary examination stage by January 2020.

    For more information on transferring, please see the instructions related to the degree reform.

    Faculty of Science

    When you are selected for monitoring, you must update your personal doctoral study plan and submit it, preferably personally, to your doctoral supervisor. If you have submitted your dissertation for preliminary examination, please inform Kumpula Student Services of this by email or telephone.

    The doctoral supervisor will go through your study plan and provide you with advice if necessary. The signed plan will then be submitted to the professor of your major subject. The professor coordinating your major subject will either approve your plan with its appendices and sign the plan, or propose it be rejected due to deficiencies in the plan. After this, the doctoral programme will assess the suitability of the research topic to the programme.

    If the plan is approved, return a signed copy of the approved study plan to Kumpula Student Services, where the registration block will be lifted from Oodi. After this you may register as an attending student.

    If the professor rejects your doctoral study plan, you must register as a non-attending student by the end of the registration period so as not to lose your right to pursue studies at the University. To resume your studies, you must revise your study plan, and once it has been approved and your registration block has been lifted, you may register as an attending student.

    Faculty of Social Sciences

    Reports submitted during monitoring are reviewed by the Faculty of Social Sciences twice a year. When you are selected for monitoring on the progress of doctoral studies, you must submit a two-part monitoring report to the Faculty’s doctoral student services by the deadline (17 September 2019):

    • Electronic form with the following attachments:
    • Doctoral study plan, approved by the supervisor, which must include a plan and a timetable for the completion of remaining studies (max. 1 page). If you have already completed all your studies, there is no reason to include a study plan.
    • The research plan, approved by the supervisor, which must comply with the instructions provided for applicants for doctoral studies. The recommended length of a plan written for monitoring purposes is 5 pages.

    The Faculty’s doctoral education committee will decide on the approval of plans. All students who have presented their plans will be informed of the decision by email in November 2019.

    NB! A degree reform is underway at the University of Helsinki, the transition period of which will end on 31 July 2020. It is possible to complete the degree according to the old degree structure (60 cr and dissertation) until 31 July 2020. After this the students will be transferred to the new degree structure (40 cr and dissertation, more detailed information is available in the course catalogues in WebOodi). For more information on transferring, please see the instructions related to the degree reform.

    Did you not receive the message about the monitoring of the progress of doctoral studies? Monitored students do not always receive a letter. This may occur for two reasons: They have not updated their address details or they have forgotten to register for attendance or non-attendance. Even if you did not receive information about the monitoring, you may submit a monitoring report to the Faculty.

    Faculty of Theology

    Reports submitted during monitoring are reviewed by the Faculty of Theology twice a year. In the spring term, the deadline for submitting the report is April 15, 2019. The same deadlines apply to both those doctoral students, who are selected for the monitoring of the progress of doctoral studies for the first time, and those who have received extensions earlier.

    When you are selected for monitoring, start by reading the relevant instructions on this page and then draw up both a study and a research plan.

    If you have been granted an extension during a prior monitoring of the progress of doctoral studies, you must, as a part of your research and doctoral study plans, give an account of how the doctoral dissertation and doctoral studies have progressed during the extension granted You may be granted an extension provided that your dissertation and doctoral studies have progressed decisively during the previous extension and that your discipline approves of your doctoral study plan.

    • The study plan is drawn up in the attached form, where you should write down personal information, names of the supervisors and the coordinating professor and the estimated completion timetable as well as possible causes for the delay.
    • The research plan for the doctoral dissertation (max. 3 pages) must indicate the topic of the dissertation, its relevance for previous research, the materials and methods to be used, an outline of the content and the present state of the research. In the case of a dissertation based on published articles, the publication plan for the articles must also be included. The research plan and its scholarly significance will be assessed as a dissertation project. The doctoral study plan must present the content of the studies, a timetable for studies to be completed as well as funding obtained for the research, if any.

    The updated plans are submitted to the Faculty’s doctoral student services as e-mail attachements to address teol-tohtorikoulutus@helsinki.fi no later than April 15, 2019. The Faculty’s doctoral student services will send the plans submitted by the due date for a statement to the student’s coordinating professor. The coordinating professor will evaluate the feasibility of the research and study plans and their appropriateness against the doctoral studies that you have already completed. In addition to the coordinating professor, the plans will be evaluated by the steering group of the Doctoral Programme in Theology and Religious Studies. When evaluating the timetable, special attention will be paid to the fact that a full-time doctoral student should aim to complete the doctoral dissertation in about four years. Supervisors are expected to support their students in attaining this objective.

    The new doctoral programme specific degree structures were adopted for doctoral studies on 1 August 2017. A transition period of three years is applied to transferring to the new system, during which students may either transfer to study in accordance with the new structure or complete their degree according to the old, main subject specific, degree requirements. Students, who will not complete their studies before 31 July 2020 will automatically be transferred to the new doctoral programme specific degree structure. If the extension you have applied for in the monitoring of study progress stretches beyond the end date of the transition period, 31 July 2020, please also take into account the transfer rules when updating your study plan. Independent transferral to the new degree structure is possible only for attending students. For more information on transferring, please see the instructions related to the degree reform.

    Did you not receive the message about the monitoring of the progress of doctoral studies? Monitored students do not always receive a letter. This may occur for two reasons: they have not updated their address details or they have forgotten to register for attendance or non-attendance. Even if you did not receive information about the monitoring, you may submit a monitoring report to the Faculty.

    Applicants will be notified of the decisions in mid-June at the latest.

    Faculty of Veterinary Medicine

    When you are selected for monitoring, contact your supervisor/director of studies and update your personal doctoral study plan. The personal study plan includes updated study and research plans as well as approval by the director of studies. Submit the updated personal study plan together with the doctoral-student monitoring form to the Faculty’s doctoral student services.

    When updating your study plan, take a moment to considered whether if it's best for you to complete your degree following the old degree structures or to transfer to the new, programme-specific structures. Transferring is worthwile especially if it looks like you won't be able to submit your thesis for preliminary examination by January 2020.

    For more information on transferring, please see the instructions related to the degree reform.

     

    More information

    The monitoring of doctoral study progress and related practices have been defined in the Rector's decisions 140/2005, 234/2006 and 262/2007.