Sisu instructions: Doctoral students' study plans

The instruction belongs to the following themes

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.

Before you begin to draw up a study plan, please read the general instructions for planning doctoral studies.

For doctoral students, the creation of a study plan is a two-step process:

  1. To create a study plan in Sisu, select the tab Structure of studies. A completed study plan will list all the studies you need to complete in order to graduate.
  2. Select the method of completion on the Study calendar page. The completion method can be, for example, participation in teaching or independent work. You can simultaneously transfer detailed information on the date, time and place of teaching to your calendar if this information is available.

You can then register for teaching in Sisu.

Take the following into account when drawing up your study plan

  • You cannot use your phone or tablet to draw up your study plan; instead, you must use a computer.
  • You need not complete the study plan at once. It is sufficient that you include in the plan those courses for which you wish to register.
  • You can create one primary study plan that applies to your right to study. You can only submit study-related applications and graduate according to your primary study plan.
  • If you have several study plans, remember to check once in a while that you are editing the correct plan. The Timeline tab automatically opens the most recently edited study plan under the Structure of studies tab.
  • You must always select the method of completion before registering for teaching to ensure that your completed credits are accurately displayed in your study plan. If you have not selected a method of completion, the credits will not be displayed in your plan.

Primary study plan – what does it mean?

You can create one primary study plan that applies to your right to study. If you have been granted more than one right to study, create a separate plan applying to each. If you have created only one study plan, this will automatically be your primary plan. You can verify whether a study plan is the primary one from the Structure of studies tab. An icon with the text Primary plan can be seen next to the study plan heading.

Screenshot: primary study plan

If you wish to have another study plan as your primary plan, click on the button with three black dots in the upper right corner of the Structure of studies page. Select the option Select as the primary plan.

When selecting your primary study plan, carefully consider your options. Sisu includes several functions which you can only perform with your primary study plan and which you cannot move to another study plan. Such functions include the following:

  • Creation of new content or content that deviates from the predetermined structure of the study plan
  • Graduation requests and graduation
  • Requests for the recognition of prior learning and related decisions
  • Applications for an extension of the right to study and related decisions

Creating, printing and deleting a personal study plan

Creating a study plan

  1. Start creating a plan in Sisu by clicking on Structure of studies in the black bar at the top.
    Screenshot: Structure of studies
  2. Then click on New study plan at the top of the Structure of studies page.
    Screenshot: New study plan button
  3. From the pop-up menu, select the My educations tab. On this tab, select the study plan template that applies to your right to study. If you have several study rights, the Learning opportunity drop-down menu will display a list of all study plan templates that correspond to the rights to study that you have been granted.
  4. Next, select the curriculum period from the drop-down menu if your degree programme offers several options. Usually, you should select the template for the year in which you began to study.
  5. If you wish, you can name your study plan. The default name is My study plan and the date of creation. If you create several plans, you should name them clearly. This will help you select the correct study plan later on.
  6. Finally, click on Create a plan at the bottom of the pop-up window. Your new study plan will open and be ready for editing.

Screenshot: pop-up window create new study plan

Printing a study plan

You can print your study plan on paper or save it as a PDF file. The print will display the status of the study plan as well as scheduled and completed studies. Note that for the time being, study drafts are not displayed in print-outs. 

Click on the button with three dots in the upper right corner of the study plan. Select Print plan from the drop-down menu. In some browsers, a grey pop-up window will automatically open, allowing you to select the printer and printing settings.

If no such window pops up, you can open one by clicking on the Print button in the top right corner of the study plan that you wish to print. If you wish to return to the edit mode, click on the button Go back to structure in the top right corner of the page.

Deleting a study plan

First, open the study plan that you wish to delete. Then click on the button with three dots in the upper right corner of the study plan. Select Delete plan from the drop-down menu. A pop-up window will appear asking you to confirm that you want to delete the plan. A deleted study plan will be permanently erased and cannot be retrieved.

The Delete plan option in the drop-down menu may be in grey font and cannot be selected. This means that you only have one study plan in the Sisu system. In such a case, you must create at least one new study plan to be able to delete the plan.

Editing a study plan

Your pre-completed study plan will list all the modules and courses that you need to complete in order to graduate. Optional selections have their own sections in the study plan, which, however, contain no pre-filled modules or courses. Sisu marks the courses that you have completed with a laurel wreath icon and includes the grade. A completed course will be displayed in Sisu within 24 hours of the time the teacher has completed its assessment in the system.

Here is how to open your study plan for editing:

  1. Under Structure of studies, select the study plan that you wish to edit. You can change the study plan you wish to edit by clicking on the study plan heading.
    Screenshot: structure of studies
  2. Open the study plan structure by clicking on the heading. Note that the circular button in front of a heading opens an accordion menu that may be empty.
    Screenshot: editing the study plan

Compulsory studies

The structure of a doctoral degree can include two types of compulsory studies. Compulsory courses that you must complete include a doctoral thesis in your discipline. The icons of compulsory courses are automatically displayed in your study plan and you cannot remove them. You can substitute a compulsory course for another when:

  • You have completed the course in question under a different code, in accordance with previous degree requirements.
  • You are given permission to substitute the course for studies you have completed at another higher education institution.

For additional instructions concerning substitution, please see the sections Adding missing course credits to the study plan and Creation of new content or content that deviates from the predetermined structure of the study plan.

Compulsory sections of the study plan refer to parts in which you must select a course or courses to complete in order to graduate. You can make the selections related to a compulsory section using the selection assistant.  Here is how:

  1.  Open the selection assistant by clicking on the heading of the compulsory section. Next to the heading is the text Selections missing.
    Screenshot: compulsory studies
  2. Carefully read the instructions in the upper section of the selection assistant.
  3. Click on the appropriate buttons to activate them.
    Screenshot: selection buttons
  4. Once you have made all the necessary selections, the text Selections complete will be displayed next to the heading of the compulsory section.
    Screenshot: selections done

Optional selection

The study plan template for your doctoral degree may include sections in which the text optional selections is displayed next to the heading. Here you can select the sections you wish, provided that you achieve the minimum credit requirements (40 cr) for your degree. How to make optional selections:

  1. Open the selection assistant by clicking on the heading of the appropriate section.
  2. Carefully read the instructions in the upper section of the selection assistant.
  3. Click on the buttons of the courses you wish to complete so as to activate them
    Screenshot: optional selections
  4. Once you have made a sufficient number of selections, the text Selections complete will be displayed next to the heading of the section.
    Screenshot: selections done

Adding missing course credits to the study plan

It is possible that some of your previous studies are not automatically displayed in your study plan. If that is the case, you must enter them in the plan separately.

Under Add to the plan at the left-hand side of the Structure of studies page, you can find all the courses that are not included in your study plan. By clicking on the arrows, you can move courses to the sections of your study plan to which you can add studies of your choice. Similarly, if you delete a course from your study plan, you can then find it among the courses listed under the Add to the plan bar. However, courses you have already added or that have been recognised for another study plan cannot be found under the bar. 
Screenshot: adding missing courses

If you wish to substitute a compulsory course with a previously completed course (e.g., a course completed under a different code, in accordance with previous degree requirements), verify from the course brochure whether the course you have completed is indicated as a substituting course. This type of substitution need not be submitted for approval. For detailed instructions about substitution, see Course brochure.

If the course you have completed is not indicated in the brochure as a substituting course, you can apply for separate approval to add the credits. This can be done using Sisu's free edit mode.

Creation of new content or content that deviates from the predetermined structure of the study plan

New content or content that deviates from the pre-determined structure may include the following:

  • Studies to be completed during a student exchange
  • Studies completed in another Finnish higher education institution
  • Studies completed at the University of Helsinki in accordance with the old degree structure, which for some reason or another are not displayed in your study plan

You can add new content or content that deviates from the pre-determined structure of the study plan in two ways: either in the free edit mode or by creating a study draft (the latter option is rarely needed for doctoral students). 

Use the free edit mode when
  • You wish to add a course completed or recognised at the University of Helsinki.
  • A course you wish to add to your plan has been previously entered into your records as completed credits.
  • You cannot add a course to the desired section of your plan.

NB! Before making changes under the free edit mode, check whether substitution information on the relevant course has been entered in the section of the plan where you wish to add it. You can find this information on the Substitutions tab of the course brochures. For detailed instructions, see Course brochure.

Create a study draft when
  • The studies are to be completed or have been completed in a university other than the University of Helsinki, for example, during an exchange period abroad or in another Finnish institution of higher education.
  • The credits have not yet been recognised by the University of Helsinki.

See detailed instructions for planning exchange studies in Sisu.

 

Course brochure

Each course in a study plan has its own code. By clicking on the code, you can access the relevant course brochure.
Screenshot: access to course brochure

Course brochures contain three tabs:

  • The Info sheet provides a general description of the course, including information on the course content and dates.
  • The Completion methods tab indicates the course completion methods, which may include lectures, online examinations or a hybrid course. Select the method of completion after you have first drafted a timetable for your studies under the Timeline tab. This enables you to conveniently find the courses that you entered in the timeline now under the Study calendar tab (see item Study calendar in these instructions).
  • The Substitutions tab provides a list of substituting courses, if any. If you already have completed or intend to complete a substituting course (e.g., at the Open University), click on the button next to the substituting course. The substitution is now displayed in your study plan, replacing the icon of the original course. You can cancel the substitution by clicking the icon with two arrows pointing in opposite directions.

Screenshot: course brochure

 

Course search feature

Sisu offers you two search functions for looking for courses. The simpler function is the selection assistant that opens on the Structure of studies tab. A more sophisticated search function is available from the top bar, under the Search tab.
Kuvakaappaus Sisun käyttöliittymästä.

Searching for courses using the selection assistant 

When you are on the Structure of studies page, you can use the search function of the selection assistant. The selection assistant enables you to search for courses and add them directly to your study plan. The selection assistant will display the search field only if it is possible to add any studies to the section that you have opened on the Structure of studies page. If you select any courses when doing a search, these will simultaneously be added to your study plan.

On the Structure of studies page, first click on the name of the section that allows you to add any studies. The selection assistant will open on the right side of the study plan. Below the text Add to the plan, you can see a search field where you can search for and add individual courses to your study plan.
Screenshot: add to the plan

Searching for courses and study modules on the Search page

It is recommended that you use the Search page when you wish to search using filters. The filters available on the Search page include the language of learning, the method of completion and the teaching period, among others. If you wish, you can also browse courses offered by other universities in the Sisu system. Note, however, that you cannot register for courses offered by other universities without the relevant right to study.

NB! Do not register for instruction through the Search page. You must always first add your chosen course to your study plan and select the method of completion under Study calendar.

Basic search

You can use the search field to search for courses with their name or code. For example, if your search term is ‘world’, the search will find all courses with a title in which the word ‘world’ appears. By clicking on the text University of Helsinki in smaller font next to the heading, you can open a drop-down menu. If you wish, you can select another university from the Sisu network and browse courses on offer.

Kuvakaappaus Sisun käyttöliittymästä.

Filtering search results

On the right-hand side of the search field, you can see the Filter button. By clicking on this button, you open a drop-down menu where you can select a suitable filter, such as the language of learning. By clicking on one of the available filters, you can open a small menu displaying the relevant filtering options.
Kuvakaappaus Sisun käyttöliittymästä.

When you have made your selections, click on OK. The search criteria that you selected will now be displayed below the search field. If there are more results than what Sisu can retrieve, the notification Too many results, please specify your search will appear. In such a case, specify the text you entered in the search field or add more filters by clicking on the Filter button.

Study calendar and selecting completion method

On the Study calendar page you can:

  • Select the method of completion for each individual course.
  • Export the details concerning the dates, time and location of teaching sessions and examinations, etc., to the Study calendar.
  • Register for the course or exam

Kuvakaappaus Sisun käyttöliittymästä.

NB! You must select a method of completion for a course in order to have the credits correctly displayed in your study plan. If you have not selected a completion method, the course credits will not be displayed correctly in the plan or your transcript of studies.

NB! If you select independent work as the completion method, you must first agree on this with the course coordinator (usually your supervisor). Once you have completed the relevant studies, ask the course coordinator to have the credits recorded.

To the right of the study calendar, you can see a black sidebar with the following three tabs:

  • The Teaching not selected tab lists those courses in your plan for which you have not yet selected teaching, examinations or other methods of completion.
  • On the Enrolment tab, you can see the teaching and examinations you have already selected.
  • The Finished and discontinued tab displays teaching that has ended or that you have discontinued. You cannot re-enrol for a discontinued course.

Here is how to select a completion method and add information to your calendar:

  1. First go to the Teaching not selected tab and open the course brochure of your choice by clicking on the course code. If you can currently select teaching, you can alternatively click on Continue to selections under the course icon. If the Continue to selections button is not displayed, you can click on the course code.
    Screenshot: continue to selections
  2. In the table, click on the completion method (e.g., Method 2) of your choice for completing the course. Then click on the Select this completion method button further down on the page. The method of completion is confirmed when this button reads Selected. Finally, select the teaching, examinations, etc., relevant to the selected completion method by clicking on the Select buttons on the right-hand side of the page. NB! When you click on the Select buttons, the method of completion is confirmed and the course is included in your study calendar. You have not yet registered for the course!
    Screenshot: select this completion method
  3. Close the course brochure and click on the Enrolment tab. Here you can export the teaching details to your calendar and enrol (i.e., register) for the course. The teaching, examinations, etc. relevant to your selected completion method are displayed as individual icons. An icon will open and the course timetable will appear when you click on the circular button with the > symbol. Instructions on how to register for teaching and exams can be found here.
    Screenshot: arrow symbol
  4. You can also include personal appointments in your study calendar by clicking on the rectangular Add your own note button at the top of the page, to the right of the Study calendar heading. A pop-up window will appear where you can add the details of your personal appointment.
    Screenshot: add your own note

When to create a new study plan?

Changing study plans is not a decision to be taken lightly because it is possible that some applications, decisions and comments related to your old study plan will not be moved to a new study plan. In some rare cases, a new primary study plan needs to be created. Even if that is the case, the previous primary study plan should be retained and, perhaps, renamed. However, in most cases it is sufficient that you update a section of your study plan. You can do this by changing the version of that section.

A new study plan?

If you create a new primary study plan, you must, in practice, start the study plan process from the very beginning. You must make the necessary selections and deal with the applications and decisions concerning content that deviates from the predetermined structure as well as modules that require separate approval. Any comments entered in your previous study plan will not be moved to the new plan. In most cases, you should update your old plan rather than creating a new one. It is worth considering the creation of an entirely new study plan in the following cases:

  • You have had a long break from studies.
  • Your old plan does not correspond to the current situation.
  • You have completed almost none of the studies required for your degree.
  • Your plan includes no content that deviates from the predetermined structure and no modules that require separate approval.
  • Studies based on your old plan can no longer be completed (e.g., the transition period associated with an old curriculum is coming to an end).
  • You wish to explore your options (whether to complete your degree in accordance with the old or the new curriculum).

Usually, it's enough to update only a specific part of your study plan. This happens by changing the version of the current part. Read more about updating the version of a course or a study module in your study plan.