Supervision and annual reports

The rights and responsibilities of both you and your supervisor(s) will be detailed in a supervision plan that is drafted at the start of you doctoral studies.

Your supervisor will have some basic responsibilities towards you and your thesis project. These can include for example meeting to discuss your work, reading and commenting on drafts and being available to answer your questions and enquiries within a reasonable timeframe. Your supervisor is there to provide you with expertise in your subject area, to guide and support you and to give you feedback. The basic responsibilities of the doctoral candidate can in turn include for example sticking to the planned working schedule, adequate preparation for the joint meetings and answering the supervisor’s enquiries within a reasonable timeframe.

Each doctoral candidate in the University of Helsinki has one “main supervisor” and other possible supervisors. In addition, if your main supervisor is not employed by the University of Helsinki, you will need another “responsible person” from within the university to be a part of your supervisory team.

The annual progress of the doctoral candidate is evaluated through a progress report. In the report the doctoral candidate details the progress of his/her research project, course work and other activities, such as international conferences, within the previous year. The report and the annual thesis committee meetings (please see below) are important tools for the supervisors, thesis committee and the doctoral programme to keep updated on the current status of the thesis project. For more information, please see the respective doctoral programme’s website.

All University of Helsinki doctoral candidates have their own Thesis Committee. 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. They both guide and support the doctoral candidate in his/her research and course work. All interactions between the doctoral candidate and the Thesis Committee are to be considered confidential.

The Thesis Committee meetings are arranged annually and aim to:

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

The Thesis Committee consists of at least two experts with the necessary academic qualifications to assess the progress of dissertation work and who are impartial in relation to the supervisor(s) and the doctoral candidate at the committee's appointment stage. At least one expert must hold the qualifications of a docent. The Members of the Committee are suggested by the doctoral candidate and accepted by the doctoral programme. A membership in the Thesis Committee is a position of trust, aiming to guide the doctoral candidate throughout his/her thesis project.

The Thesis Committee Meeting is held once a year until the thesis defense. Organizing the meeting is the responsibility of the doctoral candidate. The nature of Thesis Committee 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. After the meeting, the doctoral candidate will write a short summary of what was discussed.

For more information on the Thesis Committee, please see the respective doctoral programme’s website.