Doctoral courses and curriculum
Choosing your courses
Plan your courses in your Credit plan (called study plan in Sisu) (more instructions: Doctoral personal study plan DPSP).
The credit plan template in Sisu is structured according to your curriculum. It automatically offers you a list of courses offered by your doctoral programme (or at least the compulsory courses, if your programme requires any). This is why you should create your credit plan for the curriculum period in which you started your doctoral studies (or the current curriculum period, if you wish to follow the current requirements).
At Aalto University, curriculum is planned and confirmed for two academic years. Each doctoral programme has it's own curriculum, which lists the compulsory and optional courses that are offered and/or accepted to be included in the degree, i.e. the degree requirements.
Researcher and transferable skills courses
Responsible conduct of research
Scientific community & working life skills
Philosophy of Science
Aalto University Teacher Services (Learning Services, LES) offers pedagogical courses to support pedagogical skills of faculty members. Doctoral students who are engaged in teaching and are interested in developing their own teaching, can apply to the courses.
Courses marked with FINDOCNET* are independent online courses, where students complete the course readings and assignments on their own and then report to the teacher to get the credit. Some of these courses also include online workshops.
- If you have agreed with your supervising professor to include this course to your doctoral degree, add it to your credit plan in Sisu (usually under General Research Studies). You don’t need to register for the course in Sisu, and you can complete the course even if it would not be included in your degree.
- Request for the enrollment key and further instructions from [email protected].
- Login to the course platform at https://findocnet.fi/ with your Aalto ID (choose Haka and then Aalto University) and use the enrollment key to access the materials.
- After completing the course, inform course teacher Minna by emailing [email protected]
- You will receive the credits after four weeks of having informed Minna.
List of all independent Findocnet-courses offered to doctoral students at Aalto University:
- Open Science for Doctoral Students, LC-L1011 (1 ECTS)
- Business Skills for Doctoral Students, LC-L1012 (1 ECTS)
- Career Course for Doctoral Students, LC-L1013 (1 ECTS)
- Interactive Leadership Skills for Doctoral Students, LC-L1014 (1 ECTS)
- Project Management for Doctoral Students, LC-L1015 (1 ECTS)
- Writing Research Grant Applications for Doctoral Students, LC-L1016 (1 ECTS)
- Theory of Science, LC-L1020 (1 ECTS)
Training in Research Data Management and Open Science
We offer free and open to all training in research data management and open science.
Language and communication courses
These courses are typically included in the General Research Studies -module of your degree.
CHEM, ELEC, ENG and SCI: LC-1350 Writing Doctoral Research for Engineering and Science (w), 3 ECTS
For all doctoral students
- LC-1330 Presenting Doctoral Research (o), 3 ECTS
- LC-1335 Preparing for the Doctoral Defense (o), 1 ECTS
- LC-1336 Popularize your Research (o,w), 1-3 ECTS
- LC-L1017 Asiantuntijaesittämisen valmennus jatko-opiskelijoille D, 3 ECTS
- LC-L1018 Tutkimusraportoinnin tekstiretriitit jatko-opiskelijoille, 3 ECTS
- LC-L1019 Tutkimustiedon yleistajuistaminen, 5 ECTS
Clinics and mentoring
- Tutkivan työn ja tutkimusraportoinnin mentorointi
- Writing Clinic (Individual writing tutoring to help you learn how to plan, organise, write and revise academic papers)
- Speech Clinic (offers help and guidance to those who seek feedback, tips, or simple guided practice with experienced communication coaches on almost any aspect of academic-style presentations and speeches. Speech clinic is offered in English and in Finnish.)
- Workshops for writing the summary part of article thesis
Courses from other Finnish or foreign universities
- Find a suitable course
- Discuss with your supervising professor & include the course as a study draft in your credit plan in Sisu
- Apply for the course through the procedure of the University offering the course (for Finnish universities, see below) and follow their schedule
- If accepted, complete the course and apply for credit transfer in Sisu, please see instructions at Credit transfer: inclusion of studies from other universities.
Doctoral courses in Finland
Eight Finnish universities have partnered to offer doctoral courses to their students. University of Eastern Finland, University of Jyväskylä, University of Lapland, LUT University, University of Oulu, Tampere University, and Åbo Akademi. Check the application information below.
If you are interested in courses that are not listed at doctoralcourses.fi or in courses from other Finnish universities, you may benefit from the national flexible study rights agreement (JOO) which allows Aalto's students to apply for taking courses in other Finnish universities. Check out the application information for courses in other Finnish universities.
Unite! is an European University alliance of innovation, technology and engineering. It has nine partner universities, who offer courses to Unite! member universities' students. Check out the courses at Unite! metacampus platform.
Nordic Five Tech
Nordic Five Tech is a strategic alliance of the five leading technical universities. Find courses offered by these universities at N5T website.
Credit transfer: inclusion of studies from other universities
You can include studies from other universities in your degree, if you have agreed about it with your supervising professor in your Sisu credit plan. After completing the course, apply for inclusion of the course in Sisu. Note that you need a transcript of records from the university in which you completed the course.
Credit transfer is only possible if you have received study credits from another university, displayed on a transcript. If you have not received official credits (often in the case of summer schools or seminars), include the studies as individual studies, see more below.
First step is always to discuss with your supervising professor and get their approval.
Before taking studies in other universities, include them in your Sisu credit plan as study drafts, in order to later include them in your doctoral degree.
If you have already completed courses suitable for your doctoral degree (in Finland or abroad), you need to include these courses in your Sisu credit plan, agree on the plan with your supervising professor and then apply for credit transfer. See below for more instructions.
Any prior studies completed at Aalto are already automatically displayed in Sisu and can be included in your Sisu credit plan without applying for a credit transfer.
After completing courses suitable for your doctoral degree elsewhere (in Finland or abroad), you need to apply for inclusion of theses studies in your degree in Sisu.
- Update your Sisu credit plan if necessary. In order to transfer the credits to Aalto, the courses transferred need to be included as study drafts in the degree studies in your Sisu credit plan, max 40/60 cr (not in the extracurricular studies).
- Apply for inclusion in Sisu
- Attach to the application a screenshot of your Sisu credit plan (including the whole plan for the required 40/60 ECTS) so that the content of the study drafts and possible individual study attainments are clearly visible on the screenshot.
- Attach to the application a transcript of records and a description of the completed course.
Sisu instructions: Substitution and inclusion of studies on SisuThe transcript of records must be either digitally signed or marked with a stamp of the issuing university or school. If you have completed studies in another Finnish university or university of applied sciences, you can also use the My Studyinfo service (https://opintopolku.fi/oma-opintopolku/) to share information of your completed studies with the administrative staff at Aalto University. Go to My Studyinfo, create a sharing link, save the link in a file and add the file to your credit transfer application. If you have completed studies through the flexible right to study (JOO) scheme in an university that uses the Puro service for transferring credits, you can use Puro to apply for credit transfer (https://puro.joopas.fi). Note: you still have to submit a separate credit transfer application on Sisu. In your application, state that you have used the Puro service to request credit transfer. Also note that a screenshot from the My Studyinfo or Puro service is not an acceptable transcript of records.
The course description of the completed course must be from the time they were completed (e.g. from a study guide published at the time). For example, to claim credits for a course taken in 2020, you need to provide the course description as it was in 2020. It is not enough to include a link to the whole study guide of that year: you must include a description of the course contents in your PDF-format application. Do not include the whole study guide, only the pages containing the information relevant to your application.
If the course credits received do not follow the Europen credit transfer system (ECTS), please include the university's explanation of the course scope in comparison to ECTS credits.
Individual studies (custom course credit)
In addition to courses, doctoral studies often comprise of credits completed individually, e.g. through conference presentations, summer/winter schools, publications/productions (not included in your thesis), literature reviews on reading packages etc. Such custom course credits are always approved and granted by your supervising professor.
- Check your doctoral programme's curriculum to know if and how many custom course credits can be included in your degree.
- Discuss with your supervising professor what kind of individual studies you would need.
- Include the planned individual studies in your credit plan in Sisu as study drafts. Note: In case of individual studies, the Institution where you plan to gain the knowledge to be filled out in Sisu in the study draft is always Aalto University.
Sisu instructions: Credit plan (Sisu) for doctoral students: Study draftsThe supervising professor decides the amount of credits to be given for each individual study attainment (check your curriculum for possible restrictions). 1 ECTS is equivalent to roughly 27 hours of work. Please note that any work cannot be compensated multiple times: if e.g. a conference paper will be included in the thesis, it is not possible to get credits from it.
Note that you should NOT combine study attainments; each attainment should be registered individually. For example, if you have written three articles, and your supervising professor will give one ECTS for each, you should apply for a custom course credit for each of them separately. Half credits cannot be registered, only whole numbers of credits. Only if the attainment is worth 0,5 ECTS, it is acceptable to combine attainments, so that the ECTS amount is a whole number.
If you have individual studies that have been completed and registered before Sisu was in use, you can add them to your cerdit plan just like any regular courses you have completed, by using the Add to the plan -function on the right side of your study plan.
For those individual studies that you have completed, but which have not been registered (i.e. you have not received credits for them in Sisu/Oodi), you need to
- Fill out the Custom course credit form and get your supervising professor's confirmation and evaluation.
- Apply for a custom course credit in Sisu, either through an existing study draft or directly, if you haven't previously made a study draft of this individual study (see link to technical Sisu instructions below).
- Attach the Custom course credit form to the application in Sisu.
First, check your doctoral programme's curriculum to know if and how many custom course credits can be included in your degree.
Here are examples of the type of individual studies and how to fill out their information in Sisu and on the custom course credit form.
|Type of study attainment||Information needed||Example of what to write|
|• Name of the school/workshop
• City, Country
|• International Summer School on Machine Learning, University of Tottenham, 2 - 15 July 2020, Tottenham, UK
• Winter School on Something, 17 - 26 January 2019, Paris, France
• Workshop on Complex Systems, 1 - 5 July 2019, Aalto University, Finland
• If the name of the seminar doesn't imply it's nature, please begin with "Summer
school: / Workshop: /Seminar: " and follow with the name and other information.
|Journal articles and conference papers which
will not be included in the thesis
|• Authors’ surnames, initials(s)
• Year of publication
• Title of the article/paper
• Name of the journal , Volume, page numbers or
• Name of the conference
• Place and Dates of the conference
• Journal article: Laiho L. & Sirenius, M. (2020) ‘Title of the article’, Name of the journal, 20:5-18
You can use your research
|Self-study (book or literature
exam/report/review/essay or other
• Authors’ surnames, initials(s)
• Year, edition
• Title, edition
• Place of publication: Publisher
• Number of pages
|• Book exam: Belbin, M. (2010) Management Teams: Why They
Succeed or Fail (3rd edition), UK: Butterworth Heinemann. (Note: mark page numbers if exam was not on the whole book: Chapters 1-2/pp. 25-425
• Book review: Anslyn, E.V. and Dougherty, D.A. (2006) Modern Physical Organic Chemistry. UK: Thomson Learning
• Self-study: Studying the course material of Reinforcement Learning
of University College London and completing programming
assignments related to the course material
• Report on literature package on Sustainable design.
|Peer review of scientific papers||• Quantity of papers read
• Theme, topic
|• Peer review of three scientific papers on the topic
of aqueous-phase reforming.
|Presentation of research work at scientific
conferences (poster, presentation)
|• Title of presentation
• Name of conference
• Dates of conference
• City, Country of conference
|• Poster and presentation “Title of the presentation”, ICPF Conference on Computer Science, 12 – 14 March 2017, Berlin, Germany|
|Co-supervision/ guidance of B.Sc. theses, special
assignments, or M.Sc. theses
|• Type (MSc/BSc thesis, special assignment)
• Title of the thesis/topic of the special
• Name of the student
• Year of completion of the thesis/assignment
|• Academic supervision: Master's thesis advisor
(Carbon Dioxide Methanation for Intensified
Reactors, Irene Coronado Martin, 2015)
• Academic supervision: Bachelor’s thesis advisor
(Carbon Dioxide Methanation for Intensified
Reactors, Irene Coronado Martin, 2015)
• Academic supervision: Special assignment
(Carbon Dioxide Methanation for Intensified
Reactors, Irene Coronado Martin, 2015)
|Teaching / planning and implementing a new course||• Type of work done
• Name and code of the course
• Timing (dates/periods/autumn/spring year)
• Organisation where done if not in Aalto
|• Acting as a course assistant on course Machine
Learning CS-E3210, Autumn 2020
• Planning and implementing course XYZ-999 Marketing Design, X University of Applied Sciences, Autumn
• Teaching course ABC-123 Building Structures, Autumn 2020
Please note: The student needs to also give the date of the study attainment*, the language, the proposed number of credits and the study module in which the study attainment is included.
The supervising professor decides on the credits given and the grading.
* Date of the study attainment can be for example:
- last day of the summer/winter school
- date of submission of an essay/report
- date when all duties regarding the MSc thesis/special assignment have been completed
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Doctoral personal study plan (DPSP)
Doctoral students plan their studies and research by using the five parts of the DPSP.