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Guidelines for postgraduate (doctoral) studies

Guidelines for postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry (Approved by the Faculty Council meeting of 14 June 2011). )

 

Guidelines for postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry (pdf).

 

Scientific postgraduate studies

Eligibility for studies leading to a postgraduate degree is defined in Section 37 of the Universities Act (558/2009). A requirement for admission to postgraduate education is that the Faculty deems the applicant’s previous degree and education to provide him or her with adequate qualifications to pursue the postgraduate education offered by the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry.  Eligible applicants for studies leading to a postgraduate research degree have completed

a) an applicable second-cycle (Master’s) degree
b) an applicable degree at a university of applied sciences; or
c) applicable studies at a foreign university providing eligibility for higher education in the country in question.

In addition, eligible applicants’ previous performance in the major subject of their Master’s degree and the related thesis must have been at least good.  If not, the students can provide additional proof of their skills in a manner agreed upon with the professor in charge of the postgraduate major subject, e.g., by writing an extensive essay or a manuscript for a scientific article, or by taking an examination on set literature.

The aim of postgraduate research education is for students to

1) become profoundly familiar with their research field and its social significance and to acquire, within that field, the ability to apply scientific research methods critically and independently and to contribute to scientific knowledge;
 2) become familiar with the historical development, fundamental issues and research methods of their field;
3) acquire sufficient understanding of general scientific theory and the disciplines related to the research field so as to be able to follow future developments.

The postgraduate degrees offered by the Faculty are the Licentiate and doctoral degrees (Licentiate of Science in Agriculture and Forestry, Licentiate of Food Sciences, Doctor of Science in Agriculture and Forestry, Doctor of Food Sciences and Doctor of Philosophy).  When approving an application for postgraduate studies, the Faculty will decide on the basis of the applicant’s previous studies and the topic of the planned doctoral dissertation or Licentiate thesis to what degree the applicant’s postgraduate studies will lead.

The recommended duration of doctoral studies is four years of full-time study.
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How to apply

Postgraduate degrees can be completed in all the major subjects specified in Section 3 of the Standing Orders of the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry.  If the major subject comprises several options approved by the Faculty Council, eligibility for postgraduate studies in a major subject can be specified for a particular option.  The application must be for the right to pursue a doctoral degree, which also comprises the right to complete a Licentiate degree and it must be submitted in writing to the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry.  Application forms for postgraduate studies and for drawing up a postgraduate study plan can be downloaded from the Faculty website.  The application process varies slightly depending on the student’s previous degree and where it was completed.

1) Applicants who have completed a second-cycle degree (M.Sc.) at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, the University of Helsinki
A student with a Master’s degree from the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry may be granted the right to pursue studies leading to a doctorate in agriculture and forestry or food sciences, provided the applicant has demonstrated at least a good level of academic performance in the major subject and the related Master’s thesis and the professor in charge supports the application.  The student should have received a final grade of at least 3 (previously Good or 2-/3) in his or her major subject and a minimum grade of non sine laude approbatur for his or her Master’s thesis. If the student is applying for the right to pursue postgraduate studies in a different major subject from the one in which his or her second-cycle degree was completed, the professor in charge of the postgraduate major subject should write a well-founded statement on the applicant’s eligibility for studies in that subject.  In order to be eligible for postgraduate studies, the student should have completed a minimum of 100 credits in the major subject of the postgraduate degree programme or in other equivalent studies.  The credits can be from basic, intermediate or advanced-level studies or other studies relevant to the major subject.  If necessary, the student must complete supplementary studies in the postgraduate major subject in a manner agreed on with the professor in charge.  The professor’s statement should be enclosed in the application. The supported application and enclosures must be submitted to the research and postgraduate studies officer (Faculty Office, Study Affairs).  The procedure above can also be applied within the major subject if the student wishes to change options.

2) Applicants who have completed a second-cycle degree (M.Sc.) in another faculty of the University of Helsinki or in another Finnish university
A student with a Master’s degree from another faculty at the University of Helsinki or from another Finnish university may be granted the right to pursue studies leading to a doctorate in agriculture and forestry or food sciences or to the degree Doctor of Philosophy, provided the applicant has demonstrated at least a good level of academic performance in the major subject and the related Master’s thesis and the professor in charge supports the application.  The professor in charge of the postgraduate major subject should write a well-founded statement on the applicant’s eligibility for studies in that subject.  In order to be eligible for postgraduate studies, the student should have completed a minimum of 100 credits in the major subject of the postgraduate degree programme or in other equivalent studies.   If the student wishes to complete the degree of Licentiate or Doctor of Science in Agriculture and Forestry or Licentiate or Doctor of Food Sciences, the 100 completed credits must be in the major subject of the postgraduate degree.  In other cases, the student shall complete the degree of Doctor of Philosophy, for which the eligibility is 100 credits in a subject corresponding to the postgraduate major subject.   The credits can be from basic, intermediate or advanced-level studies or other studies relevant to the major subject.  If necessary, the student must complete supplementary studies in the postgraduate major subject in a manner agreed on with the professor in charge.  The professor’s statement should be enclosed in the application. The application should also include officially certified copies of the student’s diploma and transcript.  The supported application and enclosures must be submitted to the research and postgraduate studies officer.

3) Applicants who have obtained eligibility for postgraduate studies abroad
Students who have obtained eligibility for postgraduate studies abroad should apply for the right to pursue a postgraduate degree and submit their application with the required enclosures to the research and postgraduate studies officer.  The professor in charge of the postgraduate major subject should write a statement on the applicant’s eligibility.  If necessary, the student must complete supplementary studies in the postgraduate major subject in a manner agreed on with the professor in charge.  

The applications are reviewed by the Committee for Research and Postgraduate Education appointed by the Faculty Council.  The right to complete a postgraduate degree is granted by the Dean.  If the student is accepted, he or she will be sent instructions for enrolment.  The student should return the enrolment documents to the research and postgraduate studies officer in the Faculty Office (Study Affairs), who will then send the documents to the Student Register where the information will be transferred into the Oodi student register.  The Student Register will notify the student of his or her registration and student number.

Appeals against admission decisions

Students whose applications for postgraduate education are rejected will receive written justifications for the decision. An applicant dissatisfied with an admission decision may submit a written appeal to the Committee for Research and Postgraduate Education within 14 days, and, in the next stage, to the administrative court within 30 days of the receipt of the decision.  The appeal must be submitted in writing and indicate in detail the decision appealed against as well as the grounds for the appeal. The appeal may not result in the admission decision being changed to the detriment of the appellant or the admitted students.
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Postgraduate study plan

When applying for the right to pursue postgraduate studies, applicants must include a preliminary postgraduate study plan (including a tentative research proposal, timetable for studies and planned supervision arrangements) in their applications.  The student must present a detailed study plan within a year of being accepted for postgraduate studies.

The student should draw up the study plan together with his or her supervisor or the professor in charge, using a form available on the Faculty website.  At this point the student should also have a research proposal which has been approved by the professor in charge.  

Postgraduate students must receive regular supervision for both research work and postgraduate studies. They may also have more than one supervisor. The primary supervisor must be a professor, docent or a scholar with equivalent academic qualifications. The other supervisors must hold at least a doctoral degree. If the supervisor or the supervisee so wish, the supervisory relationship may be clarified in a written supervision contract. It is also recommended that field-specific advisory committees be appointed to support the students in their research work. One of the supervisors or members of the advisory committee must be from the student’s major subject department.  The Faculty has issued detailed regulations for supervision (General guidelines for the supervision of research and studies - the rights and obligations of postgraduate students).

Students must obtain the approval of the professor in charge of the major subject for their study plan. If the supervisor is someone other than the professor in charge, the study plan requires the approval of both persons. The completed and approved study plan form must be submitted to the research and postgraduate studies officer.  The study plans are reviewed for qualitative consistency by the Committee for Research and Postgraduate Education and approved by the Dean.  If, over time, an approved postgraduate study plan needs to be amended, the professor in charge is authorised to approve changes of up to 20 credits.  Significant changes have to be reviewed by the Committee for Research and Postgraduate Education. If the student continues to study the same major subject upon completing a Licentiate degree, there is no need to draw up a new postgraduate study plan.
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Degree requirements

A student admitted to pursue postgraduate research education must complete the following:

1) a minimum of 60 credits of postgraduate research studies according to the study plan
2) a Licentiate thesis and/or doctoral dissertation which demonstrates an independent and critical approach to the research area and is approved by the Faculty after a public examination.

The purpose of the postgraduate studies is to form the necessary knowledge base for the completion of the Licentiate thesis and doctoral dissertation.  For this reason, the student should integrate his or her studies and research work in such a way that when the thesis or dissertation is submitted for examination, the studies will have been completed.  The postgraduate studies referred to in item 1 must be completed before the examiners of the Licentiate thesis or the pre-examiners of the doctoral dissertation are appointed.  If some of the studies have not been completed, a report of the incomplete studies and their estimated timetable of completion must be enclosed with the proposal concerning the examiners or preliminary examiners.

The student may not incorporate into his or her postgraduate degree previously completed studies that have already been included in a Master’s degree.  
If the student wishes to pursue another, same-level postgraduate degree, he or she must complete another set of postgraduate studies (60 credits).

Students pursuing the Licentiate and doctoral degrees must complete 60 credits of postgraduate studies as follows:

I GENERAL POSTGRADUATE STUDIES (10-20 credits)
• Language studies and academic writing
• Methodology
• Applied ethics
• Philosophy of science
• The research process
• Popularisation of science
• Research policy and management of research
• Research funding and planning
• University pedagogy and teaching in practice
• Studies related to the commercial use of research results
• Scientific publications not included in the doctoral dissertation


II FIELD-SPECIFIC STUDIES (40-50 credits)
Major and minor subject studies
• Field-specific postgraduate courses
• Major subject literature examination
• Postgraduate seminars
• Conference presentations and posters
• International expert assignments
Field-specific methodology studies
• Studies in scientific research methods applicable to the research topic and research area

I GENERAL POSTGRADUATE STUDIES
General postgraduate studies include studies independent of the major subject, such as the theory of science, language studies and academic writing, as well as studies supporting the research work, including applied ethics, scientific publishing, popularisation of science, research policy and management of research, research funding and planning and university pedagogy.

The studies contained in the doctoral degree can either be organised as independent courses or be integrated with the writing of the dissertation (e.g., scientific publications not included in the dissertation, popularisation of research information in the form of popularised articles submitted to expert journals, teaching, project work not related to the dissertation).

II FIELD-SPECIFIC STUDIES
Field-specific studies include courses in the major and minor subjects and field-specific methodology courses. The student may focus on studies from either group according to his or her research topic.  As a rule, the studies should be intermediate or advanced courses and the subject matter should contribute to the student’s thesis or dissertation work. Some basic-level courses may also be included in the postgraduate study plan, if they contribute to the writing of the dissertation.

The postgraduate study plan should contain as much detailed information as possible on the courses the student plans to complete: course name, code, level, credits, time and place of completion. If a course has been completed elsewhere than at a university in Finland or abroad, a course description must be included.  Completion of a course requires that the student passes an examination, writes a report, completes a written assignment or produces some other form of written documentation; mere class attendance is not enough.

Major and minor subject studies refer to studies agreed on with the professor in charge, and they may include postgraduate courses in the student’s own field, a literature examination in the major subject, and active participation in postgraduate seminars.  The scope of the literature examination and the reading list are agreed on with the professor in charge.  Both faculty departments and doctoral programmes offer postgraduate courses.

The studies contained in the doctoral degree can either be organised as independent courses or be integrated with the writing of the dissertation.  Integrated studies include presentations and posters at international conferences as well as international expert assignments.

Field-specific methodology studies comprise studies in scientific research methods relevant to the student’s research field and topic, including statistics, data processing, chemical analysis, econometrics, etc.

The student may include studies completed in other faculties and universities in the studies referred to in Items I and II above.  The Faculty recommends that students spend at least three months pursuing postgraduate studies at a university or research institute abroad.
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The Doctoral degree

Doctor of Science in Agriculture and Forestry and Doctor of Food Sciences
Students admitted to pursue postgraduate research education must complete postgraduate studies according to their study plan approved by the Faculty and a doctoral dissertation which demonstrates an independent and critical approach to the research area and is approved by the Faculty after a public examination (Standing Orders for degrees at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Section 26).

Doctor of Philosophy
The Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry may admit a person who has completed a second-cycle degree at a Finnish university or a corresponding degree at a university abroad to pursue the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.  Students admitted to pursue the degree of Doctor of Philosophy must complete a minimum of 60 credits of postgraduate studies according to their study plan and a doctoral dissertation which demonstrates an independent and critical approach to the research area and is approved by the Faculty after a public examination. Students who have graduated from the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry with a Master’s degree in either Food Sciences or Agriculture and Forestry may not complete the degree of Doctor of Philosophy at the Faculty.

Changing the major subject after completing a Licentiate degree
If a student with a Licentiate degree in Agriculture and Forestry or Food Sciences wishes to change his or her major subject for doctoral education, or the Faculty has admitted a person with a Licentiate degree in Philosophy to pursue a Doctor of Philosophy degree, the professor in charge of the relevant major subject will be requested to submit a written statement as to the relevance of a dissertation in that major subject and on the student’s qualifications for studies in the new major subject.  If necessary, the student must complete supplementary studies in the major subject of the doctoral degree.

The format of the dissertation
The doctoral dissertation may be an article-based dissertation (i.e., a collection of several separate scientific publications or manuscripts that have been accepted for publication and that all focus on the same topic, as well as a summarising report), a monograph or, in the field of economics, an essay-based dissertation. The summarising report of an article-based or essay-based dissertation should present extensively enough the theoretical background of the research, its objectives, methods, results, analysis and conclusions.

As a rule, article-based dissertations at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry consist of 3-5 separate publications. These publications should mainly have appeared in refereed scientific journals. At least two of the articles should have been previously published or accepted for publication, and the doctoral candidate must be the first author in one of the articles before preliminary examiners can be appointed for the dissertation. The other publications in an article-based dissertation must be manuscripts submitted for publication. If an article included in a dissertation has not yet been accepted for publication, the preliminary examiners should pay particular attention to the quality of this article in their assessment.

The essays of an essay-based dissertation must be published or publishable independent entities, ready for submission to a refereed publication. An essay-based dissertation may also contain co-authored essays. The doctoral candidate must be the first author of at least three of the essays.

Co-authored publications or essays may thus be included if the author’s independent contribution to them can be verified. In the case of dissertation manuscripts containing co-authored publications, the doctoral candidate must, when submitting the dissertation to the Faculty’s research and postgraduate studies officer, always provide a report of his or her own contribution to the co-authored publications. The candidate, the supervisor(s) and the other co-authors of the joint publication must verify the report by their signatures.  Several candidates may include the same co-authored publication in their dissertations on the basis of a report on the division of labour.  If necessary, the professor in charge may confirm the report on the division of labour, should a co-author not respond to the doctoral candidate’s requests for verification.

The name(s) and unit(s) (or equivalent information) of the supervisor(s), preliminary examiners and opponent of the dissertation must be indicated on the page following the title page of the completed dissertation. If the candidate so wishes, he or she may include a freely formulated presentation (CV) of him- or herself in the dissertation.

Preliminary examination and permission for the public defence
The Faculty Council grants the permission to defend a doctoral dissertation in a public examination.  For this purpose, the Faculty Council requests assessments of the dissertation manuscript from at least two experts (preliminary examiners), who have the qualifications of a docent or equivalent academic qualifications.  When choosing the preliminary examiners, particular attention should be paid not only to their expertise but also to their impartiality regarding the dissertation in question.  The examiners should be chosen from outside the department and primarily from outside the Faculty.  A person who has acted as a supervisor of the dissertation or has co-authored any of the articles included in it may not be appointed as a preliminary examiner.  It is recommended that one of the preliminary examiners be from Finland. The appointment proposal is made by the professor in charge and must include a written statement by the doctoral candidate confirming that he or she does not object to the appointment of the nominated examiners.  The proposal form is available on the Faculty website.  Before the preliminary examiners are appointed, the dissertation manuscript should be submitted to the Faculty’s research and postgraduate studies officer.  If the dissertation is made up of separate articles and a summarising report, the summarising report and the articles should be submitted as the dissertation manuscript; if any one of the articles is co-authored, a report on the division of labour should be included.  If the doctoral candidate has not previously completed a Licentiate degree, he or she must also provide the research and postgraduate studies officer with an account of what postgraduate studies he or she has completed (see Degree requirements above).

After the preliminary examiners have been appointed, the professor in charge will ensure that they are supplied with all the necessary documents for issuing their statement: the dissertation manuscript or the summarising report and related separate articles, and, in the case of co-authoring, the report on the candidate’s contribution to the co-authored articles. The professor must also supply the examiners with instructions on how to examine the dissertation and with an extract of the minutes of the Faculty Council meeting at which they were appointed.  The preliminary examiners must, within three months of accepting the assignment, submit a written statement, either jointly or separately, explicitly recommending that the doctoral candidate be granted or denied permission to defend the dissertation in a public examination.  The Faculty has issued separate instructions for the preliminary examination of dissertations (Examination and grading of doctoral and Licentiate theses, available on the Faculty web site).

If the preliminary examiner recommends that permission for the public defence be denied, the doctoral candidate shall be provided with the opportunity to object to the examiner’s statement before the Faculty Council decides whether or not permission is to be granted.

Before a dissertation can be approved it must be printed, and the doctoral candidate must defend it in a public examination arranged by the Faculty.

Preparing for the public examination
Upon granting the doctoral candidate permission to defend the dissertation, the Faculty Council appoints a dissertation grading committee for the public examination.  The committee comprises the opponent (in special cases, two opponents), the preliminary examiners and the custos (chair) of the public examination.  One of the permanent or fixed-term professors, usually the professor in the field of the dissertation, is appointed custos.  When selecting the opponent, particular attention should be paid not only to his or her expertise but also to impartiality in relation to the dissertation in question. The opponent must have the qualifications of at least a docent or equivalent academic qualifications. The opponent should be chosen from outside the department and primarily from outside the Faculty.  A preliminary examiner of the dissertation may not act as the opponent.  A person who has acted as a supervisor of the dissertation or has co-authored any of the articles included in it may not serve as a member of the dissertation grading committee.  If the supervisor or co-author of an article is also the professor in charge, he or she may serve as custos, but may not participate in proposing a grade for the dissertation.  The professor in charge makes a proposal for the composition of the dissertation grading committee. The proposal must include a written statement by the doctoral candidate confirming that he or she does not object to the appointment of the opponent. The proposal form is available on the Faculty website.  The doctoral candidate’s department is responsible for communicating with the dissertation grading committee.

When the Faculty Council has granted permission to defend the dissertation in a public examination, the doctoral candidate must contact the opponent and custos to set a time and place for the examination.  The preliminary examiners are not required to be present at the examination in order to grade the dissertation.  The doctoral candidate and his or her department are responsible for the practical arrangements and dissemination of information concerning the public examination.  The venue of the examination can be booked through the facilities booking service of the Centre for Facilities and Properties.  

The University of Helsinki has its own web site for doctoral candidates, which contains information on the printing and electronic publishing of the dissertation (E-thesis), grants to cover the printing costs, communication about the dissertation and the formalities to be observed at the public examination. The Faculty web site also contains detailed instructions for the distribution of doctoral dissertations. Information on the printing of dissertations can be found on the Unigrafia web site under the heading Dissertations.

The dissertation must be available to the public (on the notice board on the ground floor of the Main Building) for a minimum of ten days preceding the public examination. It is possible to shorten this time to a minimum of five days upon written application to the dean of the faculty (Section 42 of the Regulations on Degrees and the Protection of Students’ Rights at the University of Helsinki).  If the doctoral candidate wishes to shorten the time of public display, he or she must submit a reasoned, freely formulated application to the research and postgraduate studies officer. The doctoral candidate must ensure that the opponent and custos as well as the preliminary examiners receive copies of the dissertation in good time before the public examination.

Approval and grading of the dissertation
The opponent shall be required to submit a reasoned written statement on the dissertation to the faculty council within four weeks of the public examination (Section 44 of the Regulations on Degrees and the Protection of Students’ Rights at the University of Helsinki). If the opponent recommends that the dissertation be rejected, he or she must also present the grounds for this recommendation.  The Faculty has issued separate instructions for the grading of dissertations (Examination and grading of doctoral and Licentiate theses).  In addition, the dissertation grading committee submits a joint statement proposing a grade for the dissertation.  The custos submits his or her own statement concerning the doctoral candidate’s performance during the public examination.  This statement can also form part of the grading committee’s statement.

The Faculty Council makes the decision concerning approval or rejection and the subsequent grade of the dissertation, based on the opponent’s and the grading committee’s statements.  There are three grades: Pass with Distinction, Pass, and Fail.  If the proposed grade is Pass with Distinction, the committee must be unanimous and present compelling grounds for the grade.  Before the grading of the dissertation, the author must be provided with the opportunity to object to the opponent’s statement. Students dissatisfied with the grading of their doctoral dissertation may appeal in writing to the Academic Appeals Board within 14 days of the receipt of the grading decision (Section 64 of the Regulations on Degrees and the Protection of Students’ Rights at the University of Helsinki).
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The Licentiate degree

Licentiate of Science in Agriculture and Forestry and Licentiate of Food Sciences
To complete a Licentiate degree, students admitted to pursue postgraduate research education must complete postgraduate studies according to their study plan approved by the Faculty as well as a Licentiate thesis which demonstrates a good knowledge of the research area and the ability to independently and critically apply the methods of scientific research (Standing Orders for degrees at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Section 27).

The format of the Licentiate thesis
The Licentiate thesis may be a monograph or a collection of several separate scientific publications or manuscripts that have been accepted for publication and that all focus on the same topic, as well as a summarising report. The summarising report should present extensively enough the theoretical background of the research, its objectives, methods, results, analysis and conclusions.

The separate articles should have been published in refereed scientific journals, and previously unpublished manuscripts should have been refereed and accepted for publication.  In an article-based thesis, at least one article should have been previously published or accepted for publication, and the rest should have been submitted for publication.  Article-based theses at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry should contain at least two separate articles.  An article included in a Licentiate thesis can later be included as a separate article in a doctoral dissertation.  Co-authored publications may be included if the author’s independent contribution to them can be verified. In the case of article-based Licentiate theses containing co-authored publications, the postgraduate student must, when submitting the manuscript to the Faculty’s research and postgraduate studies officer, always provide a report of his or her own contribution to the co-authored publications. The author, the supervisor(s) and the other co-authors of the joint publication must verify the report by their signatures.  The author of the Licentiate thesis must also provide the research and postgraduate studies officer with an account of what postgraduate studies he or she has completed (see Degree requirements above).

Several postgraduate students may include the same co-authored publication in their theses or dissertations on the basis of a report on the division of labour.  

The name(s) and unit(s) (or equivalent information) of the supervisor(s) and examiners of the thesis must be indicated on the page following the title page of the completed Licentiate thesis.

Examination of the Licentiate thesis
The Faculty Council appoints as examiners the professor in charge (in case this professor is unable to act as examiner, another Faculty professor is appointed instead), and a minimum of two other examiners who must at least hold a doctorate.  A person who has acted as a supervisor of the thesis or has co-authored any of the articles included in it may not be appointed as an examiner.  The professor in charge makes a proposal for the appointment of examiners.  The proposal form is available on the Faculty website.  Before the examiners are appointed, the Licentiate thesis manuscript should be submitted to the research and postgraduate studies officer.  If the thesis is made up of separate articles and a summarising report, the summarising report and the articles should be submitted (if any one of the articles is co-authored, a report on the division of labour should be included).  

After the examiners have been appointed, the professor in charge ensures that they are supplied with a bound copy of the thesis. If the thesis is made up of separate articles, the summarising report and the articles will be submitted to the examiners (if any one of the articles is co-authored, a report on the division of labour will also be included).  The professor must also supply the examiners with instructions on how to examine the thesis and with an extract of the minutes of the Faculty Council meeting at which they were appointed.  The postgraduate student’s department is responsible for communicating with the examiners.

Approval and grading of the Licentiate thesis
Before the Licentiate thesis can be approved and graded, the student must present his or her research at a Licentiate seminar, during which the examiners and other interested parties will present their commentaries.  After this, the examiners will write their statement.

The examiners of a Licentiate thesis shall be given a time limit of two months of the date of accepting the assignment to submit, either jointly or separately, a written reasoned statement on the thesis. The statement must recommend that the thesis be either approved or rejected, and the subsequent grade. The Faculty has issued separate instructions for the examination and grading of Licentiate theses (Examination and grading of doctoral and Licentiate theses).  

The Faculty Council decides whether to approve or reject as well as the grade of the thesis on the basis of the examiners’ statement.   

There are three grades: Pass with Distinction, Pass, and Fail.  Before the grading of the thesis, the author must be provided with the opportunity to object to the examiners’ statements. Students dissatisfied with the grading of their Licentiate theses may appeal in writing to the Academic Appeals Board within 14 days of the receipt of the grading decision (Section 64 of the Regulations on Degrees and the Protection of Students’ Rights at the University of Helsinki).

The processing of Licentiate theses and doctoral dissertations by the Faculty Council
The Faculty Council appoints examiners for Licentiate theses and preliminary examiners for doctoral dissertations, grants permission to defend dissertations in a public examination and grades Licentiate theses and doctoral dissertations. Licentiate theses are discussed at two separate Faculty Council meetings and doctoral dissertations at three meetings.  In order to have his or her thesis or dissertation taken up for discussion at a Faculty Council meeting, the student must hold the right to pursue postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry and he or she must be registered as attending in the Student Register. The Faculty Council convenes once a month with the exception of the summer months.  The meeting dates and deadlines for submitting material for the agenda can be found on the Faculty web site at http://www.helsinki.fi/af-faculty/administration/faculty_council.html.
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The Licentiate or Doctoral diploma

In order to be awarded the degree of Licentiate or Doctor, the student must be registered as attending in the Student Register and he or she must hold the right to pursue postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry. After the Licentiate thesis or doctoral dissertation has been approved and graded, the Faculty will award a postgraduate degree diploma. The student does not automatically receive this diploma; it will be issued upon a written application to the administrative services in the Faculty Office.

The student can apply for the diploma when
• he or she has completed all the required postgraduate studies in accordance with his or her study plan (checked and confirmed by the signature of the professor in charge);
• all the completed credits to be included in the degree can be found in the Student Register and the relevant department has organised them into modules (postgraduate studies in the major subject which are divided into general postgraduate studies and field-specific studies); and
• the Faculty Council has approved and graded the Licentiate thesis or doctoral dissertation.

The administrative services of the Faculty Office (Viikki Infocentre, 3rd floor, Viikinkaari 11) is responsible for issuing diplomas. The student should fill in an application form to receive the diploma. This form will be mailed to the student upon the approval of his or her thesis or dissertation, and can also be printed from the Faculty website. The form also contains detailed information on graduation.

Entry into force

These guidelines for postgraduate studies at the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry shall enter into force on 1 August 2011.
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(updated 25.4.2014