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Tampere University Student's Handbook

Guidelines of doctoral dissertation

The general stipulations on the form of the doctoral dissertation are contained in the Government Decrees 794/2004, Chapter 5, Section 22 and 1039/2013, Sections 21, 22 and 26. The doctoral dissertation must fulfil these requirements.

As the final project of the doctoral degree, postgraduate students write a doctoral dissertation and defend it in a public examination.

Forms of the dissertation

A doctoral dissertation is a consistent presentation that is based on independent research and contains new scientific knowledge. It can be either a single work (monograph) written by the doctoral student or a collection of scientific pieces or manuscripts accepted for publication that pertain to the same theme and include a summary (an article-based dissertation or sometimes referrer to as PhD by publication). The publications may also include co-authored works provided that the portion prepared by the doctoral student independently can be demonstrated. A previously published monograph cannot be accepted as a dissertation.

A dissertation in artistic fields comprises of an artistic or practical part and a reflective portion. The artistic or practical part of the dissertation can be either an independent work of art or a series of works as well as other experimentation with or research into methods and concepts arising from the doctoral student’s own artistic work. The artistic or practical section and the related reflective part must form a coherent whole that describes, supports and promotes the artist’s development.

The dissertation must contain new scientific knowledge and demonstrate critical thinking, in-depth knowledge of one’s own field of research, mastery of research methods, and the ability to apply them. The dissertation should be written in a language approved by the faculty; it is English in most cases.

Special characteristics of an article-based dissertation

An article-based doctoral dissertation must form a scientific whole whose goals, methods and research results are presented in a summary. The faculty provides instructions on the number of articles included in the scientific whole and on whether they need to be already published or approved for publication at the time of the pre-examination. Even when considered individually, each article must contain new results or perspectives.

The publications may also include co-authored works if the portion prepared by the doctoral student independently can be demonstrated. The doctoral student must describe his/her role in the co-authored works. The article-based doctoral dissertation cannot include parts of a previous dissertation by the author.

Discuss these requirements further with your responsible supervisor.

The doctoral dissertation process

The main stages of authoring and approving a doctoral dissertation are the following:

  1. doctoral dissertation is drafted according to sound scientific practice
  2. originality check of the manuscript is done with Turnitin-tool
  3. pre-examination and permission to defend the dissertation (revision if needed)
  4. deciding the time of the public examination and appointing the opponent, the assessment board and the custos
  5. printing the dissertation and its electronic publication
  6. communicating about the dissertation
  7. public examination
  8. grading the dissertation
  9. archiving the dissertation

The process is largely similar in all the faculties, but the practices may vary somewhat. The best way to find out about them is to ask the faculty’s study administration personnel or your supervisor. The average time from submitting the manuscript for pre-examination to graduation is from four to six months.

Published: 15.4.2019
Updated: 6.9.2023