Degree structure and study requirements

Overall scope of studies required for pursuing a doctoral degree is 30 ECTS, including:

The degree must include studies in the discipline and field of research in question, mainly at the advanced level of studies and supporting the research efforts. The studies may also include courses from other faculties,  doctoral degree programmes and universities, including summer schools, seminars, book exams, conference presentations or other work, where these support the research efforts. Students are encouraged to take at least two months to conduct part of their work at a university abroad, a sector-specific research institution or a  company. The main supervisor assesses the relevancy of completed work from the perspective of the studies as a whole.


A doctoral dissertation can be a scientific account based on independent research, which is regarded as increasing knowledge in the field in question (a monograph). A doctoral dissertation can consist of a sufficient number, determined by the university, of scientific publications discussing the same set of problems (article-based or compiled dissertation). They can be either published or intended/accepted for publication, and they are outlined in a separate summary.

Within the faculty, the structure of an article-based or compiled doctoral dissertation is as follows:

  • a doctoral dissertation in the form of a collection of research articles typically contains 3-5 peer-reviewed scientific articles, of which at least two or at least 50% must have been published or approved for publication in international, scientific peer review series;
  • the dissertation must include an account of the author's contribution to joint publications.

More information: Requirements for Doctoral Dissertation and Licentiate Thesis (UEF)

When your thesis is ready and you have taken all required courses, it is time for public defence and graduation. Before graduation you need to apply for a printing permission for your thesis. With the same form, your supervisors will propose pre-examiners for your thesis. Instructions for applying the permission and publishing can be found below. Instructions for organizing the defence can found in the Internet pages of the UEF Doctoral School.

Postgraduate Study Plan

Doctoral student must submit a personal doctoral study plan to the Faculty Administration Office (Kaisa Laitinen, kaisa.laitinen(at), tel. 050 432 7573 in Joensuu, or in Kuopio to Anna-Leena Nylund, anna-leena.nylund(at), tel. 040 355 2882) within 3 months after receiving the study right. The study plan is written under the supervision of the subject's professor and other supervisors. The plan should include the following information: studies included in the degree and their modes of study along with a preliminary timetable. Also visits abroad are mentioned in the study plan. The meaning of the study plan is to ensure that the courses and the research form a good completeness and that the student is really able to complete the studies and research within four years.