In addition to the doctoral thesis, 30 credits of scientific content studies and 10 credits of general competence studies must be completed.

For students who started before 1.8.2017
All doctoral candidates must transfer to the new degree system if they do not complete their degree before 31.7.2020.

E-forms for transition to the new requirements


The old degree requirements

Supervisors in TUHAT

More than 90 supervisors from 14 institutions are currently affiliated to FoodHealth.
FoodHealth supervisors affiliated with University of Helsinki can be found in the TUHAT database, LINK.

TUHAT list is being updated during summer 2018. Meanwhil you can find the complete supervisor list below.

For a complete list, please follow the links below.

Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Food and Nutrition

Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry, Department of Economics and Management

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Food Hygiene and Environmental Health

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Production Animal Medicine

Faculty of Veterinary Medicine, Department of Veterinary Biosciences

Institute of Biotechnology

Faculty of Educational Sciences, Department of Teacher Education

Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Social Research

Ruralia Institute

Finnish Food Safety Authority EVIRA

Finnish Safety and Chemicals Agency (Tukes)

Folkhälsan Research Center

National Institute for Health and Welfare (THL)

  • Satu Männistö, Docent
  • Anja Siitonen, Professor
  • Liisa Valsta, Senior researcher
  • Suvi Virtanen, Professor

Natural Resources Institute Finland, LUKE

University of Eastern Finland

  • Sanna Talvia, Postodoctoral researcher

Valio Ltd.

  • Sari Mustonen, Senior researcher

VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland Ltd

Each FoodHealth doctoral candidate must have a thesis advisory committee that evaluates the candidate's progress and offers the candidate support throughout his/her doctoral studies.The first meeting must be arranged within four months (first semester) after being accepted to FoodHealth after which the subsequent meetings must take place annually. Reports of the meetings must be submitted to FoodHealth in a timely manner.

The thesis advisory committee’s tasks are to:

  • ensure that the project is scientifically valid and suitable for a PhD project
  • discuss the candidate’s research plan with him or her to ensure the plan is clear, feasible and relevant,
  • give the candidate constructive feedback on the progress of his or her postgraduate studies and research,
  • issue recommendations on studies supporting the candidate’s research work,
  • evaluate the progress and future plans of the PhD project including overseeing the timely graduation of the student
  • take up problems and/or issues that need to be addressed and notify the programme coordinator of them, and
  • give the candidate constructive feedback on the progress of his or her postgraduate studies and research,
  • help the candidate plan his or her post-dissertation career.

Com­mit­tee mem­bers

University of Helsinki instructions on thesis committee members.

There are no limitations as to where the committee members come from but it should be noted that neither FoodHealth nor the Faculties can offer financial support for their travel expenses. Many FoodHealth candidates may find at least one suitable committee member from one of the governmental research institutes (e.g. EVIRA and THL). It is also advisable that at least one of the committee members is well familiar with the requirements for a PhD degree to make sure that the candidate completes the obligatory studies early on in the course of his or her doctoral studies.

While the committee members may help the candidate in conceptual matters, and - should they and the candidate's research group so choose - even engage in scientific collaboration, it should be kept in mind that they are busy with students of their own and thus cannot be expected to contribute to data analysis etc.

Thesis advisory committee meetings

  1. The first thesis committee meeting should be completed within 3-4 months after beginning doctoral studies. The purpose of the first meeting is that the doctoral candidate introduces him/herself and the research plan to the committee.
  2. Subsequent meetings with the thesis advisory committee must take place annually, although on mutual agreement they may take place more often than once a year.
  3. The candidate is responsible for arranging the meeting and he/she should start scheduling it well in advance due to the hectic schedules of researchers. It is also good to book a room for the meeting early on.
  4. Prior to the meeting the student prepares and sends the progress report to the Thesis Committee members.
    1. “Old” students who have not registered to Thessa yet: Link to the report: e-form  (Even though certain points in the instructions do not apply to a candidate that has only recently started his/her doctoral studies, the report should follow the listed points as closely as possible.)
    2. Students starting in Autumn 2018 or later: Thesis committee reporting should be made in Thessa ( See more about Thessa here.
  5. Thesis Committee members are expected to familiarize themselves with the report in advance.
  6. The Student, the Supervisor(s), and the Thesis Committee members must all participate in the TC Meeting. Participation can be organized e.g. over skype to reduce travelling.
  7. After or during the meeting, a second form is filled and returned.
    1. “Old” students: link to e-form
    2. Students starting in Autumn 2018 or later: reporting of the meeting is made in Thessa.

Dur­ing the meeting

  1. The student presents the current status and future plans of the PhD project.
  2. Thesis Committee members evaluate the project and make suggestions for the project.
  3. The student and the participants of the Thesis Committee Meeting check the acquired skills and courses taken by the student and plan the studies to guarantee adequate knowledge of and expertise in the field.
  4. Part of the meeting has to be held in the absence of the supervisor to allow for possible confidential matters to be discussed between the TC members and the student.

Thessa ( ) is a new online tool for planning and follow-up of PhD studies, and it will become mandatory for new doctoral candidates, their supervisors and thesis committees starting from Autumn 2018.

There are three main parts in Thessa: Supervision agreements (mandatory for all doctoral candidates from August 2020 onwards), personal study plans and progress reports. Progress report can be used for annual reporting and be sent to thesis committee for thesis committee meetings.

Also “old” students are welcome to join Thessa right away! Please note that in order for you to start using THESSA, your supervisor will first need to log in to the system. After your account has been activated, you can invite the thesis committee members to join. Please see ThessaHELP document for detailed instructions. You can also forward it to your supervisor(s) & TC members.

More info:
Thessa helpdesk:

Dis­ser­ta­tion com­ple­tion grant

The dissertation completion grant can be used for writing the summarising report of the thesis. In addition to the summarising report one article may remain incomplete at the beginning of the grant period. The maximum length of the grant period is three months. The grant cannot be used or applied for after the thesis has been submitted to pre-examination.

The decision about the grant will be made by YEB doctoral school. If the application has been submitted by the end of the month the decision will be made by the 21st of the following month. During Christmas and summer holidays the review process may take longer and applicants should take that into account when planning their schedule.

For further information please read these instructions.


Guidelines for the examination of doctoral dissertations

In the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry

In the Faculty of Veterinary Medicine



It is important to allow enough time for all the bureaucratical steps before and after the public examination of your dissertation. Please refer to the website of your faculty with the latest information on the steps towards graduation. In general, doctoral dissertations are discussed in two faculty council meetings before the public examination and in one after the examination. So, when planning your schedule it is good to check the dates of the faculty council meetings well in advance.

Please, note that all the courses must be completed and registered in WebOodi before leaving the thesis for the pre-examination.

In the first faculty council meeting the pre-examiners of the dissertation are appointed. After this, in the second faculty council meeting the student is granted with the permission to defend the dissertation in a public examination, and the opponent and custodian are appointed. Finally, after the defence the dissertation is approved and graded in the third faculty council meeting.

Rember also that the doctor's diploma is not issued automatically but must be requested using a form available at the faculty homepage.


YEB doc­toral dis­ser­ta­tion series

The Doctoral School in Environmental, Food and Biological Sciences (YEB) has its own series in which docotral candidates can publish their doctoral thesis. Students choosing to publish their thesis in the series will receive assistance with the cover design of the thesis and all other practical matters regarding the publication of the thesis. The thesis can also be published in other series or without a series.

More information on how to publish a thesis in the YEB series is available here.


The pub­lic ex­am­in­a­tion

When the time to defend your thesis is getting closer you should familiarize yourself with both the university and faculty instructions. In the university instructions you can find useful information on, for example:

  • preparing yourself for the public examination
  • dress code
  • lectio praecursoria
  • phrases you are supposed to say at certain points of the examination

The defence custodian will also inform you of the practical details related to the public examination.



The post-doctoral party, or karonkka, is an academic tradition that marks the end of the dissertation process. The doctoral candidate arranges the karonkka to thank the opponent, the custodian and others who have contributed to the work. In addition to them, the invitees to the post-doctoral party should include professors working in the field of the dissertation and others who have aided in the dissertation work. Nowadays, doctoral candidates may invite friends and family along with members of the academic community to this party.

You can find information on the karonkka traditions at the University of Helsinki in here. The site gives useful tips on things such as:

  • invitations to the party
  • dress code
  • seating arrangements
  • programme of the party

It is also a good idea to talk with your friends who have defended recently and ask them for advice. The doctoral programme coordinator may also give some tips.

And lastly, a few things to consider. Towards the end of the spring and autumn term there will be more and more doctoral candidates defending their theses. Furthermore, during summertime there are weddings and before Christmas there are Christmas parties. Thus it is good to book the lecture hall as well as the banquet facility well in advance.

While searching for a banquet facility you might find the City of Helsinki meeting planners' site and the GoExperience site useful. In some places you are allowed to organise the catering as you like, while in some you must get the dinner from the facility. If the catering is unrestricted, you can ask around for a good catering company or google for one. Some banquet facilities may also be able to recommend catering companies.

Once the menu is finalised you may go to Alko with it to get tips on wines to go with the food. The staff knows their wines very well and can also help you on deciding how much you need.

If you want to follow the old karonkka traditions your guest of honor, the opponent, should be seated on your right and the custodian on your left. Your primary supervisor should be seated to the second chair on your right and possible other supervisors to the second chair on your left, to the third chair on your right etc. If the pre-examiners of your thesis attend the karonkka they should be seated after the opponent and the custodian in which case the supervisors are seated to the following chairs on the right and left.

For the speech it is a good idea to write yourself a little list of people you want to thank. Giving the speech may be a very emotional moment and an important name might slip out of your mind. Reserve a handkerchief for yourself too as tears are not a rarity in karonkkas.

It is a custom to tinkle a glass with a spoon to let people know you are about that start your speech. You should start your speech by first thanking and proposing a toast to your opponent and then to the custodian, followed by your supervisors and others you wish to thank. You may also give a little gift to the opponent, the custodian and your supervisors. The opponent, the custodian and your supervisors will reply in the same order you mentioned their names. Many people will reply to you but some may choose not to do so.

Good luck with everything!


Since the founding of the doctoral programme in 2014 more than 30 doctoral candidates have graduated from FoodHealth. Below you can find all FoodHealth dissertations and the date of defense.


Yujie Wang, 1 June 2018
Role of lipids and phytate in oxidative stability of cereal beta-glucan

Asmo Kemppinen, 27 April 2018
Chromatographic and Mass Spectrometric Determination of Molecular Species of Short-Chain Triacylglycerols in Butterfat

Göker Gurbuz, 23 March 2018
Investigations on protein-lipid interactions under oxidative conditions

Yulong Bao, 16 March
Protein oxidation in meat: Effects on texture and water-holding

Tuuli Koivumäki, 3 March 2018
Whey protein oxidation: LC-MS investigations of peptide markers

Abdul Ghafar, March 2 2018

Xia Yu, 19 January 2018
Characterization of Lactobacillus pili and the niche-adaptation factors of intestinal Lactobacillus ruminis


41. Noora Mäkelä, 10 November 2017
Cereal β-glucan in aqueous solutions: Oxidation and structure formation

40. Anna Murros, 27 October 2017
Identification and characterization of yersinia from food and environmental sources

39. Sara Kovanen, 22 September 2017
Molecular Epidemiology of Campylobacter jejuni in the Genomic Era

38. Sini Forssell, 15 September 2017
Perspectives into the sustainability promise of alternative food networks

37. Taneli Tirkkonen, 16 June 2017
Porcine mycobacteriosis caused by Mycobacterium avium subspecies hominissuis

36. Essi Päivärinta, 12 May 2017
Cloudberry (Rubus chamaemorus) and its components as chemopreventive constituents in ApcMin mice and human colon adenocarcinoma cells

35. Tuija Kantala, 28 April 2017
Presence of hepatitis E virus (HEV) and markers for HEV infection in production swine, human patients with unexplained hepatitis, and veterinarians in Finland

34. Katja Selby, 24 March 2017
Growth temperature variation and heat stress response of Clostridium botulinum


33. Bhawani Chamlagain, 25 November 2016
Fermentation fortification of active vitamin B12 in food matrices using Propionibacterium freudenreichii: Analysis, production and stability

32. Tiina Läikkö-Roto, 11 November 2016
Enhancing the efficacy of local official food controls in finland

31. Outi Nyholm, 4 November 2016
Virulence variety and hybrid strains of diarrheagenic Escherichia coli in Finland and Burkina Faso

30. Satu Tähkäpää, 28 October 2016
Challenges in implementing food safety legislation

29. Xin Huang, 30 September 2016
Metal-catalysed oxidation of cereal prolamins for gluten-free applications

28. Qiao Shi, 29 September 2016
Synthesis and structural characterization of glucooligosaccharides and dextran from Weissella confusa dextransucrases

27. Riina Tolvanen, 2 September 2016
Control of Listeria monocytogenes in the food industry

26. Jiao Liu, 29 June 2016
Denaturation of myofibrillar and sarcoplasmic proteins in pale, soft and exudative-like meat: Effects on water-holding

25. Katariina Rommi, 10 June 2016
Enzyme-aided recovery of protein and protein hydrolyzates from rapeseed cold-press cake

24. Satu Olkkola, 3 June 2016
Antimicrobial Resistance and Its Mechanisms among Campylobacter coli and Campylobacter upsaliensis with a Special Focus on Streptomycin

23. Janne Huovila, 16 April 2016
Tapauskohtaisuuden taju - Julkisen ravitsemusymmärryksen yksilöllistyminen ja ravitsemusasiantuntijuus 2000-luvun mediateksteissä

22. Susanna Heikkinen, 29 January 2016
Biodegradable films from cereal arabinoxylans


21. Ann-Katrin Llarena, 14 December 2015
Population genetics and molecular epidemiology of Campylobacter jejuni

20. Aino-Maria Immonen, 27 November 2015
Essays on emotional influences in consumer food choice: Understanding emotional intricacies in consumers' price vs. ethicality trade-off decisions, and perceptions of genetically modified food products

19. Matthew Omoruyi, 6 November 2015
Mutagenic and oestrogenic activities of commercially processed food items and water samples: a comparison between finland and Nigeria

18. Jose Martin Ramos Diaz, 30 October 2015
Use of amaranth, quinoa, kañiwa and lupine for the development of gluten-free extruded snacks

17. Suvi Suurnäkki, 25 September 2015
Anatoxin-a and odorous metabolites in cyanobacteria: molecular detection of the producers

16. Hairan Ma, 11 September 2015
Role of chemical and enzymatic modifications of milk proteins on emulsion stability/properties: Approaches for more stable protein emulsions

15. Carolin Kolmeder, 28 May 2015
Metaproteomics of the Human Intestinal Tract to Assess Microbial Functionality and Interactions with the Host

14. Riitta Rahkila, 8 May 2015
Taxonomy and diversity of coccal lactic acid bacteria associated with meat and the meat processing environment

13. Annelie Damerau, 28 March 2015
Oxidative stability of solid foods with dispersed lipids

12. Yagmur Derman, 2 February 2015
Stress response of group i and ii clostridium botulinum

11. David Kirk, 30 January 2015
Alternative sigma factors F, E, G, and K in Clostridium botulinum sporulation and stress response

10. Eveliina Palonen, 9 January 2015
Sequence variability of virulence genes and stress responses in Yersinia pseudotuberculosis


9. Jonna Jalanka, 5 December 2014
Characterization of Intestinal Microbiota in Healthy Adults and the Effect of Perturbations

8. Zhen Zhang, 28 November 2014
Characterization of neurotoxin gene location, toxigenesis and cold tolerance in clostridium botulinum

7. Kevin Deegan, 22 November 2014
A novel pre-treatment for cheese production: Biochemistry, sensory perception and consumer acceptance

6. Katja Hätönen, 24 October 2014
Challenges in measuring glycaemic index

5. Maria Rönnqvist, 24 October 2014
Noroviruses on surfaces: Detection, transfer and inactivation

4. Maija Marttinen, 24 June 2014
Dietary plant sterols and stanols from enrichment: Effects in an experimental model of colon cancer and intake in the Finnish population

3. Laila Seppälä, 11 April 2014
Domestic apple cultivars: Sensory descriptions and consumer responses

2. Minnamari Edelmann, 7 March 2014
Occurrence and natural enhancement of folate in oats and barley

1. Sonja Virtanen, 21 February 2014
Epidemiology of Yersinia enterocolitica on pig farms.

Minisym­po­sia prior to doc­toral de­fence

FoodHealth encourages doctoral candidates to organise a minisymposium prior to their doctoral defence and provides funding for it on the condition that the candidate - not the thesis supervisor - takes the main responsibility of organising the event.

The topic of the minisymposium must be wider than the title of the candidate's PhD thesis and be of general interest. The minisymposium must be at least a half-day-event with 3-4 presenters. The speakers of the minisymposium may include, for example, the defence opponent, dissertation pre-examiners and other scientists working in the field of the minisymposium.

The maximum sum of the funding is 1000 € per symposium and it can be used for speakers' travel and accommodation expenses as well as for the symposium coffee service. Planning officer of FoodHealth or coordinator of YEB Doctoral School can help with the arrangements if needed.

Funding for a minisymposium must be applied at least six weeks before the planned symposium date. To apply, please send the doctoral programme planning officer ( a free-form application with the following:

  • The title of your PhD thesis
  • The title and a short description of the minisymposium including its scientific relevance
  • A tentative list of invited speakers and the topic they are asked to cover in their talk (the exact titles of the talks can be decided later on)
  • A budget for the minisymposium including the speakers' travel and accommodation costs

After funding is secured you should book a room for the symposium and advertise it. An advertisement should be delivered to the planning officer who will post it on FoodHealth's homepage and to relevant email-lists.


Lists for doc­toral can­did­ates

All FoodHealth doctoral candidates should join the Foodhealth-mail1(at) mailing list, which is used to advertise FoodHealth's activities as well as to distribute information relevant to PhD candidates. Another relevant mailing list is the YEB doctoral school list. Also, consult your supervisor for other relevant mailing lists to join.

To subscribe, send an e-mail to majordomo(at) Leave the subject-line empty and in the message field write subscribe Foodhealth-mail1 (or yeb-doctoralschool). Please note that you must use your email address or other official address (,, ect.) to join the list. Addresses like are not allowed.

The Foodhealth-mail1 list is a closed list. This means that all list subscriptions must be approved by the FoodHealth coordinator. After the coordinator has approved your subscription you will get an email from majordomo asking you to confirm your subscription. Only after that you will become a member of the list. Only list members are able to post messages on the list.

To unsubscribe the list send an e-mail to majordomo(at) and write in the message field unsubscribe Foodhealth-mail1 and nothing else. Please note that you should send the email from the same address that you joined the list with.

List for su­per­visors

Supervisors are encouraged to join the Foodhealth-list(at) list. To subscribe, send an e-mail to majordomo(at) Leave the subject-line empty and in the message field write subscribe Foodhealth-list. You are welcome to join the list even if you are currently not supervising a FoodHealth candidate.