Section 89 of the Universities Act (558/2009) stipulates that a university may, upon application, award the title of docent to a person who has comprehensive knowledge of his or her field, a capacity for independent research demonstrated through publications or some other manner, and good teaching skills.
According to section 52 of the Regulations of the University of Helsinki (15 April 2015), the chancellor may grant the title of docent at the proposal of the faculty council. All docentships are associated with the University of Helsinki, not individual faculties.
Under section 84 of the Regulations of the University of Helsinki (8 October 2009), a docent may participate in the provision of teaching in his or her discipline, the supervision of students and the examination of dissertations and theses as well as in other academic activities, as separately agreed on a case-by-case basis.
Granting the title of docent does not constitute a contract of employment with the University, nor are docents entitled to fees or the benefits available to the University staff without a separate agreement.
The title of docent is a qualification requirement for certain posts at the Helsinki University Hospital.
In accordance with Rector’s Decision No 2/4/2010 (13 December 2010), docents who are not members of University of Helsinki staff, but wish to benefit the University in their discipline and interact with the University can conclude a docent contract with the University unit responsible for their discipline that agrees on the forms and terms of cooperation. The contract does not constitute a contract of employment with the University, but rather determines the rights and benefits the docent is entitled to when participating in the activities of the Faculty or department. Those who conclude a docent contract are reimbursed by the University for their work, as separately agreed before the beginning of teaching or other duties.
The contract always requires volition from both parties. It is approved and signed by the department director, who considers whether it meets the unit’s needs and interests. The term of the contract in years is indicated in the contract. The contract can be also terminated by both parties before its validity expires, or renewed after its expiry.
A docent who retires can conclude a docent contract. Applying for the title of docent is not necessary for professors emeriti who wish to retain contact with the University of Helsinki. In accordance with Rector’s Decisions No 2/3/2010 and 2/4/2010 (13 December 2010), an emeritus professor can conclude a professor contract equivalent in content to a docent contract.
On 25 January 2020, the chancellor of the University of Helsinki issued a decision granting the title of docent to those who were University of Helsinki docents on the date in question.
A docentship can be applied for by sending the requested application documents to Minna Arekhau, dosenttiasiat-ltdk(a)helsinki.fi by the application deadline.
Applications completed in accordance with the application instructions and submitted by the deadline will be considered by the docentship committee at its following meeting. Deficient applications are not considered.
The Faculty of Medicine requests that applicants submit the following documents saved in accordance with the application instructions as a single PDF file.
A signed application form.
The curriculum vitae should be between one and two pages in length. The application must be accompanied by copies of the undergraduate and doctoral degree certificates as well as service certificates. If the applicant is not a Finnish citizen, a copy of the first page of the applicant’s passport must also be attached.
The curriculum vitae must include information on proficiency in the second national language of Finland (Swedish for Finnish speakers, and Finnish for Swedish speakers). If the degree certificate makes no mention of language proficiency, the application must be accompanied by a certificate of language proficiency.
A foreign citizen or a non-native Finnish citizen may be granted the title of docent even if he or she is not proficient in Finnish or Swedish. In such cases, the person in question is simultaneously exempted in accordance with section 32 of the Regulations of the University of Helsinki from the requirement concerning proficiency in Finnish and Swedish laid down in the Government Decree on Universities.
On 29 October 1982 and 5 February 1985, the Faculty decided the following on lists of publications:
“The position of docent is academic in nature, and when assessing the qualifications of applicants, the focus must be on the quality and scope of their scholarly publication activities. The decision on the qualifications of each applicant is made by the Faculty Council. Consequently, it is important that each member of the Faculty community has the opportunity to explore the scientific qualifications of applicants rather than making their decision on the basis of assessor statements alone.”
The Faculty requires that applicants classify their publications as follows:
The applicant’s name must be highlighted in bold or underlined. The list must mention all authors (the ‘et al.’ convention should not be used).
The applicant must note in the list of publications whether he or she has contributed equally to the publication with, for example, the first author. To do so, the applicant should use an asterisk (*) to indicate authors who have contributed equally and add the following in bold at the end of the citation: ‘*Equal contribution’.
The applicant must be the author of the article, or the publication must otherwise indicate that the applicant has actively contributed to the planning of the research, the analysis of the results or the writing of the article (e.g., as a member of a protocol writing committee or reading centre). Serving as a local data collector or equivalent (e.g., collaborator or investigator) is not sufficient. In the latter case, the list of authors typically ends with the name of the research group, preceded by the words ‘for the [name of consortium]’ or ‘on behalf of the [name of consortium]’, and the members of the consortium are listed elsewhere in the publication. This type of participation in consortium research can be mentioned elsewhere in the curriculum vitae.
The list of publications must be based on the Vancouver system (e.g., Wilson DH, Thyson WT: Title of article. Am J Clin Patol 1991; 29:762–770). The publications in the list of publications should be numbered and organized from oldest to newest within the categories.
Each publication must be followed by:
The assessment is primarily based on the quality of publications, taking into account field-specific features and original articles that have been published or accepted for publication in international refereed publication series. The number of such original publications is typically at least 20.
As a rule, publications describing research plan and case studies are not considered original articles. If a publication describing research plan or case study is put forward as an original publication, the applicant must state why it should be accepted as such. This requires that the key content of the publication includes original scientific research results not included in other articles.
In accordance with Faculty Council decisions on 14 June 2016 and 15 September 2020, the scientific output of applicants must demonstrate that they have developed their own line of research and that their research continues actively. The criterion for active research means that at least two of the 20 original publications listed by the applicant must have appeared in the past 36 months.
As per the Faculty Council decision of 9 May 2017, applications for psychology and logopedics have been processed from 9 May 2019 in accordance with the Faculty of Medicine requirements also with regard to the number of publications.
Academic qualifications for the title of docent are assessed partially based on the selected 20 publications. Applicants must draw up a numbered list of selected 20 publications in the same format as the list of publications.
The maximum length of this report is two pages.
In accordance with the Faculty Council decision of 23 February 1999, postgraduate research education can include Finnish or international doctoral education, courses, participation in Finnish and international conferences in the field, and other similar qualifications. Competitive research funding acquired by applicants also demonstrates their ability to conduct independent scientific work and thus counts as an asset.
a) Applicants must attach to their application documents the Faculty's form for reporting teaching qualifications, describing their teaching qualifications in the relevant areas. Teaching qualifications are assessed on the basis of responses to each question on the form, so please answer all questions carefully.
b) In addition, applications must be accompanied by a report on the pedagogical courses completed and by their certificates.
Section 89 of the Universities Act (558/2009) stipulates that docents must have good teaching skills. The assessment of teaching skills is governed by the Regulations of the University of Helsinki and by a rector’s decision (HY/1333/00.00.06.00/2021) on the practices for the assessment of teaching skills at the University of Helsinki. The title of docent requires at least good teaching skills overall. The assessment is based on the teaching skills assessment matrix for the Faculty of Medicine.
In accordance with the dean’s decision on 22 March 2011, the docentship committee serves as the teaching skills committee for applicants for the title of docent.
Applicants for the title of docent must give a public teaching demonstration as part of the overall assessment of their teaching skills. The demonstration must be given in the discipline applied for after the docentship committee has supported the relevant application. As of 1 September 2022, the docentship committee assesses the teaching demonstrations of applicants for the title of docent.
In accordance with the instructions issued by the chancellor on 12 May 2020, applicants can use assessments of teaching skills carried out in other contexts, such as in an application process for a university lectureship, an assistant professorship, an associate professorship or a professorship, if these assessments demonstrate that the applicants have good teaching skills, as referred to in the Universities Act and the Regulations. Under a rector’s decision (HY/1333/00.00.06.00/2021), a teaching demonstration given at the University of Helsinki is valid, as a rule, for five years. If an applicant wishes to propose that their previous teaching demonstration at the University of Helsinki be used when they apply for the title of docent, their application must be accompanied by the assessment statement on their previous teaching demonstration.
The assessment of teaching demonstrations is based on the Faculty of Medicine's matrix for the assessment of teaching demonstrations, describing the requirements for each area of the demonstration.
In accordance with the dean’s decision of 22 March 2011, the docentship committee serves as the teaching skills committee for applicants for the title of docent, assesses teaching demonstrations and issues a written statement on teaching skills after the teaching demonstration or after approving an assessment statement on a previous teaching demonstration as part of the assessment of teaching skills.
The decision of the Faculty Council on 25 November 1986 states that applicants for the title of docent in a clinical field must have completed at least two years of service in a senior position after completing a specialist degree in medicine or dentistry. Such service includes work in the position of clinical instructor, university lecturer, medical specialist, senior ward physician, head of department, associate chief physician, dental specialist, senior ward dentist or equivalent. The application must include a calculation demonstrating the completion of the required period of clinical service.
A clinical docentship in psychology requires not only a master’s degree, but also specialisation in clinical psychology in both research work and employment as a psychologist (e.g., in a psychiatric unit) as well as continuing education in the field (e.g., specialist training). A clinical docentship in logopedics requires not only a master’s degree, but also specialisation in clinical logopedics in both research work and employment as a speech therapist as well as continuing education in the field. Also accepted as service in a senior position in psychology and logopedics is a two-year period of employment as a psychologist, specialist in psychology/logopedics, university lecturer or equivalent.
Under section 52 of the Regulations of the University of Helsinki, a docentship must be appropriate for the operations of the faculty or discipline. The field of the docentship must not be too limited, and specifications made using a phrase such as ‘with a focus on’ must not be used in the titles of docents.
The scientific field of the docentship must usually follow the scientific fields of existing docentships and professorships, as listed on the Faculty website. If a new scientific field is proposed, its appropriateness must be clearly justified in connection with the assessor proposal. The Faculty Council must state the reasons to the chancellor if it supports the docentship application.
The field of the docentship must be specified in Finnish, Swedish and English.
At the University of Helsinki, a single person cannot hold two separate docentships. Changing the field of a docentship or merging two fields is possible, and the fields to be merged can be from one or more faculties. When merging fields of science, it must also be ensured that the applicant’s scientific qualifications are assessed in both fields included in the title of the prospective docentship.
The assessor proposal must be made by entering the assessors’ details on the application form.
At least one of the assessors must be from the field of the prospective docentship or a closely related field. As a rule, the assessors must represent different universities.
If an assessor from outside Finland assesses an applicant’s qualifications, the applicant must submit the requested application documents in English.
The general rule of the University of Helsinki for assessing applicants’ scientific qualifications is to obtain statements from two assessors. In accordance with the chancellor’s instructions of 12 May 2020, a special reason for considering such statements unnecessary under the University Regulations may be, for example, that the applicant is a person employed as a professor at a high-quality research university. In such cases, the Faculty Council must discuss and justify the applicant’s scientific qualifications.
A decision of the Faculty Council on the proposal for granting the title of docent cannot be appealed against because it is not a decision on an administrative matter, as referred to in section 83a of the Universities Act.
Further information can be obtained from Minna Arekhau, firstname.lastname@example.org, available by appointment.
Please submit the application documents (1-10) and the 20 chosen articles via e-mail to dosenttiasiat-ltdk(a)helsinki.fi.
Please submit the chosen 20 articles numbered and listed as in “List of 20 chosen publication”. Kindly name each article file with three first words of the article name;
Timetable and ad-hoc teaching skills committees for teaching demonstrations in Autumn 2022
Wed 24.08.2022 klo 13:00-17:00: Pipsa Saharinen, Ras Trokovic ja Minna Lehtisalo
Thu 15.09.2022 klo 12:00-16:00: Virve Koljonen, Teemu Kinnari ja Ali El Fellah
Wed 12.10.2022 klo 13:00-17:00: Teija Kujala, Ras Trokovic ja Minna Lehtisalo
Wed 09.11.2022 klo 12:00-16:00: Pipsa Saharinen, Mirja Puolakkainen ja Ali El Fellah
Wed 14.12.2022 klo 12:00-16:00: Teija Kujala, Teemu Kinnari ja Minna Lehtisalo
Teaching demonstrations by applicants for the title of docent scheduled for spring and early autumn 2022 can be arranged as agreed in accordance with the previous guidelines. In such cases, the docentship committee will assess the applicants’ teaching skills using the assessment of the teaching demonstration submitted through the Faculty’s assessment form. As of 1 September 2022, all teaching demonstrations by applicants for the title of docent will be assessed in accordance with the new guidelines.
The Docentship Committee prepares matters pertaining to the qualification requirements of holders of the title of docent for the Faculty Council as well as examines docentship applications and proposals for assessors before the Faculty Council discussion. The Docentship Committee acts as the Teaching Skills Evaluation Committee and issues a statement on the teaching qualifications of prospective docents.
Chair, Associate Professor Pipsa Saharinen, pipsa.saharinen(a)helsinki.fi
Secretary, HR Specialist Minna Arekhau, dosenttiasiat-ltdk(a)helsinki.fi
Applications for the title of docent must be processed without delay. However, due to the multiple steps in the process it will often take 3-6 months to complete the application process.
If the docentship committee supports an application, it is delivered to the assessors upon the dean’s decision. The committee can also choose not to support an application. Information on this decision and its grounds is sent to the applicant. The committee simultaneously issues instructions for how the application should be supplemented. The applicant can request that the matter be presented even though the committee does not support the application, in which case a presenting official brings the matter before the Faculty Council for decision. If the applicant does not wish for the above, the matter will be cancelled until the applicant submits a supplemented application to the docentship committee for consideration.
After receiving the assessors’ statements and the statement on the applicant’s teaching skills as well as the justification for granting the title of docent in a new scientific field, if relevant, the Faculty Council proposes to the chancellor that the title of docent be granted.