Doctoral education

Support for challenges during your doctoral studies

During your studies you might encounter some kind of challenging situations. All members of the community have a responsibility for the atmosphere and well-being of their workplace and studying community. Check the support network of doctoral students below and scroll down to see how to proceed if you experience any type of harrasment, bullying or misconduct, or have issues with supervision.
Roles in the support network of doctoral students

Challenges with your doctoral studies?

  1. Whatever challenge you have, the primary contact is your supervising professor (=vastuuprofessori, ansvarsprofessor). You can always also discuss with your thesis advisor (väitöskirjan ohjaaja, handledare). If they cannot be of help, you can always contact the Doctoral education services of your programme and discuss how to proceed.
  2. If you want to discuss your career and life planning, and if you want to reflect what is enjoyable and challenging for you, you can apply for career coaching or contact Career Counseling Psychologist Seija Leppänen. See how to book appointment with Aalto psychologists (
  3. If you have wellbeing challenges as a doctoral student, check first Psychologist for doctoral students | Aalto University. You can also contact the health care center of the community in which you live.
  4. If you need a second opinion of something related to supervision, you can ask for “second opinion” from our ombudspersons. Check Ombudsperson for doctoral students | Aalto University
  5. If the problem is severe and the code of conduct (Code of Conduct in the University Environment (in force until 31 July 2020) - Academic policies and regulations - Into ( was not followed, first check Aalto University's instructions related to Preventing harassment and inappropriate conduct | Aalto University. If you are not employed by Aalto, the right person to contact is the manager of learning services of your school, and if the problem relates to employment, the right person to contact is the manager of human resources of your school. In some cases it might be necessary to involve them both.
  6. In some cases you might benefit from Aalto's workplace mediators to help in the situation, please check Workplace Mediation for enhancing the cooperation in teams and solving conflicts | Aalto University.
  7. Solution-focused coaching for Aalto employees: a practical way of creating a positive change related to e.g. wellbeing at work, motivation or self-leadership, with the support of a coach: Solution-focused coaching to support your wellbeing at work | Aalto University This is available also for doctoral students even if they are not employees.

Preventing harassment and inappropriate conduct

Aalto University expects its employees and students as well as any other members of the community to act responsibly and treat each other with respect. Any harassment, inappropriate treatment or bullying is prohibited. All members of the community have a responsibility for the atmosphere and well-being of their workplace and studying community.

Workplace mediation

Workplace mediation is a method in which an impartial inhouse mediator pair helps the parties of a challenging situation or conflict to find a solution that is suitable to all parties through a mediation process. The idea is that the parties of the conflict solve the conflict, create an agreement and bear responsibility for the consequences. Mediation is also a suitable tool for developing cooperation in teams/working communities especially when there is some discontent in atmosphere or negative communication. This support is available for all doctoral students.

Ombudspersons for doctoral students

Ombudspersons are voluntary professors with solid experience in academic practices whom doctoral students can contact confidentially in challenges related to the thesis work.

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People in Harald Herlin.
Blue bubbles including various sources of support and guidance for doctoral students
Roles in the support network of doctoral students

Resources for challenging situations

Often doctoral students encounter some kind of challenging situations during their studies. At Aalto University we want to offer support to solve these problems and issues. Please follow the link below for information on what kind of support is available for you and other doctoral students at Aalto.

Students studying together

Doctoral student well-being

Aalto University offers varied support services accessible to all doctoral students. There is a lot of help available for you at Aalto. Check also the community health care services. The health, safety and wellbeing of our student community is essential and is indeed one of our strategic initiatives.

Doctoral education
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