Instructions for pre-examiners (School of Business)
General quality requirements for doctoral theses at Aalto University
- A doctoral thesis shall contain new scientific knowledge in the field it represents.
- The doctoral thesis must present the new results clearly and in a manner meeting the criteria set for scientific texts.
- The independent contribution of the doctoral student shall be sufficient and clearly demonstrable.
- The research methods used shall fulfil the criteria set for scientific research.
- A doctoral thesis shall conform to the principles of responsible conduct of research and adhere to ethically sustainable principles.
Forms of theses
The dissertation for a Doctor of Science (Economics and Business Administration) degree or Doctor of Philosophy (Economics and Business Administration) degree can be a monograph or an article or essay-based dissertation.
The scope and general quality requirements of doctoral dissertations follow the instructions and guidelines decided by the University Academic Affairs Committee on 1 December 2015.
A monograph is a coherent writing based on the work of the doctoral candidate and written by the candidate. The monograph may contain references to previous works by the candidate on the same topic.
The doctoral dissertation describes the research problem, the research goals, the used methods and results, and presents a summary of the key findings. The summary shall assess the significance of the study for the discipline.
A doctoral thesis based on articles must include a thesis summary and at least three articles, with two being scientific articles published or approved for publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals and one being an article published in some other scientific series.
In the summary, the doctoral candidate presents the scientific problem of the thesis, the goals of the research a review of the subject, and the research methods, materials and findings of the research.
In the above‐mentioned publications and the summary, the candidate shall treat a single problem or set of problems in a way that corresponds to the dissertation requirements. Each publication shall be examined separately to determine whether it includes new results or new points of view on the research question.
If the articles have not yet been published, the student has to present a signed letter of acceptance from the editor‐in‐chief of the publication series.
The articles shall be based primarily on the doctoral candidate’s own research.
At least one of the articles published or approved for publication must be written by the doctoral candidate alone.
Joint publications may also be approved as parts of an article-based doctoral thesis if the doctoral candidate made a distinct and independent contribution to them. The candidate's contribution must be apparent from the articles and he/she must present an acceptable written account in which each author’s contribution is attested. The statement must be signed by the contributors. The candidate presents the account(s) when requesting permission for his/her preliminary examination, and the account(s) is delivered to the preliminary examiners.
Joint studies in which the doctoral candidate's contribution cannot be demonstrated may not be included as part of the doctoral dissertation.
The statements of the preliminary examiners shall indicate whether the summary and the separate publications constitute a coherent whole and whether the contribution of the doctoral candidate to the joint publications otherwise meets the dissertation requirements so that it can be defended publicly as the doctoral candidate's own thesis.
A doctoral thesis based on essays shall include at least three scientific essays and a summary in which the doctoral candidate presents the scientific problem of the dissertation, the goals of the research, a review of the subject, and the research methods, materials and findings of the research.
In the essays and the summary, the candidate shall treat a single scientific problem or set of problems in a way that meets the requirements set for dissertations. Each essay shall be examined separately to determine whether it includes new results or new points of view.
An essay-based doctoral thesis that includes joint essays shall comprise at least three scientific essays. Of these three, at least one essay shall be written by the doctoral candidate alone.
The separate studies shall be based primarily on the doctoral candidate's own research. Joint essays may be approved as parts of an essay-based doctoral thesis if the doctoral candidate made a distinct and independent contribution to them. The doctoral candidate's contribution shall be apparent from the essays. In requesting his or her preliminary examination, the doctoral candidate must present an acceptable written account of his or her contribution to the joint research and a credible statement by the other contributors to the joint essay attesting their contribution to it. These accounts will be delivered to the preliminary examiners. Joint studies in which the doctoral candidate's contribution cannot be demonstrated may not be included as part of the doctoral thesis.
The statements of the preliminary examiners shall indicate if the summary and the separate essays constitute a coherent whole, and if the contribution of the doctoral candidate to the joint essays otherwise meets the thesis requirements so that it can be defended publicly as the doctoral candidate's own thesis.
Instructions to Examiners for Evaluation of Doctoral Thesis
Preliminary examiners must submit their signed statements within six weeks of the arrival of the official request for statements.
The preliminary examiners submit a statement to the Doctoral Programme Committee on whether they consider the study to conform to doctoral dissertation standards. If so, at the end of the statement the examiners must state clearly that it is their recommendation to grant permission for public presentation.
The preliminary examiners may discuss any changes or corrections to the dissertation research during the preliminary examination. Communication between the preliminary examiners and the doctoral candidate is the responsibility of the major subject professor(s). However, the preliminary examiners do not act as supervisors of the dissertation research. Their statements cannot be conditional on proposed changes or corrections to be made.
Payment to preliminary examiners for their work is made by the doctoral candidate’s department after the signed statement has been received by the planning officer of the Doctoral Programme.