As of 1.8.2017 a doctoral degree at the Doctoral Programme in Chemistry and Molecular Sciences (CHEMS) consists of:

  • a doctoral dissertation
  • scientific studies (at least 30 credits), and
  • studies in transferrable skills (10 credits).

The scientific studies (at least 30 credits) consist of discipline-specific studies supporting the thesis research work as well as a course in research ethics. Compulsory courses in this module are: Research Ethics (DONAS-401) and CHEMS Seminar (CHEMS-001), 1-2 credits. An optional course is Book exam (CHEMS-002), 1-6 credits.

The requirements for transferrable skills studies are common to all programmes of the Doctoral School in Natural Sciences and consist of

  • courses in different skills related to academic work (at least 4 cr; codes DONAS-1** or PED-5** or other suitable courses)
  • international activity and mobility (1-4 cr; codes DONAS-2**)
  • societal communication and organising tasks (codes DONAS-3**).

Information on degree structure in CHEMS can be found from the WebOodi. More information on the degree structure is also available on the Univeristy's general website on doctoral education.

Instructions for doctoral candidates on transferring to new degree structure (more detailed information can be found on Flamma).

Instructions for successful Thesis Committee Meeting

The purpose of the Thesis Committee work is to improve the quality of research and research training. The committee members act as mentors to the doctoral candidate throughout the project, and support the doctoral candidate in his/her research and course work.

The Thesis Committee meetings are arranged annually and aimed to:

  • 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
  • take up problems and/or issues that need to be addressed and notify the programme coordinator of them, and
  • help the candidate to plan his or her post-dissertation career

Thesis committee members

The Thesis Committee includes at least two external members. They must fulfil the  following criteria set by the CHEMS board:

  • Thesis committee members must hold a doctoral degree and substantial knowledge in the field of the project
  • at least one external member must hold the title of docent or the equivalent
  • the members of thesis committee may come outside the University of Helsinki
  • should not be currently involved in the thesis project
  • do not have joint research projects with the doctoral candidate or close collaboration with supervisor within the last three years
  • cannot be an employer or an employee or a family member of the supervisor or the doctoral candidate
  • a thesis committee member cannot act as a thesis reviewer or as an opponent of the same candidate

A signed letter of the proposed members of thesis committee must be send to doctoral programme

Meetings and reporting

Before the first meeting register to Thessa follow-up system . More about using Thessa from here.

The Thesis Committee Meeting is held once a year until the thesis defense. Organizing the meeting is the responsibility of the doctoral candidate. Prior to the meeting the doctoral candidate prepares the PROGRESS REPORT in Thessa, and sends it to the Thesis Committee members and supervisor(s) at least two weeks before the annual meeting. Thesis Committee members are expected to familiarize themselves with the report in advance. The doctoral candidate, supervisor(s), and the Thesis Committee members must all participate in the 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
  • Thesis Committee members evaluate the project and make suggestions for the project
  • 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 Thesis Committee members and the doctoral candidate
  • based on the feedback at the meeting, the doctoral candidate revises the progress report in Thessa two weeks after the meeting


All interactions within the Thesis Committee are to be considered confidential. Part of the meeting is held in the absence of the supervisor to allow for possible confidential matters, or issues where the supervisor and the doctoral candidate may have conflicting views to be discussed between the Thesis Committee members and the doctoral candidate.

Follow-up of the thesis project in THESSA only for for Doctoral candidates who have received the right to pursue doctoral degree in July 2018 or later

WHY THESSA During 2018 all doctoral programmes at the University of Helsinki will start implementing Rector’s decision 801/2017. In practice this means that doctoral candidates who receive the right to pursue a doctoral degree in one of the DSHealth doctoral programmes in July 2018 or later are required to use THESSA (, an online tool used for planning and following up PhD studies . THESSA can be accessed with University of Helsinki login credentials or with the non-university login for those coming from outside UH. THESSA is easy to use and will not require much time to set up. Log in to the system and check the Help-page first for instructions. Before registering, contact your supervisor and the thesis committee members and let them know the instructions. This way they can expect receiving email notifications from THESSA. Please note that THESSA sends automatic email notifications that may end up in the junk mail folder. 

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.


1. Supervision plans

The supervision plan is a set of decisions made face-to-face between the doctoral candidate and the supervisor(s) to make sure that the progress of the thesis project is as smooth as possible. The plan is created with the supervisor's account and the doctoral candidate (and the potential other supervisors) sign the plan.

2. PhD project

The PhD project is a place for doctoral candidates to plan the thesis project's parts and keep track of progress. The parts include for example publications, courses and funding. These can be stored in THESSA and accessed by the supervisors. A benefit of keeping track of the progress is that it reduces the load of writing the annual report as most of the content can automatically be copied from the PhD project to the report.

3. 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.


  1. The supervisor signs in to THESSA at (also available for supervisors outside the University of Helsinki)
  2. 2. The doctoral candidate signs in THESSA at
  3. 3. The doctoral programme admin approves the doctoral candidates THESSA-account
  4. 4. The supervisor receives an email from to verify the doctoral candidate’s account

NOTE! THESSA requires that the doctoral candidate has at least one supervisor at all times. The doctoral candidate will need to find and choose the supervisor(s) in THESSA. Supervisors cannot choose doctoral candidates. In this way THESSA protects unauthorized access to the doctoral candidate's information: doctoral candidates are themselves the gatekeepers. Information about the supervisory arrangements can later be edited at the Profile page. After signing in and when the doctoral programme has approved the account, the doctoral candidate can start using the “My PhD project” section in THESSA


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

List of supervisors attached to CHEMS, grouped by research fields

Department of Chemistry

Faculty of Pharmacy

Department of Physics

Faculty of Biological and Environmental Sciences

Chemistry Teacher Education

Students in the new degree system

This form can be used for the registration of study modules for doctoral students who are completing their degree according to the new degree structures (40 ECTS).

Students in the old degree system

This form is used to register the study modules completed for the doctoral degree according to the previous study requirements (min. 60 credits). Fill in two forms (discipline-specific and general competence studies) with the studies you want to incorporate to your doctoral degree and give them to your responsible professor or responsible person of your studies. He/she revises and accepts the study modules. The signed forms are submitted to If you need help with filling in the forms, please send e-mail to

On 26th October 2017, the steering board of CHEMS decided to award University funded doctoral candidate positions to the following applicants:

  • Kajsa Roslund, for a period of 4 years
  • Outi Haapanen, for a period of 2 years
  • Valtteri Suorsa, for a period of 2 years

The steering board congratulates the successful candidates, and wishes to thank all the applicants.