Apply for the title of docent

Upon application, the University may grant the title of docent to an applicant possessing extensive knowledge in his or her field and the ability to conduct independent research as demonstrated by publications or other means as well as good teaching skills.

A docent shall be entitled to participate in the teaching of his or her discipline, the supervision of students and the examination of dissertations and theses, as well as in other University activities as agreed on a case-by-case basis.

The Faculty Council evaluates whether the applicant fulfils the requirements for the title of docent. The chancellor of the University of Helsinki can grant the title of docent upon the proposal of the Faculty Council. 

The Faculty of Education accepts applications for the title of docent twice a year.

Next application period is November from 1 to 30, 2020.

The title of docent can be granted to a person with sufficient research skills, good teaching skills and the international experience required to supervise postgraduate students.

The specific criteria are as follows:

  •  A doctoral degree
  • Thorough knowledge about the field of the docentship. Enough scholarly publications in addition to the doctoral dissertation that the publications in the field of the docentship equal a second good-quality dissertation in terms of scientific significance and scope. Both monographs and research articles are considered.
  • The ability to complete independent research work following the dissertation research, as demonstrated by peer-reviewed publications and otherwise. The applicant must select up to ten of his or her publications for assessment. If they include co-authored publications, the applicant must enclose a report on his or her independent contribution to them.
  • International activities in the field. Typically this means international publication activities, unless the nature of the field requires with good reason that publications be issued only in Finnish and Swedish.

If the Faculty Council deems that granting the title of docent to the applicant is in the interest of the faculty, department or discipline, it shall acquire statements on the applicant's academic qualifications from two assessors, unless, for special reasons, the statements are considered unnecessary. In assessing the applicant’s competence, the main focus is on the quality and scope of the academic publications.

After having received the assessors’ statements and the statement on the applicant’s teaching skills, the Faculty Council shall decide whether to submit to the chancellor a proposal for granting the title of docent. According to section 52 of the University Regulations, the chancellor can grant the title of docent to an applicant at the proposal of the faculty council.

Docents must have good teaching skills. The Faculty teaching skills committee comprehensively assesses the teaching skills of applicants for the title of docent. The assessment is based on the teaching qualifications specified in the application documents as well as on the demonstration of teaching skills. Applicants for the title of docent must give a public demonstration of their teaching skills.

Docents must be fluent in the language they teach in (Finnish or Swedish). They must also have at least satisfactory oral and written skills in Finnish and Swedish (Government Decree on Universities 770/2009). Foreign citizens or non-native Finnish citizens may be exempted from the Finnish- and Swedish-language requirement (section 32 of the University Regulations).

Applicants for the title of docent must consult a professor of the relevant discipline before the application process so as to determine the field of the docentship and settle other related issues (e.g., a sufficient quantity of publications).

According to the chancellor’s instructions, the fields associated with the title of docent must not be too limited and the field should not be specified using phrases such as “with a special focus on”. In most cases, the title should comply with the established boundaries between disciplines.

In assessing the applicant’s competence, the main focus is on the quality and scope of the academic publications. It is therefore important that the applicant prepares his or her list of publications carefully and according to instructions.

The research committee of the Faculty of Educational Sciences initially processes the application. If the committee supports the application, the matter is presented to the Faculty Council.

The committee may also decide not to support the application. Applicants for the title of docent are informed of such decisions and their justifications. The committee also provides the applicants with instructions for supplementing their application. Applicants may choose to have the application presented without the committee’s support, in which case the presenting official hands the matter over to the Faculty Council. If the applicant does not wish to proceed in this manner, the matter is terminated until the applicant submits a supplemented application to the docent committee. 

After the Faculty Council has decided on the assessors, the Faculty Office submits the application documents and publications to them.

The Faculty teaching skills committee must make a comprehensive assessment of the applicant’s teaching skills. The assessment is based on the teaching qualifications specified in the application documents and on the teaching demonstration. As a rule, applicants for the title of docent must give a public demonstration of their teaching skills, unless this is considered unnecessary for special reasons.

After having received the assessors’ statements on the applicant’s academic competence and qualifications as well as an assessment of the applicant’s teaching skills, the Faculty Council decides whether to propose to the chancellor that the applicant be granted the title of docent.

Applying the Title of Docent

Written applications (no form available) should be addressed to the Faculty of Educational Sciences and sent to by the closing date. Only electronic applications are accepted. Application documents must be clearly named (e.g., lastname_firstname_cv.pdf).

Applications must indicate the field of the docentship (title) and the applicant’s address and other contact details (home address, email, phone, personal identity code) as well as grounds for the application (why the applicant is requesting the specific title of docent at the University of Helsinki). In addition, applications must include information on the supervisors of the applicant’s doctoral dissertation because they cannot serve as assessors. If an applicant has questions about the title of docent, he or she should contact a professor in the discipline.

Applications must be accompanied by the following documents:

  1. A curriculum vitae: The Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity’s template for a researcher’s (Full names, Date and place of birth, Current position and date of appointment, Education and degrees awarded, Previous professional appointments, Research awards, research honours and major stipendiary support for research, Editorial board memberships/editor, Elected memberships in scientific societies. Supervision of research work and postgraduate studies, other academic and professional activities. The CV must include information about the applicant’s proficiency in Swedish/Finnish. If this information is not included, a copy of a certificate of language proficiency is required.)
  2. A free-form assessment (max. 1–2 pages) of the prospective docent’s scientific field of research and his or her personal contribution to that field and to the Faculty.
  3. A list of publications prepared in accordance with the Ministry of Education and Culture’s classification for publications (see below). In preparing the list of publications, it is important to highlight international publications, articles included in an article-based dissertation and publications based on the material for a monograph dissertation.  The publications must be numbered.
  4. A report on teaching qualifications (only use this form) for the report, other documents are not accepted.
  5. Publications (according to the numbering in the list of publications). The submitted publications (5–10 publications) should be relevant to the intended field of the docentship and must demonstrate the following: the high quality and extensive scope of the applicant’s research (corresponding to at least two dissertations, taking both monographs and research articles into account); the extensive scope of publication, specifically with regard to the field of the docentship; the applicant’s ability to contribute to new scholarly knowledge after completing a dissertation; and his or her development as an independent researcher.

In applications the list of publications should comply with the Finnish national classification for publications issued by Ministry of Education and Culture.  

  1. A Peer-reviewed scientific articles
    Journal article (refereed), original research; review article, literature review, systematic review; book section, chapters in research books; conference proceedings
    NB. Doctoral dissertations (articles) also listed under item G.
  2. B Non-refereed scientific articles
    Non-refereed journal article; book section; non-refereed conference proceedings
  3. C Scientific books (monographs)
    Book; edited book, conference proceedings or special issue of a journal
    NB. Doctoral dissertations (monographs) also listed under item G.
  4. D Publications intended for professional communities
    Article in a trade journal; article in a professional manual or guide or professional information system, textbook material; professional conference proceedings; published development or research report or study; textbook, professional manual or guide, dictionary
  5. E Publications intended for the general public, linked to the applicant’s research
    Popularised article, newspaper article; popularised monograph
  6. F Public artistic and design activities
    Published independent work of art; public partial realisation of a work of art; public artistic performance or exhibition; model or design adopted for production/use
  7. G Theses
    Polytechnic thesis, Bachelor’s thesis, Master’s thesis, polytechnic Master’s thesis; Licentiate thesis; doctoral dissertation (monograph); doctoral dissertation (article)
  8. H Patents and invention disclosures
    Granted patent; invention disclosure
  9. I Audiovisual material, ICT software
    Audiovisual material; ICT software

For each publication, give a complete literature reference, indicating the authors and the title of the article or publication as well as the publisher.

Further information

Further information on the matters related to docentship applications: Pirjo Lehtiniemi (