In the beginning of doctoral studies, at least two supervisors will be appointed for every doctoral researcher. The supervisors are appointed by the Dean in the decision on admission to doctoral studies. The requirements for the supervisors vary among the faculties.
Each doctoral researcher has a supervising professor who is to be appointed already at the application stage and who agrees to support the application. The role of the supervising professor is administrative unless s/he acts as a primary supervisor. The tasks of the supervising professor include discussing the contents of the doctoral researcher’s personal study plan and overseeing the thesis submission and examination process. The thesis is supervised by the doctoral researcher’s primary supervisor, who must hold a doctoral degree. If the supervising professor is also the primary supervisor, a second supervisor is to be appointed.
In the Faculty of Science and Forestry, all supervisors must hold a doctoral degree, and at least one of the supervisors must be a professor, an associate professor, a university researcher or a university lecturer in the Faculty. If someone else is proposed as the main supervisor, an up-to-date list of publications must be included in the proposal.
In the Faculty of Health Sciences one of the supervisors must be a professor or hold a title of docent or equivalent at the University of Eastern Finland. The principal supervisor must primarily hold the title of docent.
The main supervisor shall hold a professor's, associate professor’s or a docent's title with the University of Eastern Finland or have a corresponding qualification and be a member of staff in the Faculty of Social Sciences and Business Studies. The second supervisor must hold a doctoral degree.
The supervisor can be replaced for a justified reason or additional supervisors can be appointed. Examples of justified reasons are that the theme of the research project has been changed or readjusted or that the research project is not making satisfactory progress.
The proposal for replacing a supervisor may be made by the doctoral researcher or by the supervisor. Replacement of a supervisor is agreed on between the parties, and the final decision is made by the Dean. To start the process, fill in the form for changing supervisors. Have the form signed and deliver it to the faculty.
Roles and responsibilities of supervisors and doctoral researchers
The role of a supervisor is to
- supervise the doctoral research and assist him/her in structuring the various stages of the research work
- provide guidance in preparing a personal plan for doctoral studies in such a way that the plan meets the objectives of the degree, the personal aims of the doctoral researcher and the doctoral programme’s curriculum
- submit, without undue delay, the doctoral researcher’s study attainments for registration
- familiarise the doctoral researcher with the ethical issues of conducting research, good scientific practice and the principles of managing research data
- commit to supervision: address the elements of the doctoral research, provide the doctoral researcher with feedback and monitor and support the progress of the doctoral studies
- facilitate the doctoral researcher’s integration in the national and international scientific community and encourage him/her to create a peer support network
- support the doctoral researcher in applying for funding, and write recommendations and statements
- ensure that the research meets the context- and form-based criteria required of the thesis before it is submitted for review or pre-review
- go through and evaluate the comparative results provided by the plagiarism detection system on the manuscript of the doctoral dissertation
The responsibility of a doctoral researcher is to
- register each year as being present or absent,
- ensure that his/her research plan is updated and to commit to conducting research
- Follow actively communication related to doctoral education (e.g. Yammer of Doctoral Programmes, Doctoral School and/or Faculty) and Handbook of Doctoral Education in Kamu.
- prepare a doctoral study plan on the basis of the research topic, the scientific objectives of the degree and his/her personal aims, e.g. career goals, and ensure that it is updated
- submit to the supervisor, without undue delay, documentation concerning study attainments based on scientific activities
- familiarise himself/herself with guidance on research ethics and data management principles, and comply with these in pursuing studies and conducting research for the thesis
- sitoutua ohjaukseen: väitöskirjatutkimuksen osiin paneutuminen, palautteen antaminen
- utilise guidance and take into account feedback received from the supervisor
- participate during his/her studies in the activities of the scientific community and in scientific discussion and doctoral education
- bear responsibility for obtaining financing (e.g. foundations, funding by a company and other supplementary financing, UEF Doctoral School) and request, where necessary, a statement by the supervisor in good time, before the deadline for applications
- submit the manuscript of the doctoral dissertation for scrutiny by the plagiarism detection system prior to pre-review, request a public defense, publish the doctoral dissertation and apply for the degree certificate
Tips for supervisees
It is recommended that you and your supervisor jointly prepare a written supervision guideline about the practices of supervision in detail, possibly including reporting and feedback in the document. According to scientific studies, satisfaction of the doctoral researcher increases in the case the supervisor and the doctoral researcher have a mutual understanding on the supervisor’s duties, and the contents and frequency of supervision (Pyhältö et al. 2015). A supervisor has a crucial role in the progress of doctoral studies in many ways. Support from the supervisor and research community e.g. decreases the risk of drop-outs and burn-outs (Peltonen et al. 2017).
Produced in a workshop in Seminar for PhD students and their supervisors in 2018 (see Sway presentation How to improve PhD supervision).
- Tell about your working style and communication style to your supervisor (self-leadership, need for interaction etc).
- Talk, discuss, express your expectations and feelings to your supervisor.
- Make sure that you agree on the goals and norms. Establish mutual understanding.
- Prepare for meetings with the supervisor in advance. Define your goals and send information beforehand.
- Make memos during the supervisory meetings.
- Give (also positive and encouraging) feedback to your supervisor.
- Find your networks and meet your colleagues in informal settings. Social support from peers enhances your well being.
- Balance work and free time and keep your working hours reasonable. Relaxation will not slow you down but, in fact, helps you to become more efficient.
- Take a break, sleep enough, exercise, get fresh air, break the routines.
- Positive thinking is important. Focusing on the problems is not efficient. Try to change the angle. If something in your relationship with your supervisor is not functional, you can take the initiative for making a change.