Degree Requirements

In accordance with Section 22 of the Government Decree on University Degrees (794/2004), a doctorate requires that the doctoral student must

  • complete the required postgraduate studies;
  • demonstrate independent and critical thinking in the field of research;
  • write a doctoral dissertation and defend it in a public examination.

Each doctoral student goes through the degree and dissertation requirements and updates the postgraduate study plan together with the supervisors.

The licentiate degree is not mandatory if the goal is a doctoral degree, but pursuing one is possible or even recommended in certain situations. This should be discussed with the supervisor-in-charge.

Information on postgraduate courses and training events offered by the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences as well as the University can be found here

Requirements for postgraduate degrees at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences (the postgraduate teaching plan)

The new doctoral students admitted after 1 April 2017 will start their postgraduate studies according to the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences' syllabus for postgraduate studies 1.4.2017-31.7.2020

Doctoral students admitted before 1 April 2017, whose the syllabus for postgraduate studies has been approved of by the present Faculty of Humanities or the Faculty of Social Sciences, may complete their doctoral degree accordingly during the transitional period OR, if they wish, start with the new the syllabus for postgraduate studies (in which case the doctoral student must draw up a new postgraduate study plan).

The transition period is valid until 31 July 2020.

NB: registering and examining postgraduate courses (entering grades to the student register)

Dissertation requirements

Basic dissertation requirements

Dissertations must meet the requirements of the University of Jyväskylä, although these requirements may be interpreted slightly differently at different faculties. Make sure you read carefully both the dissertation requirements at the University of Jyväskylä and the instructions of the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences. Dissertation supervisors must carefully verify the quality of the manuscript before the preliminary examination.

The dissertation is an independent, research-based, scientific study carried out in one of the Faculty’s subjects. The extent of a dissertation should be planned so that the doctoral degree can be completed with four years of full-time study.

The dissertation can be an article dissertation or a monograph or a combination of these two. A part of the study approved as a dissertation may have been published previously, but a previously approved thesis cannot be accepted as a dissertation. It must be made clear in the dissertation that the work has been conducted under the supervision of the University of Jyväskylä.

A study intended as a dissertation can be written in Finnish, Swedish, English, French, German or Russian, or in another language approved by the Faculty. If a student wants to write the dissertation or any part of it in any other language, the plan must be approved by the Faculty's board of research at the beginning of the studies. If required, the Faculty Council decides on the plan.

NB: in addition

  • a dissertation has to start with an abstract that must (when applicable) explain the dissertation’s targets or research questions, central research methods, results, and the conclusions based on them. Regardless of the language of the dissertation, it must contain abstracts written in Finnish and in English. Dissertations may also contain abstracts in other languages.
  • at the end of the dissertation (before the list of references) a Summary must be added in either English (if the dissertation is in Finnish) or in Finnish (if the dissertation is in any other language). The Finnish summary may be substituted with an English one if the author does not possess good enough Finnish.

There is a separate process description concerning the proofreading of theses and abstracts.

It is for the doctoral student to decide how the dissertation will be published, but the decision must be negotiated with the supervisor-in-charge. 

Monograph dissertation

A monograph dissertation is based on independent scientific research and has not been published in this format before. The author may write publications related to the thesis of the monograph and utilise them in the dissertation.

Article dissertation

At the beginning of the research for an article dissertation, the doctoral student and the supervisor-in-charge discuss the structure and publication plan of the dissertation. An article dissertation should form a whole and meet the scientific and other requirements set for a monograph. If the dissertation takes the form of separate publications and a conclusive and evaluative part, the preliminary examination should focus on the whole. The preliminary examiners should clearly state in their reports whether the topics dealt with in the publications and the conclusive and evaluative parts form a coherent enough research problem. 

An article dissertation consists of scientific publications, or manuscripts approved for publication, that discuss the same set of problems and a summary written by the doctoral student. An article dissertation typically consists of 3–5 peer-reviewed scientific articles (and a summary written by the student). NB: 

  • an article dissertation that includes unpublished articles may also be approved if it meets the set scientific criteria. However, at least half of the articles must be either published or accepted for publication in peer-reviewed journals or anthologies. According to the dissertation requirements at the University of Jyväskylä, the number of required articles is affected by the subject, the proportion of author’s independent contribution and the a) extent, b) scientific quality and significance, and c) publication forum of the articles (see, for example, The Finnish Publication Forum Project).
  • if some of the articles are still unpublished manuscripts, the dissertation can be published in the University of Jyväskylä’s publication series so that the manuscripts are included in the printed version but not in the electronic one. Missing articles can later be added to the electronic version either as published articles or as manuscripts. Therefore, the doctoral candidate can subject their dissertation to public examination even before the decisions on publishing the articles have been made.
  • an article dissertation may include publications that have several authors. The doctoral student’s independent contribution to such articles must be clearly described in the summary of the dissertation. For justified reasons, a single publication may be used in the dissertations of more than one student if the authors have independent contributions in the article. This must be mentioned when describing the doctoral student’s independent work. Special cases are negotiated with the supervisor-in-charge and, if required, with the head of student and academic affairs.
  • an article dissertation cannot include parts (articles) included in a prior dissertation by the same author.
  • when the study intended as a dissertation is sent for preliminary examination, the candidate and the supervisors should also present a list stating where the articles have been published or accepted for publication. In addition, a report stating the candidate’s own contribution to the co-publications ought to be presented. The report should be included in the summary of the dissertation and it should be easy to locate and identify. See also Guide for the doctoral candidate.

In case of an article dissertation that is completed during doctoral studies at the University of Jyväskylä, the connection to the University of Jyväskylä must be made visible in the affiliation data of the articles in accordance with Appendix 1 of the supervision document (Responsibilities of the doctoral student, supervisor and follow-up group) and the Ethical principles of publishing at the University of Jyväskylä. See also Scientific publications of the University of Jyväskylä̈: How to give correct affiliation information of authors?.

The conclusive and evaluative part of an article dissertation (the introduction) should assemble and evaluate the results of the articles. It should introduce the subject of the research, present how the articles relate to each other, and draw the texts together. In addition, it should present the objectives, theoretical background, methods, and results of the research. The conclusive and evaluative part should be carefully assembled in relation to the content of the articles. Moreover, it should

  • form an independent and purposeful whole;
  • state the connections between the articles and display them as a single entity;
  • critically evaluate and compare the content of the articles, discuss the choices concerning the research and add to the collection of articles, instead of merely summarising them; and
  • contrary to a monograph dissertation, include the findings, reflection, conclusion and possibly also notes on applicability and suggestions for follow-up research.

Other forms of dissertation

For a justified reason, the format of a dissertation may be other than an article or monograph. In this case, the Faculty Council decides on the structure and extent of the dissertation.

The dissertation can also be digital, meaning that it can contain metatextual structures and multimedia. In this case, the public must be able to examine the technical realisation of the work during the public examination and they must be provided with an opportunity to acquaint themselves with the work before the public examination, for example, online. In addition, a printed summary of the research and of the used techniques must be produced. A thesis published online must include the contact information of the faculty, and should be stored in accordance with the instructions provided by the Publishing Unit of the Jyväskylä University Library.

Licentiate degree requirements

The licentiate thesis is an independent, research-based scientific study carried out in one of the faculty subjects. The thesis is often an unpublished monograph. Based on the Government Decree on University Degrees (794/2004), the licentiate thesis can also be composed of several scientific publications or articles accompanied by a conclusive and evaluative part which draws the texts together and presents the objectives, methods, and results of the research (an article thesis). Other kinds of composition which qualify for the scientific requirements set for a licentiate thesis can also be approved. The included articles can be co-written publications if the candidate’s own contribution is clearly identifiable.

A licentiate thesis may be a collaborative enterprise involving the work of two students. In this case, the students should present a joint research plan in which the advantages of cooperation and the separate contribution of each student are clearly stated. This should also be clearly described in the summary of the dissertation. If the students wish to take a doctoral degree they must carry out individual research or, in the case of an article dissertation, present individual conclusive and evaluative parts.

A part of the study approved as a licentiate thesis may have been published previously. The thesis can be published online or in digital form (see the instructions for doctoral dissertation).