Postgraduate study rights

Have you suspended your studies? Did you forget to register for the academic year? Do you wish to change your major subject or complete studies at the University of Helsinki which you can then include in a degree at your home university? This page contains information for those who have suspended their studies or have registered as non-attending students, or are intending to come to the University of Helsinki to complete postgraduate studies. Instructions for attending students can be found on the Flamma intranet.

The University of Helsinki monitors the study progress of postgraduate students six years from when they were granted the right to study. The University and its faculties carry out the monitoring and offer related guidance and supervision to support and promote the progress of postgraduate students and expedite degree completion.

When needed, the supervisors and the Faculty’s doctoral student services can provide the screened students with guidance and advice in order to establish the reasons for the delay in studies and to update supervisory arrangements and records on completed studies.

Who is screened?

In 2018 the monitoring will apply to students admitted to pursue postgraduate studies on or before 31 July 2012. The Student Register will conduct the screening associated with the monitoring system in February and block those screened from registering as attending students for the following academic year. The students screened will receive a letter or email in late February. The letters / emails will be sent using the contact details in the student register. Students are responsible for making sure that their contact details in the student register are kept up-to-date.

If you graduate as doctor during the spring semester, you need not provide the updated plans required for the study monitoring. Also, if you have already submitted your doctoral dissertation for preliminary examination, or will do so in the spring term of 2018, you need not provide the updated plans required for the study monitoring – the registration block will be automatically lifted by the Faculty’s doctoral student services in conjunction with the submission of your dissertation.

If you do not complete your doctoral degree or submit your dissertation for preliminary examination before the end of the academic year on July 31st, you must present your research plan and personal study plan according to the Faculty’s requirements (see further below) and seek guidance to be able to register for attendance.

What should I do?

Start by carefully reading all the instructions related to the study monitoring process available on this site. After that, draw up an updated study plan and research plan. Submit the updated plans to the Faculty’s doctoral student services by March 26, 2018. The plans can be approved and an extension granted for a maximum of three years at a time. Plans submitted belatedly after the deadline cannot be processed until the fall semester.

If this is not the first time your studies are monitored, you must include to your updated plans a report on how your doctoral thesis and studies have progressed during the previously granted extension. An extension of the right to register as an attending student may be granted if the student’s dissertation and postgraduate studies have significantly progressed during the previous extension and the discipline supports the approval of the student’s plans (Dean’s Decision of 12 Feb 2010).

The study plan should be drawn up on the relevant form, indicating also your personal information, information on your supervision arrangements, a preliminary graduation timetable and the possible reasons for the delay in study progress. A free-form research plan (max. 3 pages) must be submitted in addition to the study plan form. Incomplete plans will not be processed and will be returned to the student for completion.

The study plan form and the research plan will be submitted to the Faculty’s doctoral student services either as an email attachments or by post.

Postal address: Faculty of Arts Postgraduate Student Services, P.O. Box 24, 00014 University of Helsinki

The evaluation of the research- and study plans

The research plan for the doctoral dissertation (maximum length 3 pages) must indicate the topic of the dissertation, its relevance for previous research, the materials and methods to be used, an outline of the content, and the present state of the research. A research plan for an article-based dissertation must also include a publication plan for the articles. The research plan and its scholarly significance will be assessed as a dissertation project. The postgraduate study plan must present the content of the studies, a timetable for studies to be completed as well as funding obtained for the research, if any.

The Faculty’s doctoral student services will send all plans submitted within the given deadline for evaluation to the thesis supervisors and, when relevant, to the discipline’s professor. The supervisors and the discipline’s professor will evaluate the feasibility of the research and study plan and its appropriateness against the postgraduate studies that the student has already completed. When evaluating the schedule, special attention will be paid to the fact that a full-time student should aim to complete the doctoral dissertation in about four years. Supervisors are expected to support their students in attaining this objective.

Decisions and registration for the next academic year

Students who have submitted their plans by the given deadline will be informed of the decision starting from week 20. If the decision is positive, the student can after receiving it register as attending for the upcoming study year during the registration period (by August 31, 2018 at the latest).

Should the plans be found unacceptable even after the student has supplemented them, the student will be given a negative decision and informed of the reasons for the rejection. Students who receive a negative decision must enroll as absent for the upcoming study year during the registration period (by August 31,2018 at the latest). Students dissatisfied with a negative decision may appeal to the Faculty. Should the appeal be rejected, the letter informing the student of this will be accompanied by instructions for appealing to the administrative court.

If a student fails to register for the next academic year during the yearly registration period (May 1 to August 31), he/she will lose their study right and will have to apply for readmission.

Further information on registration >>

If you do not intend to complete your doctoral degree, you can waive the study right with a binding, written notice to the Faculty’s doctoral student services. All completed studies will be preserved in the University’s student register despite the waiver. For instructions on how to waive the study right, please see the University’s website.

If you apply for an extension for more than two years

The new degree requirements (2017–2020) for doctoral programmes became valid on August 1st, 2017. A transition period of three years has been decided on, giving students the opportunity to complete their degree following the old, major subject -specific degree requirements up until July 31st, 2020, should they so wish. Students who have not completed their degree by that date will be automatically transferred to complete their degree following the new degree requirements on August 1st, 2020. If you are applying for an extension that exceeds over the end of the transition period on July 31st, 2020, please take the transition rules into account when updating your study plan. Students registered as attending can transfer to the new degree requirements at any time during the transition period. Instructions related to transferring for attending students are available on the Faculty’s Flamma-pages.

Further information

The monitoring process at the Faculty of Arts follows the general process of study monitoring approved by the Rector (2011) as well as the general guidelines approved by the University Senate (2006) and other relevant decisions.

If you have questions on the monitoring process, please contact the Faculty’s doctoral student services.

Did you forget to register for the academic year? Have you suspended your studies and now wish to continue them? Failure to register always leads to the forfeiture of the right to study, but you can apply for readmission.

If a student, after having failed to register at the University, wishes to register as an attending or non-attending student during the same academic year, he or she must only pay the re-enrolment fee (see instructions below) and present a receipt of the payment at one of the Student Services’ service points. In addition, postgraduate students wishing to join the University of Helsinki Student Union must present a receipt of payment for its membership fee.

If the previous registration took place a long time ago, the reinstatement of the right to study must be requested using a form which can be downloaded as an RTF file or collected from the Faculty of Arts Postgraduate Student Services. A new study plan and research plan need to be attached to the application. The application needs to be signed by the relevant professor of the discipline / doctoral student's responsible teacher and submitted to the Postgraduate Student Services to await the dean’s decision. The Faculty's Postgraduate Student Services will send the dean’s decision to the applicant by post.

If the student’s right to study is reinstated, the student must pay the re-enrolment fee and re-register within one month of the decision at the University’s Student Services.

The re-enrolment fee is 35 euros (Government Decree on Universities 17 December 2009).

The re-enrolment fee can be paid to the University of Helsinki account:

IBAN: FI23 1660 3000 0777 20
Reference number: 0253 62312

Changing one’s major subject may be desirable because of developments in the research topic and changes in the relationship between the supervisor and the student.

The major subject can be changed upon application to the Dean. A freely formulated application must contain the following information:

  • grounds for the change
  • the stage of the dissertation
  • the stage of other studies required for the degree.

The application is to be submitted to the following address:

Postgraduate Student Services
Faculty of Arts and Faculty of Theology
Unioninkatu 40 ( P.O. Box 24)
00014 University of Helsinki

Changing major subject is possible only if the receiving department consents to it and commits itself to providing supervision.

Sometimes the topic of a doctoral dissertation or Licentiate thesis requires complementary studies at another university.

Finnish universities have concluded an agreement on student mobility and flexible study rights, known as the JOO agreement (JOO stands for joustava opinto-oikeus, or flexible study right). Students at Finnish universities may apply for a fixed-term right to pursue studies at another university and have these studies incorporated into their degree from their home university.

The right to complete studies within the JOO scheme must be applied for from the university at which the student wishes to study. The application must contain a statement by the home university, indicating that it will underwrite the costs of the studies at the other university.

Further instructions and the application form for studies within the flexible study rights scheme can be found at:

Should you have any questions on JOO-studies, you can contact the University's Exchange Services.

Exchange students moving under bilateral exchange agreements between departments and universities and visiting students with a freemover status may apply for a right to study at the Faculty of Arts for a fixed term. A student who has been granted a fixed-term right to study as an exchange student or a visiting student may complete the studies specified in the study and research plans that the relevant department has agreed to during the application process. A fixed-term student cannot complete a degree at the Faculty.

More information on the available student exchange opportunities for PhD students and instructions for applying are available on the University's Exchange Studies -website. Questions concerning exchange studies should be directed to the University's International Exchange Services.

A student may waive the right to pursue studies for a degree by a written notification to the faculty.  The right to complete a degree is registered as having expired on the date of the student’s notification. Students can gain readmission only by participating in a new student application procedure.

Form for the waiver of the right to complete a degree can be found here.