Planning your doctoral studies

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By selecting a degree programme you are able to see the general content as well as the possible degree programme-specific content. You do not have to select a degree programme to see the Open University's instructions.

The 40 credits of compulsory studies required for a doctoral degree are planned in Sisu. The study plan need not be finished at one go: you can update your plan as your doctoral studies progress. You should, however, start drafting the plan right at the beginning of your doctoral studies. Students usually plan their studies together with their supervisor. The thesis committee may also comment on your study plan. Discuss your plan and agree on its updates with your supervisor as your studies progress and your plans become more accurate.

Study planning in Sisu

In Sisu, all digital services are built around your personal study plan. Among others, the following functions take place through the study plan in Sisu:

  • Planning of studies
  • Registering for courses
  • Applying for the recognition of credits completed at other institutions of higher education and for the recognition and validation of prior learning
  • Applying for the recognition, as part of the study plan, of content that deviates from the pre-determined degree structure (such as courses and modules completed in accordance with old degree requirements)
  • Applying for the approval of completed study modules
  • Submitting graduation requests

For your doctoral degree, draft one primary study plan and include in it all the studies that you intend to incorporate in your degree. This primary plan will serve as the tool for using the digital services relevant to your doctoral degree and the procedures leading to your graduation. If you wish, you can draft another plan if you plan to complete additional courses that you will not incorporate into your degree.

You need not complete the study plan at once. However, remember that you cannot register for courses through Sisu unless you have added the relevant course into your study plan and selected the method of completion for it.

If you include in your plan studies that you cannot register for through Sisu (such as conferences, essays, publications and research visits), ensure after the completion of these studies that they will be assessed and registered.

Getting started

  1. When necessary, study the degree structure of your doctoral programme.
  2. On the Courses page, you can browse the courses of your doctoral programme or search for individual courses using, for example, the course code.
  3. Read the technical user instructions for study plans in Sisu.
  4. Begin drafting your study plan in Sisu.

Please note that if you have completed modules and courses in accordance with old degree requirements or other credits that deviate from the pre-determined degree structure of your doctoral programme, you can apply for their approval as part your study plan in the free edit mode in Sisu. For more information, please see the Sisu user instructions for using the free edit mode and, for adding old study modules to your Sisu study plan, the instructions for registering doctoral studies and study modules.

Sisu and Thessa

Thessa serves as the key digital tool for doctoral students and their supervisors in the planning of the doctoral thesis project. Sisu is primarily used for planning, completing and assessing compulsory studies included in the doctoral degree. Data on completed studies entered into Sisu will be automatically transferred to your Thessa profile under the My Thesis Project section.

With Thessa, you can plan your thesis project, track your progress and draw up a supervision plan with your supervisors. Once a year, Thessa will ask you to draw up a report, which will help your supervisor and the thesis committee to monitor the progress of your doctoral studies. Read more about Thessa.

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