Tenure track evaluation criteria

Aalto Tenure Track is a standard career advancement path, providing a transparent and consistent process with common rules throughout the university, its schools and departments. Aalto Tenure Track follows the general guidelines and principles set at the university, such as the Code of Conduct, HR policies, and responsible researcher evaluation (the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment, DORA).

Recruitment or advancing in a tenure track career takes place on the basis of comprehensive assessment of merits and is made on the recommendation of peer experts. Merits are evaluated in three dimensions: research and/or artistic and professional work, teaching, and impact and service.
Aalto tenure track evaluation criteria


In the evaluation processes, we always follow the principles of responsible evaluation, learn more here.

Recruitments and tenure and advancement reviews are always based on holistic peer evaluation, in which the evaluation criteria include the quality of research/artistic work, teaching, and impact/service. The weight of different criteria may vary at different career levels. The same criteria are used for both recruitment and advancement reviews at all levels.

Tenure track evaluation takes place through the following dimensions:

  • Research and/or artistic and professional work,
  • Teaching, and
  • Impact and service (Demonstrated contribution in outreach and dissemination, societal contribution, development of the field and academic leadership)

The criteria are described in more detail in the Aalto Tenure Track Policies and Procedures -document.


Assistant Professors

  • When recruiting for the first term assistant professor positions, the evaluation is mainly based on the potential of the candidate.
  • When recruiting or advancing to the second term assistant professor positions, the evaluation is based on demonstrated merits and potential.


Associate and Full Professors

Candidates recruited or advancing to the level of associate or full professor must have high academic merits, be of first rank among distinguished members of their discipline, and must show a continued contribution to academic research.

According to the Aalto tenure track policy, the minimum requirements for reaching tenure are:

  1. Excellence in research and/or artistic work and high-quality teaching, and/or
  2. Excellence in teaching and high-quality research and/or artistic work.

If a professor has a doctoral degree from Aalto University or its predecessor, the tenured position usually requires that the professor has worked at another university or research institute for at least one year after the doctoral degree or has otherwise acquired similar experience.


The following criteria are considered key criteria when reviewing a candidate for tenure and determining excellence in either research/artistic work and/or teaching:

When recruiting or reviewing a candidate for advancing to full professor level, in addition to the key criteria mentioned above, the following factors are also considered::

  • International recognition as a scholar in the field
  • Continuous success in acquiring competitive funding
  • Contributions to developing the field or discipline

In general, candidates for full professor are expected to have increasing contributions to impact and service, for example, including the following activities:

  • Demonstrated contribution to the development of the relevant academic field nationally and/or internationally
  • Demonstrated contribution to academic service and leadership at the university, school, and department level
  • Ability to nurture a new generation of successful researchers

For candidates in the tenure track, both tenure and advancement reviews focus mainly on merits achieved since the previous review.

For more detailed descriptions of evaluation processes and criteria, see the Aalto Tenure Track Policies and Procedures document.

Teaching Competence Assessment

The candidate’s teaching competence is assessed in academic recruitments as well as in advancement reviews. The assessments are carried out by the teaching competence assessment committee of each school. The committee follows these guidelines (including an assessment matrix) in their assessments.

Please note that the teaching assessment is a holistic process that evaluates the teaching ability, maturity, and potential as a teacher and teaching and learning developer. Please note that competence can be demonstrated in many ways. Therefore, numerous examples are presented in the matrix, so that we can better understand the many possible ways to demonstrate competence

In the section Guidelines for a candidate you can find help to write or update your teaching portfolio.

Language requirements for tenure track

Candidates are required to be fluent in English in order to perform their duties. A foreign citizen may be appointed to a research or teaching position without demonstrating proficiency in the Finnish or Swedish languages.

School-specific criteria

In addition to the Aalto wide criteria described above, each school may have additional field specific tenure track criteria:

At work

Tenure track

Aalto University’s tenure track career system offers a well-supported and clear career path for professor-level academics towards a permanent professorship.

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Human Resource (HR) services contact details

Contact details to Human Resources (HR) services for Joint University services as well as for HR units at Schools and Departments.

This service is provided by:

HR Services

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