Granting the title of docent

According to Section 89 of the Universities Act (558/2009), a person may be granted the title of docent upon application.

According to Section 89 of the Universities Act (558/2009), a person may be granted the title of docent upon application. According to Section 52 of the University of Helsinki Regulations, the University may grant the title of docent to a person who has comprehensive knowledge of his or her own field, a capacity for independent research or artistic work as demonstrated through publication or some other manner, and good teaching skills. The docent may participate in the teaching of his or her discipline, the supervision of students and theses as well as other University activities in a way to be agreed upon on a case-by-case basis.

It is recommended that applicants discuss the application with the person responsible for the relevant discipline at the Faculty before sending the application. During this discussion, the person responsible for the discipline can make a tentative assessment of the applicant’s scholarly merits and explain the Faculty’s application procedure for the title of docent.

Persons responsible for disciplines
The docentship fields at the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences


Animal Physiology

Applied Hydrology

Applied Microbial Genetics

Applied Microbiology

Aquatic Ecology

Aquatic Sciences

Arctic Fish Biology




Biological Microscopy

Biotechnical Microbiology

Boreal Environment Research


Botany and Mycology

Cancer Biology

Cancer Genetics

Cell and Molecular Biology

Cell Biology

Cellular Microbiology

Chemical Plant Ecology

Clinical Biochemistry

Clinical Microbiology

Conservation Biology

Developmental Biology

Developmental Biology of Plants

Developmental Genetics

Ecological Genetics

Ecological Environmental Protection

Ecological Parasitology


Ecology and Evolutionary Biology


Experimental Aquatic Ecology

Environmental Biology

Environmental Biotechnology

Environmental Change

Environmental Chemistry and Microbiology

Environmental Ecology

Environmental Microbiology

Environmental Policy

Environmental Protection

Environmental Protection in Developing Countries

Environmental Risk Analysis

Environmental Sciences


Evolutionary Biology

Fish Biology

Fish Biology, especially Fish Farming

Fish Diseases

Fish Genetics

Fishery Biology

Fishery Science

Forest Ecology

Forest Ecological Environmental Science

General Microbiology

Gene Technology


Genetic Bioinformatics



Human Genetics




Industrial Microbiology

Infection Research


Limnology, especially the Impacts of Land Use on Watercourses

Limnology, especially Environmental Loading

Marine Biology

Mathematical Ecology

Medical Microbiology

Medical Environmental Protection

Microbial Ecology

Microbial Chemistry

Microbiological Immunology

Molecular Biology

Molecular Endocrinology

Molecular Genetics

Molecular Microbiology

Molecular Systems Biology

Molecular Virology






Physical Biochemistry

Physiological Botany

Physiology and Neuroscience

Plant and Environmental Ecology

Plant Cell Biology and Plant Cell Biotechnology

Plant Developmental and Molecular Biology

Plant Ecology

Plant Genetics

Plant Molecular Biology

Plant Molecular Genetics

Plant Molecular Physiology and Bioinformatics

Plant Physiology

Plant Physiology and Plant Molecular Biology

Plant Systematics

Plant Virology

Protein Chemistry


Quantitative Ecology

Soil Ecology

Stem Cell and Developmental Biology

Structural Biology

Toxicological Genetics

Urban Ecology



Statements on the applicant's academic qualifications

The University regulations require that the Faculty Council request statements on the applicant's academic qualifications from two assessors, unless, for special reasons, the Council considers such statements unnecessary. Both assessors must be from outside the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences. At the Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences, the Faculty Council may deem the assessor statements unnecessary if the scholarly qualifications of the applicant in the relevant field for the title of docent have already been ascertained during the application procedure for the title of professor at the University of Helsinki. The Faculty Teaching Skills Evaluation Committee will issue a statement on the applicant's teaching skills. If the Faculty Council finds that the applicant for the title fulfils the requirements for the title of docent, the Council will submit a proposal of appointment to the Chancellor.

The languages of instruction and degrees at the University of Helsinki are Finnish and Swedish. According to the guidelines provided for the faculties by the University Chancellor on 18 February 2010, the language requirements for docents are the same as those for University teaching staff. According to the section on language requirements for teaching staff at universities of the Government Decree on Universities (770/ 2009), an applicant for the title of docent must be competent in the language in which he or she will provide instruction (Finnish or Swedish). In addition, he or she must also have at least satisfactory oral and written skills in both Finnish and Swedish. Language skills will be demonstrated through application documents and, if relevant, a teaching demonstration. The language of instruction of an applicant for the title of docent will be considered to be the language of the initial application. The docent may also provide instruction in other languages.

If the applicant for the title of docent is a foreign citizen, a non-native Finnish citizen or a citizen who has not been educated in Finnish or Swedish, he or she may be exempted from the requirement on skills in Finnish and Swedish as stated in the Government Decree without a separate application. The Faculty Council will grant the exemption when preparing the proposal for granting the title of docent.