Grading the dissertation

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After the public examination and the submission of the required statements, the Faculty Council will approve and grade the doctoral dissertation on a scale of fail, pass and pass with distinction (please see Assessment of the quality of doctoral dissertations and instructions for grading). The statements provided by the opponent and the grading committee will be used as the basis for grading. However, the grading decision made by the Faculty Council is not bound by the grading committee statements.

Grading of doctoral dissertations by the Faculty Council

Dissertation grading statements comprise a statement by the opponent and a grade proposal made by the grading committee. Both the opponent’s statement and the grade proposal must comply with the assessment criteria for doctoral dissertations provided by your home faculty. The statements must assess both the quality of the dissertation and your success in defending it at the public examination. Before the public examination, the opponent and members of the grading committee will receive the preliminary examiners’ statements, which they will also take into consideration when assessing the dissertation.

The opponent and the grading committee must submit their statements to the doctoral student services of your home faculty no later than two weeks after the public examination. After receiving them, student services will submit the statements to you for your information. You have the right to submit written objections to the statements before the Faculty Council makes a decision on the grade of your dissertation.

The council will base its decision on the grading statements, but the decision is made independently from the submitted grade proposal. As a rule, doctoral dissertations approved at the University of Helsinki receive the grade pass. In the case of dissertations that are exceptionally meritorious and ambitious in light of all of the assessment criteria, the grade may be pass with distinction.

You will receive notification of the Faculty Council’s decision after the meeting.

If you are dissatisfied with the grading of your doctoral dissertation, you have the right to appeal in writing to the Academic Appeals Board within 14 days of the receipt of the grading decision (Section 64 of the Regulations on Degrees and the Protection of Students’ Rights at the University of Helsinki).

Doctoral thesis awards

The University annually acknowledges doctoral theses of outstanding merit. In addition to scientific merit, the award grounds take into account the impact of the work in the relevant scientific field, as well as its social impact. The awards are each worth 4000 euros. Read more about previous recipients of the awards on the university's external website.

Further information

Instructions and guidelines concerning the examination and grading of doctoral dissertations are based on Rector’s Decision 498/2017 (Preliminary examination and approval of doctoral dissertations as well as general dissertation criteria at the University of Helsinki).