History and insignia

The Conferment is a three-day celebration, the finest in the academic world, where PhDs get to celebrate their degrees. Only by attending the conferment ceremony do they also receive the right from the faculty to wear the marks of their academic rank: the doctoral hat in the faculty's color and the doctoral sword.
The long history of conferments

The tradition of conferments dates back to the 1100s at the University of Bologna and arrived in Finland in 1643. The firstc conferment ceremony at the Faculty of Law a law faculty took place in the then-capital Turku in 1650. The Conferrer was the Chancellor of the University, Count Per Brahe the Younger, and there were only two doctoral promovendi. Since then, the Faculty of Law has organised graduation ceremonies sporadically, although in recent decades the pace has picked up considerably. The previous conferment at the Faculty of Law took place in 2017.

At the Faculty of Law, conferments have always been exclusively for doctors. So, unlike in some other faculties at the University of Helsinki, there have never been any master promovendi.

The hat

The hats of doctors at the University of Helsinki's Faculty of Law are a specific dark red that is the official color of the Faculty. 

The front of the hat is decorated with the faculty's emblem, which features a wreath with a crossed sword and an "oath rod" (valasauva).

It is not possible to attend the graduation as a doctoral promovendus without the doctoral hat and sword. Honorary doctors will receive their hats as a gift from the faculty.

Both the doctor's hat and the sword are required during the compulsory training on Thursday 15 June 2023. The hats and swords will be left at the university for the promotion the following day. Everyone must clearly attach their names to their own hat and sword (including borrowed swords)!

The sword

In Finland, the only official civilian sword is the doctor's sword designed by Akseli Gallén-Kallela. No military sword, foreign doctor's sword or sword made for any other purpose may be used as a sword. The sword must bear the emblem and engraving of the University of Helsinki (name of the doctor and date of the doctorate or the Conferment Act). The date of the Conferment Act will be 16.6.2023.

It is not possible to participate in the ceremony as a promovendus without the faculty's doctoral hat and the sword. Honorary doctors are gifted a sword by the faculty. 

Glossary for the Conferment

Marshal (or herald)

Young students assisting the Master of Ceremonies and Head Marshal. Their duties include guiding guests and standing as honour guards. You can recognize them by a broad ribbon worn over one shoulder and a white student cap.

Master of Ceremonies

The Master of Ceremonies is responsible for making all ceremonial aspects of the events go smoothly.

Honorary doctor

The Faculty will also be conferring honorary doctorates in the Conferment Ceremony. An honorary doctorate may be awarded to anyone that the Faculty deems to have deserved the honour, regardless of their prior educational background.


A companion of a doctor promovendus. Despite their name, they do not have to sharpen swords.


An official of the Conferment Ceremony chosen by the Faculty. The officiants are the Conferrer, the Master of Ceremonies, and the Head Marshal.

Prima / primus doctor

The doctor who has written the best doctoral thesis is called the prima doctor (female) or primus doctor (male).

Conferment Act

Promovendi are conferred in the Great Hall of the University during the Conferment Act, which is the main event of the Conferment.

Conferment Committee

The board responsible for organising the Conferment Ceremony, composed of Faculty staff. The committee is led by the Conferrer.


The Conferrer confers or bestows the academic status of master or doctor to the promovendi. The highest-ranking person in the Conferment Ceremony.

Promovendi (pl.), singular promovendus

A Doctor of Laws who will have their rank bestowed upon them in the Conferment Ceremony.

Jubilee doctors

Doctors who took part in the Conferment Ceremony (or graduated from the Faculty) 50 years ago will be conferred the rank of jubilee doctor.


The doctor promovendi with the second best dissertation is called an ultima doctor (female) or ultimus doctor (male).

Head marshal

The head marshal is, together with the Master of Ceremonies, responsible for all events proceeding smoothly, and is in charge of the marshals.