Applying for the title of docent

The holders of the title of docent have a thorough knowledge of their field, good teaching skills and the ability to conduct independent scholarly work. The title of docent is typically applied for at the second (end of the postdoctoral stage) or third level of the four-level hierarchy of teaching and research positions. The Faculty of Arts accepts applications for the title of docent twice a year. Applications must be submitted to the Faculty Office from 1 to 31 January or from 1 to 31 August, preferably in good time because the application processes are long: it takes usually about one year from submitting the application to granting the title of docent.

Academic qualifications

According to Section 89 of the Universities Decree (Decree No. 558/2009), a title of docent may be conferred on an applicant who has ample expertise in his or her own field and who has proven his or her ability for independent scientific work with a list of publications or other research work.

On 29 September 1998 the Faculty Council of the Faculty of Arts supplemented the qualification requirements for docentships as follows: “A further requirement for a docentship is scientific publications in the field of the docentship, the academic standard and scope of which must be equal to at least two doctoral dissertations approved with the grade of good.”

According to the Section 52 of the Regulations of the University of Helsinki, the Faculty Council can consider starting the process for appointment to a title of docent on the basis of the appointments relevance to the functions of the faculty, department or subject.

The Faculty Council will appoint a minimum of two assessors to evaluate the applicant’s academic competence in a written statement, unless, for special reasons, the statements are considered unnecessary.

Teaching qualifications

Docents are required to have good teaching skills (Section 89 of Decree No. 558/2009 on Universities). When assessing the teaching skills of the applicant, attention will be paid to pedagogical training, previous experience in teaching, the ability to develop teaching materials, any other teaching qualifications, and teaching skills as demonstrated in lectures. The applicant must give a demonstration of his or her teaching skills in a public lecture, unless the demonstration is, for special reasons, considered unnecessary.

Language requirements

The language requirement for the title of docentis the same as for all teaching and research posts at the University (Chancellor's decision 18.2.2010.) Foreign citizens or non-native Finnish citizens may be appointed without having proved their competence in the Finnish and Swedish languages.

The rights and obligations of docents

If the docent so agrees, he or she may be appointed to carry out duties related to the teaching and research of his or her field. (The Head of the Department makes these decisions.)

Before submitting an application for a title of docent, the candidate has to discuss the adequacy of published works and the field (title) with the professor representing the field closest to the planned title. If the field of the title of docent is new (the Faculty has had no previous docents in the field in question) the application must be accompanied by a statement of the professor of the relevant discipline giving grounds for the establishment of such a docentship.

N.B. The field of the title of docent should not be too narrow, and specifications in the title (Docent in X, especially Z) are not allowed. In most cases, the field of the title of docent complies with established boundaries between disciplines. Also, it is possible to combine two disciplines in the field of the docentship, if the applicant fulfils the requirements for such a docentship. (Decision of the chancellor 1672/07/2004)

According to the Section 52 of the Regulations of the University of Helsinki, the Faculty Council can consider starting the process for appointment to a title of docent on the basis of the appointments relevance to the functions of the faculty or subject.

The docent committee can decide not to recommend the approval of the application to the Faculty Council, independent of the stance of the discipline, if it considers the application not relevant to the functions of the faculty or subject. The final decision on starting the process will be made by the Faculty Council.

Written applications (no form available) should be addressed to the Faculty of Arts and sent to hum-dosentit@helsinki.fi by the closing date. Only electronic applications are accepted. Application documents must be clearly named (e.g., lastname_firstname_cv.pdf).

Applications must clearly state the field of the docentship (the title) and give the applicant’s address and other contact details (home address, email address, phone number, Finnish identity number or date of birth) and motivation (why you apply the title of docent at the University of Helsinki). The names of the supervisors of the PhD thesis are also needed; supervisors cannot be named as assessors. If possible, the applications along with the attachment should be submitted in an electronic form. Name all the documents clearly (e.g. lastname_firstname_CV.pdf).

The application should be accompanied by the following:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • a report of teaching qualifications (see separate instructions),
  • a list of publications that follows the classification of the University of Helsinki TUHAT Publications Database (see separate instructions). Please mark the publications that are sent to the assessors,
  • certificates of language competence (unless language skills are contained in a completed degree at the University of Helsinki),
  • a copy of the passport (information page) or the ID card,
  • a copy of the diploma of the PhD degree (date of graduation, field) if not completed at the University of Helsinki.

If asked, the applicant has to be able to show documentation of all the merits referred to in the Curriculum Vitae.

In addition to this, the applicant has to submit the publications on the basis of which the applicant wishes that the assessors will assess his/her academic qualifications. Max. 10 publications can be submitted. Doctoral thesis must be one of the submitted publications. Name the files clearly (e.g. lastname_firstname_publication1.pdf). If you have a University of Helsinki user account, you can use the Funet FileSender service for the transferring of large files. If you don't have a user account but wish to use the service, please contact us (e-mail address above) and we'll send you a voucher you can use to upload your files.

The Docent Committee of the Faculty discusses the applications before the Faculty Council and acts as an assessment committee to assess the teaching qualifications.

Applications for title of docent are usually discussed by the Faculty Council at two separate meetings.

In the first meeting, the application is brought to the Council’s attention, and it appoints two assessors to provide a statement on the applicant’s academic qualifications after the head of the applicant’s department has submitted a proposal for the nomination of the assessors. The applicant’s doctoral dissertation supervisor cannot be appointed as an assessor, and at least one of the two assessors must be from outside the applicant’s department. A time limit of three months will be set for the assessors’ statements.

To assess the applicant’s teaching qualifications, the docent committee will appoint an assessment committee, which will arrange for the applicant to give a lecture and will draw up a statement on the applicant’s teaching qualifications (see Assessment of the teaching qualifications of applicants for docentships below).

When the matter is taken up for the second time, the Faculty Council will decide whether the applicant has the academic qualifications, teaching skills and language competence required for a title of docent, and if so, will make a proposal to the Chancellor for a nomination.

According to Section 52 of the Regulations of the University of Helsinki, the faculty council will submit to the Chancellor a proposal of appointment to the title of docent, provided that the faculty council has found the applicant to fulfil the qualification requirements specified in Section 89 of the Universities Decree.

The Chancellor decides about appointments to the title of docent.

The docent committee acts as a teaching assessment committee for the applicants of the title of docent. Teaching skills are assessed in accordance with the Faculty's general instructions on the evaluation of teaching skills.

The applicant chooses the topic of the demonstration lecture. The average length of the demonstration is 30 minutes. The Faculty Office organises the demonstration lectures and takes care of publicising the event. Teaching demonstrations are public events.

An applicant can give a maximum of two demonstration lectures. Should the applicant's teaching skills be considered inadequate for the applied title of docent, the applicant must give a written account on what has been done to improve the teaching skills before being able to apply again.

Definition of qualifications

According to Section 89 of the Universities Decree (Decree No. 558/2009), the title of docent (honorary title) may be conferred on an applicant who has ample expertise in his or her own field and who has proven his or her ability for independent scientific work with a list of publications or other research work.

On 29 September 1998, the Faculty Council of the Faculty of Arts supplemented the qualification requirements for docentships as follows: “A further requirement for a docentship is scientific publications in the field of the docentship, the academic standard and scope of which must be equal to at least two doctoral dissertations approved with the grade of good.”

The Faculty Council will appoint a minimum of two assessors to evaluate the applicant’s academic competence in a written statement, unless, for special reasons, such statements are considered unnecessary.

Content of the assessor’s statement

When assessing the academic qualifications of an applicant for the title of docent, the assessors are expected to take into account the above-mentioned Decree and Faculty Council decision. The assessor may concentrate on the applicant’s most important publications and provide only a brief assessment of the applicant’s other works. The assessor is expected to explicitly state either that the applicant has the academic qualifications required for the title of docent or that the applicant has not the required academic qualifications. The recommended length of the assessor’s statement is from three to five pages. The statement should be written in Finnish, Swedish, or English. As the applicant’s list of publications will be distributed to the Faculty Council with the assessors' statements, the assessors need not enclose this list with their statement.

According to the regulations of the University of Helsinki, the time limit set for the assessors’ statements may not exceed three months, unless extenuating circumstances require otherwise. To expedite the processing of the matter, you may also send your signed statement as an e-mail attachment to the following address: hum-dosentit@helsinki.fi.

Fee

The assessor’s fee of 200 € will be paid once the assessor’s statement has been received. The assessors are asked to provide their personal details and bank details on this form and to email the form to the Faculty Office together with the statement. Please note that your bank’s address must be in SWIFT format and your bank account number in IBAN format (unless SWIFT and IBAN are not in use in your home country, in which case relevant account and routing numbers are required).