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Tampere University Student's Handbook

Pre-examination process of a doctoral dissertation

The dissertation is examined in two stages, the first of which is the pre-examination and the second the public examination.

The pre-examiners’ task is to provide statements on whether the manuscript has scientific or artistic value that justifies granting permission to present it as a dissertation.

Originality check of the manuscript before the pre-examination process

Before you submit the manuscript for pre-examination, your responsible supervisor ensures that you have adhered to sound scientific practice when writing the dissertation: for example, that you have used proper citation to refer to literature. Once you have agreed with your supervisor that your manuscript is complete, feed the final version in your responsible supervisor’s Turnitin section on Moodle. See the instructions on using the Turnitin software. Your responsible supervisor reports the results of the check to the faculty. The originality check is mentioned on the title page of the dissertation.

Please read more about research ethics.

The contents and language of the manuscript submitted for pre-examination must be final except for any changes that may be presented in the pre-examination statements. Especially when the author uses some other than his/her native tongue, it is recommended that an external language revisor revise the text.

Read your faculty’s instructions on submitting the thesis for pre-examination, which can be found below this general section.

Get permissions in time

In good time, the doctoral student must ask for written permission from publishers to republish in both print and online the partial publications included in the dissertation. The author of the dissertation is responsible for getting the publishing permits. Permission must also be sought to publish partial publications that are only just being printed or accepted for publication. The doctoral student should also read the Library’s guideline pages on publishing the dissertation well in advance.

The author of the dissertation should have the copyright to the images, tables and other such materials contained in the dissertation. Visit the websites below for further information on copyright.

The doctoral student must be enrolled at the University as a present student throughout the dissertation’s examination process.


Appointing the pre-examiners and disqualification

Based on the supervisor’s proposal, the faculty appoints at least two pre-examiners to assess the dissertation manuscript. The pre-examiners and the opponent must be experienced and unbiased experts not employed by the University who have completed a doctoral degree. In the field of theatre arts, at least one of the pre-examiners and the opponent must hold a doctoral degree and the other pre-examiner may be appointed based on artistic merits.

The University’s minimum requirement, which the faculties may further specify, is that these experts may not have published joint publications with the doctoral student within the past three years. Provisions on the disqualification of experts are laid down in the Administrative Procedure Act (434/2003, Sections 27–29) (pdf). After this general description, read the specifications made by the faculties.

Doctoral students should submit the manuscript to the faculty according to the faculty’s instructions.

The faculty sends the documents pertaining to the pre-examination to the pre-examiners. The faculty, responsible supervisor and doctoral student agree on how and when the manuscript is sent to the pre-examiners.

The pre-examination statement

Within the agreed deadline, the pre-examiners send their statement to the faculty. It is recommended that the pre-examiners draft their statement within two months of receiving the manuscript.

In the statement, the pre-examiner makes clear whether he/she

  1. proposes the right to publish and publicly defend the manuscript
  2. does not propose the permission to publish and publicly defend the dissertation manuscript 

The pre-examiner is asked to comment on at least the following points in the statement. The faculties have more detailed assessment criteria specific to their doctoral programmes, which can be found below this general section.

  • an overview of the dissertation: a short description of the scientific/artistic content of the manuscript and the results
  • scientific/artistic novelty value, scientific/artistic significance, and the impact of the study
  • consistency of the dissertation: does the study conducted for the dissertation form a consistent and controlled whole
  • the clarity of the goals of the study and research questions
  • knowledge of the literature in the field
  • mastery and applicability of the research method(s)
  • quality, breadth and suitability of research data
  • the doctoral student’s independent contribution, for example, in the planning and execution of the co-authored publications and the joint study
  • maturity and critical approach to the study demonstrated by the manuscript
  • written presentation and language

The faculty contacts the pre-examiner if the statement does not arrive within the agreed deadline. If necessary, the faculty appoints new pre-examiners.

Check here the actions to be taken after the arrival of statements:

Published: 15.4.2019
Updated: 20.3.2024