Important information for doctoral candidates

The new degree structure applies to everyone who gain their study right after 1.8.2017. Doctoral candidates who have received their study right before this date have the option to graduate based on either the new or the old degree structure until end of July 2020. From 1.8.2020 onwards everyone will follow the new degree structure. More information on the transition period is available in Flamma.

FINDOS degree structure from August 1, 2017 onwards:

  • Doctoral thesis research work
  • Scientific content training (30 ECTS)
    * Metodology and substance training
    * National (max. 8 ECTS) and international (max. 14 ECTS) scientific activities
    * Research ethics (min. 1 ECTS)
  • Transferable skills (10 ECTS)

In addition, the new FINDOS degree structure requires the following:

  • personal study plan (0 ECTS)
  • annual thesis committee meetings and reports (0 ECTS)

E-forms for Transferring to the new degree requirements

Instructions for drafting a study plan and calculating credits

FINDOS Study guide in WebOodi

Please see also rules for transition from the degree requirements of 2014–2017 to the curriculum of 2017–2020.

More information on the transition period is available in Flamma.

More information on the Big Wheel reform in Flamma


In connection with the Big Wheel degree reform at the University of Helsinki, decision-making concerning the content of doctoral education is transferred to the curricula of the doctoral programmes. Students who obtained the right to study before 1 August 2017 can complete their degree in accordance with the old degree requirements by 31 July 2020. Starting on 1 August 2020, all doctoral candidates must complete their studies in accordance with the new, doctoral programme-specific degree requirements. Doctoral candidates can also choose to transfer to the new degree system earlier.  

All doctoral candidates who are not likely to complete their degree by 31 July 2020 are recommended to transfer to the new degree programmes. Doctoral candidates who have completed studies that will expire before the transition deadline are not recommended to transfer to the new degree system. In accordance with the Rector’s decision, studies completed under the new doctoral programme-specific requirements may not include studies completed over ten years ago. Doctoral candidates who transfer to the new degree programmes must complete their degree in accordance with the guidelines for the new degrees and studies that enter into force on 1 August 2017.  Doctoral candidates, who wish to complete their degree in accordance with the new degree requirements, must transfer before beginning the preliminary examination process of their dissertation.

Because the transition period to the new doctoral programmes is quite long, doctoral candidates are encouraged to make an unhurried transition. Before deciding to transfer, doctoral candidates must carefully read the curriculum and equivalence table of their doctoral programme (WebOodi) as well as any decisions regarding the transfer. Moreover, doctoral candidates are advised to check which studies they must complete in accordance with the new degree requirements before they can submit their dissertation for preliminary examination. It is also useful to consult one’s supervisor and/or coordinating professor and, if necessary, advisory committee about transferring to the new degree system. 

Doctoral candidates can transfer to the new degree system by submitting a notice. The binding notice of transferring is given by using an e-form.

NB! Doctoral candidates who have transferred to a new degree programme cannot return to the old degree structure.

What will change?

Below, we have listed the primary changes in doctoral education based on the doctoral programme-specific curricula launched on 1 August 2017:

  • A doctoral degree comprises a dissertation and 40 credits of studies divided into field-specific studies (30 cr) and general transferable skills studies (10 cr). However, the teaching provided by the doctoral programmes is equally available to students in the old and new degree system. Doctoral candidates do not need to have their old studies recognised in the new system or change the registration method of their studies. After Doctoral candidates have completed all their studies, the credits are included in the new modules.
  • Studies completed in accordance with the new doctoral programme-specific requirements may not include studies completed over ten years ago. This applies to all studies. Related calculations are based on the date the studies were completed or the date the last course included in the relevant study module was completed. Moreover, degree programmes may impose shorter validity periods on the studies included in the study modules they offer.
  • Studies used for a prior first- or second-cycle degree at a university or a university of applied sciences may not be incorporated into a doctoral degree completed at the University of Helsinki. Doctoral candidates must consult their supervisor regarding the recognition of other prior learning.
  • For doctoral candidates who complete their degree in accordance with a doctoral programme-specific curriculum, the scope of the studies specified in the degree diploma is restricted to the statutory scope of the degree increased by 10%. However, any studies completed at the University of Helsinki that are not included in the degree are specified in the study transcript. NB! However, doctoral candidates who obtained the right to study before 1 August 2017 and transfer to the new degree system can use all the studies they have completed up to the moment of the transfer.

The doctoral programme-specific requirements and study equivalence tables are available on the websites of the doctoral programmes and in the course catalogues in WebOodi. Doctoral candidates must also read the transfer rules available on Flamma here. Please submit any further questions to your Faculty.

The annual Thesis Committee meetings are compulsory to all new FINDOS doctoral candidates (deadline December 31).


The overall goals of the Thesis Committee (TC) are to support the doctoral candidate in scientific and other matters and to monitor the progress toward the doctoral degree.  Every doctoral candidate at the University of Helsinki is required to assemble and meet regularly with a thesis committee or a follow-up/steering group(Rector’s decision 82/2013) until the thesis defense. The sections below are aimed to 1) define the purpose of the TC, 2) provide instructions for setting up the TC and arranging, preparing for, and reporting on the annual meeting, and 3) summarize the important deadlines.

The purpose of TC work is to improve the quality of research and research training. The TC meetings are arranged annually and aim to:

  • Ensure that the project is scientifically valid and suitable for a PhD project
  • Ensure that the doctoral candidate's coursework supports the PhD project and provides the expected skills
  • Evaluate the progress and future plans of the PhD project including overseeing the timely graduation of the doctoral candidate

The committee members act as mentors to the doctoral candidate throughout the project. They both guide and support the doctoral candidate in his/her research and studies. All interactions between the doctoral candidate and the TC are to be considered confidential. All new FINDOS doctoral candidates are required to have their own TC (please see FINDOS degree structure).


The TC is typically composed of two experts, external to and not involved in the research project, thus able to bring an objective view.

The doctoral candidate suggests the external members of the TC after consultation and agreement with the supervisor. The external members must hold a doctoral degree and substantial knowledge in the field of the project. At least one external member must also hold at least the title of docent or the equivalent. In addition, the external members should be sufficiently independent of the supervisor to be able to provide critical comments on the project and progress and to support the doctoral candidate in the event of conflicts. The external members may, but are not required to, be from the University of Helsinki.


The TC meeting is held once a year until the thesis defense. Organizing the meeting is the responsibility of the doctoral candidate. The nature of TC work changes according to the maturation of the doctoral candidate. In addition to the general follow-up on the progress of the project, each meeting has its specific aims, which may vary depending e.g. on the doctoral candidate´s former studies and progress.

Following is the recommended structure:

  • Meeting 1: Forming a personal study plan together with the doctoral candidate, verification of faculty registration of the project
  • Meeting 2: Follow up on the personal study plan
  • Meeting 3 and subsequent meetings: Follow up on the personal study plan, thorough check of research results, first preliminary future career plans (labs and funding)
  • Meeting 4: Accepting the PhD project for printing, writing a statement to the faculty in support of the printing permit for the thesis where applicable, having a thorough look into postdoctoral funding or other future career plans

Arranging the meeting
Prior to the meeting the doctoral candidate prepares and sends a progress report to the TC members and supervisor(s). TC members are expected to familiarize themselves with the report in advance. The doctoral candidate, supervisor(s), and the TC members must all participate in the TC Meeting. Participation can be organized e.g. over skype to reduce travelling.

During the meeting

  • The doctoral candidate presents the current status and future plans of the PhD project, including the publication plan
  • Thesis committee members evaluate the project and progress and make suggestions
  • The doctoral candidate and the other members of the thesis committee check the courses completed by the doctoral candidate and advise the future studies to guarantee adequate knowledge of and expertise in the field
  • The doctoral candidate has the opportunity to discuss their relationship with their supervisor(s) in a brief absence (5-10 min) of the supervisor from the meeting
  • All thesis committee members indicate approval of the meeting by completing and signing the Thesis Committee Meeting e-Form

After the meeting
Based on the feedback at the meeting, the doctoral candidate revises the written progress report and sends the revised report via email to the thesis committee members and supervisor(s) and to the FINDOS Office via the Progress Report e-Form.

Writing the progress report
Please write your report in the following order. You will need to submit the report online, paper copies or email attachments are not accepted. You can first write your report in any text editor and then submit the report by copy/pasting it to the online report form. Note! You can write the report in Finnish, if you want.

  • Basic information
    Title of thesis
    Name of the doctoral candidate
    Name of the supervisor(s)
    Name of the TC members
    Thesis project started
    Thesis plan accepted (date and faculty)
    Thesis Committee Meeting date (if applicable)
    Percentage of thesis project completed
  • Progress of thesis
    Abstract (250 words)
    Aims of the studyList of methods used
    Results and future prospects
    What is the planned structure of your thesis?
    What has been the major obstacle/problem during the past year?
  • Publications
    Accepted publications (indicate if the publication will not be used for your thesis)
    Submitted publications (when submitted the original/revised version, which journal)
    Manuscripts under preparation (short description of the time table)
    List of meeting abstracts (who was the presenting author, poster or oral presentation)
  • Training (please indicate venue, organizer, date)
    International courses or workshops
    Visitor in an international laboratory (what did you learn?)
    Describe which meetings, seminars, journal clubs you attend. How often?
    Seminars held
    Other training related to your research work
    Relevant extracurricular activities
  • Grants and awards
    List the relevant grants and awards you have received

Submitting the revised progress report and the TC meeting form:

Online form for submitting the progress report:

Online form for submitting the Thesis Committee Meeting form (must be approved by all participants at the meeting):


Follow-up of the thesis project in THESSA

Information for Phd candidates who have received the right to pursue doctoral degree in 2018 or later.

First task of a new doctoral candidate is to draw up a personal study plan. A doctoral candidate and his/her supervisor may sign a supervision agreement, which will be mandatory for all doctoral candidates from August 2020 onwards. The personal study plan and the supervision agreement are made electronically in the THESSA-system for doctoral candidates and thesis supervisors.

To start using THESSA, please take the following steps:

1)      Open the website
2)      Log in with your UH user account
3)      Confirm that you are a doctoral student

To move forward to the next step and to start filling in your information to THESSA, you must first choose your supervisor from the list of UH supervisors. If you can find your supervisor’s name on the list, this means that (s)he has already logged into the system. If you cannot find your supervisor’s name on the list, please contact your supervisor and ask him/her to join THESSA. Once you and your supervisor have logged in for the first time, a connection can be made and you can start planning your studies and thesis project.

As the THESSA-system is still in a beta stage, it is only available in English. The Finnish and Swedish versions will follow later. Filling the fields is, of course, possible in any chosen language.

Phd candidates (starting 2018 or later) will only use THESSA for submitting annual thesis committee meeting reports and progress reports.

Annual reports

THESSA asks doctoral candidates to complete a report of their PhD project's progress at least once a year during the doctoral studies. The report is a snapshot of the current progress and that's why most of it can be automatically copied from the PhD project. There are however some additional fields that the doctoral candidate needs to complete. After submitting, all supervisors will be notified of the new report. One supervisor then reviews the report and either accepts it as it is or leaves review comments. The doctoral candidate gets a notification about review comments and is required to resubmit the report. Finally, the supervisor(s) accept the report. THESSA sends out reminder emails about reporting deadlines. The report's deadline is one year after the later date of either the last report or the beginning of doctoral studies.

Thesis committee and follow-up reporting

The doctoral candidate invites the thesis committee members in to sign in to THESSA during the first semester of doctoral studies

  • The members receive an email from to join the thesis committee
  • Once the thesis committee is set up, the annual progress report can be generated and submitted
  • The thesis committee members can view and comment the progress report in THESSA before the meeting
  • The thesis committee meeting approves the annual progress report
  • At the end of the meeting, the doctoral candidate submits the Conclusions & Recommendations as agreed
  • One year later, THESSA reminds the doctoral candidate to organize the next thesis committee meeting

FINDOS programme strongly encourages doctoral candidates to participate in various student activities to create an engaging and vibrant co-curricular experience. FINDOS student activities aim to develop leadership and transferable skills among the student community. Student activities include:


FINDOS Science Club is a student-led initiative that aims to develop the student’s transferable skills through meeting regularly in an informal way, networking, and working together on various activities. Engagement in such activities will have a valuable impact on both academic and social levels.

Some previous club sessions:

  • Meet Your Colleagues & Melt the Ice
    FINDOS students attended the first session of FINDOS Science club on November 26, 2014 where they gave brief backgrounds about their research interests, and they had the chance to know each other and start networking.
  • Prepare for Your International Conference
    These are lively and interactive series of interactive sessions started on 2015. Lectures cover the most important tips for good oral/poster presentations, collaboration proposals, and networking skills during international visits of FINDOS students.
  • Nordic Young Scientist Conference in Odontology (NYSCO 2016, Finland)

For more information and/or for taking part in the student activities please contact the student representative at: abdelhakim.salem(at)

FINDOS is a truly networked national doctoral programme. The collaboration benefits all parties. FINDOS Helsinki operates in the University of Helsinki, Institute of Dentistry, and it is part of the national network that consists of the units that give dental education in the Universities of Eastern Finland, Oulu and Turku. FINDOS doctoral programme also collaborates with the Institute of Biotechnology in the University of Helsinki. The Finnish Dental Society Apollonia and Planmeca Ltd. are also important partners for FINDOS.

The leadership and the responsibilies of the operation rotates between the four dental education units. In 2010-2013 the coordination was at the University of Turku, in 2014-2017 the coordination is at the University of Helsinki, and 2018-2021 the coordinator will be the University of Turku again.