Doctoral personal study plan (DPSP)
The doctoral personal study plan (DPSP) is a tool for planning and scheduling your activities and resourses in order to complete your studies and reseach, and to graduate towards the career you aim at. It is also a tool for discussing your plans with your supervising professor and for agreeing about the supervision and advising that you need.
DPSP consists of the following documents:
- Credit plan (Sisu)
- Research plan
- Supervision plan
- Financing plan
- Career plan
Update your DPSP when necessary. We recommend you to go through your plan with your supervising professor at least once a year.
If you were requested to submit some of the DPSP documents as part of your study right application, you may use the same documents as a basis for your first DPSP.
DPSP is stored in MyStudies.
Approval = requesting approval for the modules in Sisu
Confirmation = confirmation of the whole credit plan PDF
Credit plan is your plan for what kind of courses and individual studies you will include in your degree. You make your credit plan at sisu.aalto.fi. Your supervising professor is able to view your credit plan in Sisu, but the confirmation process takes place outside the Sisu system. Follow the technical and practical Sisu instructions and check out the approval and confirmation process below.
How to choose courses for your credit plan?
- Think about the skills and competences you need to complete your doctoral thesis in the topic you have chosen.
- Read your doctoral programme's degree requirements (curriculum) carefully to check out for any possible compulsory courses or recommended studies.
- Take a look at what other courses are offered for doctoral students at Aalto University and also in other relevant universities in your field, if necessary.
- Then discuss your plans with your supervising professor and modify them accordingly.
Taking courses in other universities / substituting compulsory courses
You will need to request for approval and apply for confirmation of your credit plan if you plan to take studies in other universities or substitute some of the compulsory courses.
More information about credit transer on page:
Apply for confirmation of your credit plan:
- Take a PDF or screen shot of your whole credit plan in Sisu*
- Send it to your supervising professor by email, asking them to confirm it. Please cc your Doctoral programme's Doctoral education services in the email.
*study drafts are not visible on the PDF version of the credit plan
Please note that approval for the modules of a credit plan that includes study drafts is conditional and you must request for final approval and confirmation after you have received the credits.
Final approval and confirmation at the end of studies
After all the courses you want to include in your degree are completed and registered:
- Make sure that your credit plan follows the the degree requirements (curriculum) of your doctoral programme and that it has been confirmed by your supervising professor – if you are unsure, you can contact your Doctoral programme's Doctoral education services
- Request for approval for all the modules that Sisu requires approval for (“approval required”)
If you already have previously confirmed old study/credit plan (e.g. PDF) and your Sisu credit plan’s content is exactly the same, you do not need to apply for confirmation outside Sisu, but you do need to request approval for the modules within Sisu.
Before requesting for approval of the modules, please check that
- Each course is included in the correct module (check the curriculum)
- You have added your doctoral thesis code under the module “Doctoral thesis” and it corresponds to your research field.
- There are no courses under Extracurricular studies (if there are, please remove them)
- There are no selections missing or against the rules or other error notifications in red
The research plan usually includes the following elements:
- Research aim, research questions or objectives
- Theoretical background
- Implementation: Methodology & methods
- Schedule (figure or table for four years if full-time student)
- Publication & dissemination
Template for research plan at Aalto University:
Doctoral student formsMore resources:
BIZ: Note that in BIZ, students prepare their research plan at the beginning of their second year of study.
The aim of this supervision plan is to decide on the practicalities of the supervision. The supervision plan explains the responsibilities of the supervising professor, thesis advisor(s) and of the doctoral student during the supervision process.
Financing plan is a free format document including the following information:
- Secured funding
- The source of funding
- The amount of funding
- Start and end dates of secured funding
- Plans of securing funding until the end of your studies
- Where from do you plan to apply for more?
- How much is needed?
- For how long do you need more funding?
Career plan is a free format document about your future career plans, career possibilities and goals. Use the following questions as a guide:
1) What are my interests and skills?
2) What is my personality like?
3) What are my values?
4) Which organizations, careers, and jobs would fit my skills and interests?
5) What are the key competencies and skills necessary to reach my goals and how to get training for these competencies?
6) Which languages do I need in working life in the future (eg. Finnish in Finland)? Should I take language courses during my studies?
7) Which steps will help me achieve my career goals? What kind of timeline do I plan for these steps?
You can find material for your career planning from
- Talk to a career coach and identify your next steps towards a meaningful career: Career coaching (aalto.fi).
- Book an appointment with Career planning psychologist (aalto.fi). Career counselling psychologist specializes in career management issues and supports you in career and life planning, and transition to work. Career counselling supports you in self-knowledge, building a meaningful career, identifying opportunities, and making decisions.
Confirming and storing your DPSP (5 parts)
To confirm your DPSP
- Prepare the five parts of the DPSP, discuss them with your supervising professor and revise them if necessary. Please note that some parts of the plan, such as the Supervision plan, require a discussion with both your supervising professor and thesis advisor(s).
- Upload the discussed DPSP to MyStudies as one PDF document for your supervising professor’s confirmation (Task 6 in MyStudies).*
- Email your supervising professor to inform them that your DPSP is ready to be checked and confirmed. The supervising professor will only look at the Task 6 that includes the final pdf (including all the five parts).
- Your supervising professor confirms the DPSP by saving it to the Notes. If there are issues, your supervising professor will contact you.
* New doctoral students need to first receive an email invitation to start using the MyStudies system for their DPSP - before receving the invitation you cannot submit your DPSP to the system. If you haven't received the invitation and need to confirm your DPSP, please contact your Doctoral programme's Doctoral education services.
When is the confirmed DPSPS needed?
You will need an official confirmation for your DSPS at the beginning of your studies. After that, you should confirm your DPSP
- If your supervising professor, advisor(s), research topic or research field changes.
- If your funding situation changes significantly.
- If you are taking courses in other universities.
- When you start pre-examination, you must have an up-to-date and confirmed credit plan (Sisu) and career plan.
In case you make changes to your credit plan (Sisu), please see "Credit plan (Sisu)" above.