Apply for a title of docent

The University can 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 upon on a case-by-case basis. The title of docent does not constitute an employment relationship with the university, and based on title alone, the docent does not have the right to teach at the university. Without a separate agreement, the docent does not have the right to remuneration or benefits belonging to university personnel. A possible docent contract will separately agree on the forms and conditions of cooperation. The agreement always requires willingness from both parties.

At the University of Helsinki, the title of docent is granted by the chancellor. The Faculty Council shall evaluate whether the applicant fulfils the requirements for the title of docent.

The Faculty of Theology accepts applications for the title of docent twice a year: from 1 to 31 March and from 1 to 30 September. Note: in 2024 the first application period is exceptionally from 1st March to 2nd of April. 

Required qualifications

The title of docent can be granted to a person who has

  • A doctoral degree
  • High-quality academic research with a scope equivalent to at least two dissertations (both monographs and research articles will be taken into consideration)
  • Profound knowledge in his or her field
  • The ability to conduct independent research, as demonstrated by publications or other means
  • Good teaching skills

The Faculty Council will acquire statements on the applicant’s academic competence from two assessors, unless, for special reasons, the statements are considered unnecessary.


Docents are required to have good teaching skills. The Faculty’s teaching skills committee makes an overall assessment of the teaching skills of the prospective docent. The assessment is based on the teaching merits documented in the application documents, an evaluation of the teaching demonstration, as well as an interview.

The Faculty’s instructions for the evaluation of teaching skills


A docent must be proficient in the language, Finnish or Swedish, in which he or she provides teaching. Moreover, a docent must have at least satisfactory oral and written skills in both languages (Government Decree on Universities 770/2009).

Foreign citizens or non-native Finns may be exempted from the requirement regarding proficiency in the Finnish and Swedish languages (Regulations of the University of Helsinki, section 52).

Applying for the title of docent

You can apply for the title of docent at the university's recruitment system twice a year. Application periods are 1–31 March and 1–30 September. Note: in 2024 the first application period is exceptionally from 1st March to 2nd of April. 

Before applying, the applicant should discuss about the application and the field of the docentship with the professor of the field.

External applicants apply by logging into the recruitment system via the Apply link, first by creating an account.

Applicants with user account and either a valid employment contract, grant researcher contract, visiting researcher or visiting professor contract at the University of Helsinki apply via the Employee login link.

Required enclosures

  1. A free-form application letter addressed to the Faculty of Theology. In the letter, including his/her contact information, the applicant should specify the field of the applied docentship ("I apply a title of docent in xxx").
  2. The portfolio must be drawn up following the portfolio instructions of the University and the Faculty.
  3. An English-language list of publications. Please, use the categories defined by the Ministry of Education. N.B: The applicant should specify in the beginning of her/his publication list, (a) which publications overlap her/his doctoral thesis and how, and (b) which publications show her/his new thematical openings, showing her/his widened expertise and development as a researcher after doctoral degree. If you have any co-authored publications, you should attach a report on your contribution to each of them.
  4. Publications submitted for assessment. Publications should be submitted via recruitment system and each document should have letters DOS in the beginning of its name and be numbered as in the list of publications. The applicant's doctoral thesis should be included. Should the publication not be available in electronical form, two hard copies of the publication must be delivered to the Faculty.
  5. A document to clarify why the applicant is applying for the title of docent at the Faculty of Theology, how their academic activities are integrated into the Faculty’s research fields and co-operation, and how they plan to participate in the Faculty's activities in the coming years. 
  6. A non-Finnish Citizen should include a copy of the passport certified by two people. Copies of relevant diplomas and certificates enclosed should have an English-language translation if the original diploma/certificate is granted in another language than Finnish, Swedish or English. Diplomas and Certificates shall be enclosed to academic portfolio as instructed.

Publications submitted for assessment should demonstrate applicant’s qualifications for the docent:

  • the adequacy of scholarly publications (in quantity, the publications should be equivalent in scope to two doctoral dissertations; both monographs and research articles can be included)
  • the scope of the publications, especially with regard to the field of the docentship
  • research conducted after the doctoral dissertation contributes to new scholarly knowledge and demonstrates applicant’s development as an independent researcher

After submitting the application

After the application round has closed, the Research Committee of the Faculty of Theology considers whether the applicants seem to fulfill the qualifications for docentship so that their applications can be sent forward to be fully evaluated.

In this first stage evaluation, the Research Committee pays attention to following points:

  • academic quality of the applicant’s publications and their quantity (The recommended quantity is approximately twice the length of a doctoral dissertation, which is 250 pages without appendix. Both monographs and research articles are taken into account).
  • the scope of the publications, especially with regard to the field of the docentship
  • research activity after finishing one’s doctoral degree; the applicant should have new peer-reviewed publications by high-quality publishers  
  • new research openings after doctoral degree, widening one’s expertise and demonstrating her/his progress as an independent researcher
  • on which level the applicant is on her/his career path
  • international publications and activities
  • activity in both national and international research forums

If the requirements seem to be fulfilled, the Committee sends the application to the Department of the discipline into which the docentship is intended. If the Research Committee comes to a conclusion that the applicant does not fulfill the required qualifications, it recommends that the applicant should withdraw her/his application.

The department gives its comments on the applied field of the title and suggests two experts who could evaluate the applications. The Research Committee prepares a proposal to the Faculty Council which decides whether the applications will be sent forward to the expert evaluators. The Teaching Skills Committee evaluates applicants’ teaching skills. On the grounds of the evaluation reports, the Faculty Council decides whether it proposes to the Chancellor of the University that the applicant should be granted the title of docent.