YTK Grading the dissertation

Instructions for pre-examiners and opponent of the dissertation manuscript

The tasks of the pre-examiners are to assess the merits of the manuscript and suggest, in a written statement to the Faculty, that permission to defend the dissertation in a public examination should be granted or that the manuscript should be rejected. The pre-examiner can suggest corrections and improvements to the author. The pre-examiners may also submit a joint statement. 

The Faculty makes the decision about granting permission for public defence on the basis of the pre-examiners’ statements. The general requirement is that there should not be any significant flaws in the theoretical basis, applied methods, and empirical part of the dissertation. The pre-examiners’ statements should include assessments of at least the following points:

Research topic and formulation of the research problem

  • Originality and significance of the research topic. Approach and theoretical basis, and their relevance in regard to the research topic. Presentation of the aims and the research problem. Knowledge of the literature in the field and synthesising one’s own research with the existing literature.

Material and methods

  • Selecting and justifying one’s material and analysis methods or perspective for the purposes of interpretation and/or the theoretical approach, and their relevance to the research problem.
  • Depending on the research methods, an adequately detailed description of the material and measurements is required, in order to ensure the repeatability of the research. The relevance and efficiency of the data analysis, as well as suitability of the method with regard to formulating the research question and to the research approach.

Presentation of the research results and interpretations

  • Results, their relationship to the research problem and their scientific and/or practical significance. Conclusions presented in a clear and concise manner.

Discussion and conclusions

  • The results should be discussed in a disciplined manner and their relationship to previous research in the field should be covered. The scientific grounds for the conclusions should be given, including a critical and comprehensive analysis of the study results, with reference to the literature in the field.

Independence and maturity of the author

  • In the case of an article-based dissertation, attention should be paid to whether the articles constitute a coherent whole, and to the author’s independent contribution to planning and completing the research.
  • Maturity refers to the impression the dissertation gives of the author’s knowledge, ability to analyse scientific problems, and mastery of research approach.

Composition and style

  • The composition and organisation (title, sub-headings) of the dissertation should be evaluated, with special consideration of the clarity of language and the readability of the text, as well as the relevance and clarity of the graphs and tables.

Other special merits associated with the work


Grading the dissertation

The Faculty Council makes the decision about approving and grading the doctoral dissertation.

The opponent’s statement should focus on the same points as those of the pre-examiners: research topic and formulation of the research problem, material and methods, presentation of the research results and interpretations, discussion and conclusions, independence and maturity of the author, composition and style, and other special merits associated with the work. The opponent should also evaluate the performance of the doctoral candidate in defending his or her research in the public examination. The opponent’s statement should clearly indicate whether approval of the dissertation is recommended and his or her recommendation for the grade of the dissertation.

The custos prepares a statement/report for the Faculty Council about the defence of the doctoral candidate in the public examination. The report is also considered in the evaluation of the dissertation.

The dissertation is graded with a scale: rejected – approved – approved with distinction.