Apply for the title of docent

Upon application, the University may grant the title of docent to an applicant possessing extensive knowledge in his or her field and the ability to conduct independent research as demonstrated by publications or other means as well as good teaching skills.

A docent shall be entitled to participate in the teaching of his or her discipline, the supervision of students and the examination of dissertations and theses, as well as in other University activities as agreed on a case-by-case basis.

The Faculty Council evaluates whether the applicant fulfils the requirements for the title of docent. The chancellor of the University of Helsinki can grant the title of docent upon the proposal of the Faculty Council. 

The Faculty of Education accepts applications for the title of docent twice a year.

Next application period is September from 1 to 30, 2021.

The title of docent can be granted to a person with sufficient research skills, good teaching skills and the international experience required to supervise postgraduate students.

The specific criteria are as follows:

  •  A doctoral degree
  • In terms of publications, a general requirement for the title of docent is that the applicant has a sufficient amount of other scholarly publications which, in terms of scientific significance and scope, correspond to a second dissertation of a high standard. Both monographs and research articles are considered. For example, when considering articles and book chapters, this typically means from four to eight peer-reviewed pieces of work that are separate from the doctoral dissertation and have been published or accepted for publication, depending on the significance of the scholarly output in the applicant’s field of science as well as on the applicant’s contribution to each article. Also in the case of monographs, the significance of the work for the field of science as well as the applicant's contribution to the work, if co-authored, is of key importance. The publications must expand or deepen the research field of the applicant’s doctoral dissertation or the applicant’s scholarly research activities. International publication activities are typically required, unless the nature of the field reasonably requires publishing in Finnish and Swedish.
  • The publications must be peer-reviewed and central to the field of the docentship. In addition, the publications and other output must demonstrate the high quality and scope of the applicant’s research as well as the applicant’s ability to conduct independent research. In the case of co-authored publications, the applicant’s contribution should be indicated as clearly as possible. This must be done in accordance with the recommendations of the Finnish National Board on Research Integrity (see Agreeing on authorship. Recommendation for research publications, 2018). The applicant must either be the first author or have some other significant role in such publications.
  • If the publications make use of the same material as the applicant’s doctoral dissertation, the applicant must provide a report on the difference between these publications and the dissertation. The application can also include works not included in the doctoral dissertation and published before the public examination of the dissertation. Of key importance for the assessment of the applicant’s academic qualifications is that the applicant has published not only the doctoral dissertation, but also research with which the applicant demonstrates a publication profile that expands or deepens the dissertation research as well as the ability to conduct independent research.
  • In addition to the publications, the applicant must provide documentation of having established an independent research career, such as the acquisition of funding for the applicant’s research, leadership of projects, supervision of theses or dissertations, and active participation in international activities in the field.

If the Faculty Council (or a docentship committee in a preparatory capacity) deems it appropriate for the activities of the Faculty or the field of science to grant the title of docent, a statement is requested from two assessors on the applicant’s academic qualifications, unless this is considered unnecessary for a specific reason. In assessing the applicant’s competence, the main focus is on the quality and scope of the academic publications. The decision regarding the sufficiency of the applicant’s academic qualifications is made by the Faculty Council with the help of assessor statements.

After having received the assessors’ statements and the statement on the applicant’s teaching skills, the Faculty Council shall decide whether to submit to the chancellor a proposal for granting the title of docent. According to section 52 of the University Regulations, the chancellor can grant the title of docent to an applicant at the proposal of the faculty council.

Docents must have good teaching skills. This means, for example, the application of research-based knowledge in teaching, the development of their teaching and good interaction skills. The Faculty teaching skills committee comprehensively assesses the teaching skills of applicants for the title of docent. The assessment is based on the teaching qualifications specified in the application documents as well as on the demonstration of teaching skills. Applicants for the title of docent must give a public demonstration of their teaching skills.

Docents must be fluent in the language they teach in (Finnish or Swedish). They must also have at least satisfactory oral and written skills in Finnish and Swedish (Government Decree on Universities 770/2009). Foreign citizens or non-native Finnish citizens may be exempted from the Finnish- and Swedish-language requirement (section 32 of the University Regulations).

Applicants for the title of docent must consult a professor of the relevant discipline before the application process so as to determine the field of the docentship and settle other related issues (e.g., a sufficient quantity of publications).

According to the chancellor’s instructions, the fields associated with the title of docent must not be too limited and the field should not be specified using phrases such as “with a special focus on”. In most cases, the title should comply with the established boundaries between disciplines.

As a rule, the field of the docentship should follow the existing fields of docentships (see list below). If a new field is proposed, clear grounds why the field is relevant for the discipline and the faculty must be provided (on the e-form completed by the professor).

Adult Education
Craft Science
Early Childhood Education
Educational Sciences
History of Education
Home Economics
Learning Environments and Technology
Research Methods of Education
Philosophy of Education
Psychology of Education
School Pedagogy
Sociology of Education
Special Education
Subject Didactics
University Pedagogy

In assessing the applicant’s competence, the main focus is on the quality and scope of the academic publications. It is therefore important that the applicant prepares his or her list of publications carefully and according to instructions.

The docentship committee of the Faculty of Educational Sciences initially processes the application. If the committee supports the application, the matter is presented to the Faculty Council.

The committee may also decide not to support the application. Applicants for the title of docent are informed of such decisions and their justifications. The committee also provides the applicants with instructions for supplementing their application. Applicants may choose to have the application presented without the committee’s support, in which case the presenting official hands the matter over to the Faculty Council. If the applicant does not wish to proceed in this manner, the matter is terminated until the applicant submits a supplemented application to the docent committee. 

After the Faculty Council has decided on the assessors, the Faculty Office submits the application documents and publications to them.

The Faculty teaching skills committee must make a comprehensive assessment of the applicant’s teaching skills. The assessment is based on the teaching qualifications specified in the application documents and on the teaching demonstration. As a rule, applicants for the title of docent must give a public demonstration of their teaching skills, unless this is considered unnecessary for special reasons.

After having received the assessors’ statements on the applicant’s academic competence and qualifications as well as an assessment of the applicant’s teaching skills, the Faculty Council decides whether to propose to the chancellor that the applicant be granted the title of docent.

Applying the Title of Docent

The title of docent will be applied in e-form and the attachments should be sent to
kasv-dosentit@helsinki.fi by the closing date. Only electronic applications are accepted. Application documents must be clearly named (e.g., lastname_firstname_cv.pdf).

Applications must indicate the field of the docentship (title) and the applicant’s address and other contact details (home address, email, phone, personal identity code) as well as grounds for the application (why the applicant is requesting the specific title of docent at the University of Helsinki). In addition, applications must include information on the supervisors of the applicant’s doctoral dissertation because they cannot serve as assessors. If an applicant has questions about the title of docent, he or she should contact a professor in the discipline.

Applications must be accompanied by the following documents:

  1. Application form
  2. A curriculum vitae: The Finnish Advisory Board on Research Integrity’s template for a researcher’s (Full names, Date and place of birth, Current position and date of appointment, Education and degrees awarded, Previous professional appointments, Research awards, research honours and major stipendiary support for research, Editorial board memberships/editor, Elected memberships in scientific societies. Supervision of research work and postgraduate studies, other academic and professional activities. The CV must include information about the applicant’s proficiency in Swedish/Finnish. If this information is not included, a copy of a certificate of language proficiency is required.)
  3. A free-form assessment (max. 1–2 pages) of the prospective docent’s scientific field of research and his or her personal contribution to that field and to the Faculty.
  4. A list of publications prepared in accordance with the Ministry of Education and Culture’s classification for publications (see below). In preparing the list of publications, it is important to highlight international publications, articles included in an article-based dissertation and publications based on the material for a monograph dissertation.  The publications must be numbered.
  5. A report on teaching qualifications (only use this form) for the report, other documents are not accepted.
  6. Publications (according to the numbering in the list of publications). The submitted publications (5–10 publications) should be relevant to the intended field of the docentship and must demonstrate the following: the high quality and extensive scope of the applicant’s research (corresponding to at least two dissertations, taking both monographs and research articles into account); the extensive scope of publication, specifically with regard to the field of the docentship; the applicant’s ability to contribute to new scholarly knowledge after completing a dissertation; and his or her development as an independent researcher.

In applications the list of publications should comply with the Finnish national classification for publications issued by Ministry of Education and Culture.  

  1. A Peer-reviewed scientific articles
    Journal article (refereed), original research; review article, literature review, systematic review; book section, chapters in research books; conference proceedings
    NB. Doctoral dissertations (articles) also listed under item G.
  2. B Non-refereed scientific articles
    Non-refereed journal article; book section; non-refereed conference proceedings
  3. C Scientific books (monographs)
    Book; edited book, conference proceedings or special issue of a journal
    NB. Doctoral dissertations (monographs) also listed under item G.
  4. D Publications intended for professional communities
    Article in a trade journal; article in a professional manual or guide or professional information system, textbook material; professional conference proceedings; published development or research report or study; textbook, professional manual or guide, dictionary
  5. E Publications intended for the general public, linked to the applicant’s research
    Popularised article, newspaper article; popularised monograph
  6. F Public artistic and design activities
    Published independent work of art; public partial realisation of a work of art; public artistic performance or exhibition; model or design adopted for production/use
  7. G Theses
    Polytechnic thesis, Bachelor’s thesis, Master’s thesis, polytechnic Master’s thesis; Licentiate thesis; doctoral dissertation (monograph); doctoral dissertation (article)
  8. H Patents and invention disclosures
    Granted patent; invention disclosure
  9. I Audiovisual material, ICT software
    Audiovisual material; ICT software

For each publication, give a complete literature reference, indicating the authors and the title of the article or publication as well as the publisher.

Further information

Further information on the matters related to docentship applications: HR On-site Services Pirjo Lehtiniemi (pirjo.lehtiniemi@helsinki.fi).