A doctoral dissertation must consist of peer-reviewed scholarly publications or manuscripts accepted for publication, as well as a summarising report on the said documents (an article-based dissertation); or it must be a scholarly work in the name of the doctoral candidate alone and based on previously unpublished research results (a monograph). The doctoral dissertation may also take the form of another work that meets the appropriate scientific criteria, provided that the doctoral candidate’s independent contribution to it can be verified.
All doctoral dissertations should meet the following scholarly criteria and they must:
- contain new scientific knowledge,
- demonstrate critical thinking on the doctoral candidate’s part,
- demonstrate profound familiarity with the field,
- demonstrate mastery of research methods and their application,
- be scientifically convincing,
- contain justified results, and
- demonstrate scientific integrity and adhere to the ethical norms of research.
The doctoral dissertation must have a brief abstract of one to two pages, providing a summary of the dissertation and its key results. The abstract must outline the doctoral candidate’s objectives or research questions as well as the core research methods, results and conclusions.
An article-based dissertation consist of scholarly publications discussing a single group of issues as well as a summarising report written by the doctoral candidate. At the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry an article-based dissertation consists typically of 3 - 5 articles.
The summarising report of an article-based dissertation must present the background, objectives, methods, material, results, discussion and conclusions of the research. The summarising report must be a balanced work based on both the publications included in the dissertation and the research literature.
A doctoral dissertation may include not only articles that have been previously published or accepted for publication, but also articles that have not yet been accepted for publication. In such cases, the preliminary examiners must be instructed to pay particular attention to the unpublished articles. The number of articles required depends on their
b) scientific quality and significance and
c) publishing forum as well as
d) the author’s independent contribution.
The number of articles may vary between disciplines, but the number must be determined by taking into account the equal treatment of doctoral students and the target duration of four years for completing the degree. Typically, the number of articles ranges from three to five.
At least one of the articles has to be published or accepted to be published in an international referee-journal before the proposal for pre-examiners is made. The doctoral candidate must be the first author of the article.
Article-based dissertations may include co-authored publications. The doctoral candidate’s input in these must be clearly demonstrable. One co-authored publication may be used in several dissertations by different authors. To determine the doctoral candidate’s independent contribution to co-authored publications, the doctoral candidate and his or her supervisor must write a statement on the doctoral candidate’s contribution to each publication. If the co-authored publication has been used in another dissertation, this must be mentioned in the report. The doctoral candidate should deliver the report on his or her contribution also to the other authors of the publication. The doctoral candidate must deliver the report to the faculty when submitting the dissertation for preliminary examination. The report may also be included in the summarising report or an article included in the dissertation.
A monograph is a scholarly work in the name of the doctoral candidate alone and based on previously unpublished research results. Previously published texts cannot be accepted as monographs. Before completing the dissertation proper, however, the author of a monograph may publish articles on related topics and refer to these in the dissertation. The maximum recommended length of a monograph is 250 pages.
Supervisors of monographs must take particular care to ensure the quality of the manuscript before it is submitted for preliminary examination.
Dissertations other than monographs or those based on articles
The faculty council shall decide, based on a proposal by the relevant doctoral programme, on the scope and structure of dissertations that take a form different than a monograph or article-based dissertation. In such cases, supervisors must take particular care to ensure the quality of the manuscript before it is submitted for preliminary examination.