Doctoral education

During your doctoral studies

This is the second page of the 3-page Doctoral student study guide. Here you will find information which is useful throughout your studies: What instructions there are for writing your thesis and conducting research in an ethically responsible manner, how supervision is and should be arranged and how you can communicate your results and build networks etc. You can find links to the other two pages of the study guide at the bottom of this page.

Doctoral student study guide is maintained by the Doctoral education services (Learning services). We use the title doctoral student in this guide. The title doctoral researcher is used in employment matters.

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Doctoral personal study plan (DPSP)

Keep your doctoral personal study plan updated. It is recommended to go through the plan with your supervising professor at least once a year. You will need to get official confirmation for your DSPS at least twice during your studies: at the beginning and before pre-examination. This is done in MyStudies (student interface); Student success hub (faculty and staff interface).

Link to instructions and templates (Beginning your doctoral studies-page)

Supervision of doctoral thesis

Sufficient and high-quality supervision based on a relationship between the supervising professor / thesis advisor and the doctoral student is a key quality factor in the doctoral training process. A shared set of university-level principles for the supervision of doctoral students contributes to the equal treatment of all students.

The supervision practices are agreed upon at the start of the doctoral studies in the form of the supervision plan, which is part of the doctoral personal study plan of the student. The supervision plan shall be updated as necessary, for example when the supervising professor or thesis advisor change.

Supervising professor is an Aalto University professor who holds overall responsibility for the degree of the doctoral student and the related supervision arrangements. The supervising professor may also be appointed to act as a thesis advisor.

Instructions for supervising professors and thesis advisors

Change of supervising professor, thesis advisor, research field, thesis topic or status

If your supervisory arrangements, research field, thesis topic or full-/part-time status change, your School must officially confirm the change. More information on full-/part-time status (aalto.fi)

Your supervising professor is responsible for your supervisory arrangements and for making sure that you have an appointed thesis advisor. Supervisory arrangements can change e.g. if the supervising professor retires or another advisor needs to be appointed.

First discuss the change with your supervising professor and then submit the application form to the Doctoral education services of your doctoral programme.

The form "Change of supervising professor, thesis advisor, research field or mode of study" is available at

Doctoral student forms (aalto.fi)

Doctoral thesis: resources and requirements

book/Photo by Anastasia Zhenina on Unsplash

Doctoral thesis at Aalto University

Resources and guidelines for doctoral students and information on doctoral theses at Aalto University.

Doctoral education

How to use Turnitin to improve and protect your doctoral thesis?

The idea of scientific writing with references and source information is to show your own contribution (new research results) in relation to what was already known.

The requirement is that you write in your own words and give credit to the authors of the sources you have utilized. Besides being a skill, this requirement is also an ethical principle. Disregarding this principle means for example unacknowledged borrowing or plagiarism. Plagiarism is not accepted in doctoral theses. You should practice skilful writing and make sure beforehand that your text is following good practices of academic writing.

It is highly recommended to utilize Turnitin in order to identify unintentional and intentional plagiarism.

How to start using Turnitin?

The most fruitful way of taking advantage of Turnitin is to use it in co-operation with your supervising professor. You can check if your supervising professor already has a workspace in MyCourses. If your supervising professor doesn’t have a workspace, they can order a ready-made personal workspace for thesis supervision.

See detailed instructions below.

Aalto University Code of Academic Integrity and Turnitin usage includes the handling procedure in the case of suspected plagiarism

Publishing research and communicating your results

Aalto University provides services, instructions and support to help researchers publish their research.

Aalto Current Research Information System (ACRIS) contains information about the up-to-date research and artistic activities of the university. This information is publicly available for everyone through research.aalto.fi portal. Keep your information up to date, showcase your expertise and use your researcher profile as an online CV!

ACRIS instructions (aalto.fi)For help, please contact [email protected].

Open access publishing

Aalto University encourages researchers to publish their research according to open access principles. Aalto University has open access agreements with several publishers, which provide you a possibility to publish your article open access without any cost to you. In addition, ACRIS and research.aalto.fi provide a free platform for green open access publishing.

Open Access Publishing (aalto.fi)Other platforms for promoting your research work and academic researcher career

  • Research Gate profile
  • Google Scholar profile
  • LinkedIn profile
  • Research group's internet page
  • Social media, such as Twitter or YouTube / TikTok video clips of your research

Data management and open science

Good research data management enables open science. Aalto University provides services, instructions and support to help researchers manage their data well. Good data management practices include e.g. ensuring safe, sufficient and backed up storage of research files and clear labeling of files to avoid confusion.

Aalto University has network of Data Agents, who are researchers specializing in research data, based at schools to help researchers with the discipline-specific challenges of research data. Aalto University also provides a broad range of training sessions in research data management and open science.

Research Data Management (RDM) and Open Science (aalto.fi)For help, please contact [email protected]

Research ethics and integrity: Responsible conduct of research

Aalto University has committed itself to follow the guidelines for ethical principles of research in the humanities and social and behavioural sciences as well as the guidelines for responsible conduct of research, both given by the Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity (TENK). In addition, Aalto Code of Conduct protects and preserves the Aalto community by clarifying what our common values require in terms of the way we operate. It is a set of standards that the Aalto community has agreed to adhere to in order to live up to our values, uphold Aalto as a community of high integrity and ethics, and ensure a high international standard of research, education and teaching that conforms with ethical principles and responsible research conduct.

LC-L1010 Research ethics for doctoral students (course)Link to TENK's guidelinesAalto University Code of Academic Integrity and Handling Violations Thereof

Mobility, networks and international courses

International mobility is a way to develop your research and build your international network. Mobility may have relevance to future employment prospects but also to developing an international career. Aalto University encourages every doctoral student to spend at least a six months period abroad during their studies.  

When you are choosing the destination, your research should be in the foreground. Which universities, conferences or research institutes benefit your research the most? Discuss your options with your supervising professor and/or advisor(s). Professors usually have personal contacts to universities and research institutes abroad.

Doctoral feedback and surveys

The following feedback is collected from doctoral students:

  1. Orientation feedback (new students)
  2. Annual follow-up: progress review
  3. Feedback from graduating doctors
  4. Career monitoring 3 years after graduation

In addition, you are asked to give feedback for the teacher on each course you take. Your doctoral programme may also ask you to participate in their feedback events or surveys.

Licentiate thesis (fields of technology & business only)

The primary target degree for our postgraduate students is the doctoral degree and new students are only admitted to study towards the doctoral degree. However, in the fields of technology and business it is still possible to complete a licentiate degree. We recommend that option in cases where the student and the supervising professor estimate that completing a doctoral thesis is not feasible for one reason or another. Licentiate degree is a way of demonstrating the competences you have acquired during your postgraduate studies, even if you would not be completing a doctoral degree.

Student who aim at a licentiate degree must also have an up-to-date Doctoral Personal Study Plan (DPSP) and studies are confirmed with the same process as when completing the doctoral degree.

Doctoral education services

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Doctoral education services

Doctoral education services team is part of Learning Services.

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Doctoral education services
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