Doctoral students should consider their career and employment goals already when the application for doctoral studies is being planned. Studies should then be planned with these goals in mind. It is worth considering:

  • How the topic of the dissertation is connected to the career and employment goals, or is it?
  • What courses and training modules should be selected as part of optional studies?
  • For whom and which part of the dissertation or other completed research and publications should be publicised?

Personal employment readiness, job search skills and networks are worth developing over the course of doctoral studies. Whether the future post is at the university or not, doctors too require general-level professional skills. For example, project management, management, communication, and people skills are valuable in any job.

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Academic research career

The University of Jyväskylä employs a four-stage research career model, the aim of which is to recruit the best researchers and teachers and promote researchers’ planned career progress. The employee’s work plan and is created together with his or her line manager and its implementation is monitored in development discussions.

The four-level research career model is a whole of which the tenure track model is a part. All positions (contracts) on the different levels of the research career model are not tenure track positions. Ministry of Education and Culture has defined evaluation-based promotion for permanent positions as a key element of a tenure track based system (OPM 13/2006: 31, 42).

The research career stages are as follows (main source: Rector’s decision on personnel matters 17.12.2015):

Stage one: Doctoral Student

  • The aim is to complete a doctoral degree.
  • The stage is defined by the policy definitions of the University of Jyväskylä graduate school for doctoral studies and the doctoral school at the Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences.
  • Fixed-term contract (up to four years).

Stage two: Postdoctoral Researcher

  • The qualification requirement for the position is a doctoral degree, ability to undertake independent scientific work, and the teaching skills needed in the position.
  • The position is an independent research and teaching position, in which the person will have the main responsibility for planning and implementation.
  • Fixed-term stage of gaining independence (post doc).

Stage three: Senior Researcher/Lecturer

  • The qualification requirement for the position is a relevant doctoral degree, evidence of independent scientific research, ability to deliver top-quality research-based instruction and to supervise theses; and, when it is important regarding the position, practical familiarity with the field.
  • The position always includes both research and teaching responsibilities with emphasis on either one of them.
  • The position is either permanent or fixed term. A fixed-term contract must be based on the justified grounds referred to in the Employment Contracts Act.

Stage three: Associate Professor (tenure track)

  • The title of Associate Professor is used only for employees on the tenure track career path of the University.
  • The qualification requirement for the position is a relevant doctoral degree, strong evidence of scientific research, international collaboration and excellent ability to deliver high-quality research-based instruction, and to supervise theses. In addition, evidence of acquiring supplementary, external research funding is required.
  • The position is filled through a public international recruitment procedure for a fixed period of five years and the selection procedure is the same as when filling a professorship.
  • Well before the end of the associate professorship, an evaluation procedure is used regarding the employee’s merits for a professorship filled through an invitation procedure. If the requirements of the invitation procedure are not met, the associate professor’s employment is not continued.

Stage four: Professor

  • As a rule, University of Jyväskylä professors are appointed through tenure track.
  • The qualification requirements for the position are a doctoral degree, high-level scientific competence and, when important for the tasks included in the professorship, practical familiarity with the field.
  • The position is filled with an associate professor through the invitation process. When an associate professor becomes a professor, the professorship is permanent.
  • In exceptional cases, an international recruitment process or invitation procedure can be launched directly for a professorship.


For more information on research careers at the University of Jyväskylä, see: