Annual follow-up of doctoral study progress

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The progress of the doctoral thesis work and the related studies are followed annually. The aim of annual reporting and the concomitant thesis committee meeting is to support and promote the progress of the doctoral dissertation and the studies as well as the completion of the degree.

The previous, more formal practice of doctoral study progress monitoring (jatko-opintojen rekisteriseuranta) has been given up. New applications for study right extensions need no longer be submitted.

To whom does the reporting apply?

Annual reporting is the duty of all doctoral researchers who have registered as attending. The annual report is submitted once each calendar year through Thessa. The report must be drawn up in good time before the annual meeting of your thesis committee, to allow supervisor(s) and thesis committee members enough time to acquaint themselves with the report before the meeting.

If you register as absent, you don’t have to submit an annual report. When you return again as an attending student, submit the report and organize a thesis committee meeting at your earliest convenience.

If you have already submitted your doctoral thesis for pre-examination, you do not need to submit an annual report.

Why is my progress monitored?

The objective of annual reporting is to follow the progress of the doctoral thesis project, to support the completion of the degree in the planned schedule, and to make sure that your supervision arrangements are in order – and, when needed, to agree on the necessary steps to bring the project back on track.

Parental leaves, long absences due to illness and other natural delays related to life situations are always taken into account when reviewing the annual reports. If your supervision arrangements are in order and the work is progressing according to your plans despite the delay, there’s no need to be concerned about the annual follow-up. Annual reporting is a checkpoint at which the University ensures that you are doing fine and have all the tools required for completing your degree.

How to submit the annual report?

The annual report is submitted through your personal Thessa profile. If needed, detailed instructions for drawing up and submitting the report are available in Thessa user instructions.

The report is drawn up before the annual thesis committee meeting. Supervisors and thesis committee members can see your report draft in Thessa, and it’s a good idea to ask them to comment on the draft already at this stage, to make sure that any possible discrepancies are cleared up before the actual meeting.

How are the reports handled?

The thesis committee discusses the report with you at the annual meeting. At the end of the meeting, your task is to write a jointly approved summary of the conclusions drawn at the meeting. The conclusions must also indicate those present at the meeting and include an assessment of the progress of the dissertation.

Saving the conclusions in Thessa closes the annual report and opens a new reporting period. Thessa will email the saved conclusions to the members of the thesis committee.

If your supervisor(s) and the thesis committee are satisfied with the report, you can continue with your doctoral studies as you were. If, however, the conclusions show that your thesis work is not progressing according to plan without an adequate reason, your doctoral programme’s steering group will, after consulting the members of your thesis committee, decide on the steps to be taken.

Depending on the situation, possible steps can include for example changes to the supervision arrangements or enhanced support measures to review the reasons behind the delay and to find the needed solutions. At this point, you might be asked to complement the report for example with an updated study or research plan.

Submitting an annual report when your supervision arrangements have dissolved

If, for one reason or another, your supervision arrangements have dissolved, you can apply for reactivating them by taking the following steps:

  1. Agree with your supervisor(s) on updating your research and study plan and on how you will continue your thesis work after the disruption. Update your annual report in Thessa together with your supervisor and include a research and study plan approved by the supervisor(s).
  2. If your supervisors don’t approve your plans or you no longer have a supervisor, update your annual report in Thessa and include an updated research and study plan. Once you’ve done this, arrange a meeting with your thesis committee – your thesis committee will then discuss the report with you and make a recommendation to your coordinating academic and the doctoral programme’s steering group on either continuing or discontinuing the project, and possible changes to the supervision arrangements.
  3. If you don’t have a thesis committee, update your study and research plan and be in touch with your coordinating academic. The coordinating academic will then bring the case to the attention of your doctoral programme’s steering group.

Does none of the above steps match your situation? If you are uncertain on how to proceed, you can always be in touch with the services for doctoral education for further advice.

What if I don’t submit a report or the requested additions?

Like all other studies, doctoral studies are expected to be goal-oriented. If your studies have been on hold for an extensive period of time, annual reporting is a good moment to show that you are again becoming more active in your studies and that you have a clear plan on how to complete your degree.

If you don’t submit an annual report, your supervision arrangements dissolve. This can also happen if you don’t submit the additional information possible requested of you, or the additional information is considered insufficient.

Even should your supervision arrangements dissolve, you can still register as an attending student if you like, and you have the right to, for example, participate in courses. In other words, you can update your expertise, develop your research plan and use the opportunity to show that, despite delays, you have the ability to complete the thesis project you have started.

What are the instructions based on?

The instructions presented on this page are based on the guidelines on supervision and study progress monitoring of doctoral researchers, presented in Rector’s decision HY/801/ and complemented in Rector's decision HY/1720/