Licentiate degree and Doctor degree


Key features

  • Qualification: Lisensiaatin tutkinto/ licentiatexamen, tohtorin tutkinto/ doktorsexamen
  • Qualification in English: Licentiate degree, Doctor degree
  • EQF level: 8
  • Cycle: Third cycle
  • Thesis required: Yes, scope not defined
  • Nominal length: N.a.
  • Access requirement: Master’s degree


The aim of scientific and artistic postgraduate education is, firstly, that students become well versed in their own field of research and its social significance and gain the knowledge and skills needed to apply scientific research methods independently and critically and to produce new scientific knowledge within their field of research. Secondly, the aim is for students to become conversant with developments, basic problems and research methods of their own field of research. The third aim is for students to gain such knowledge of the general theory of science and of other disciplines relating to their own field of research which enables them to follow developments in them.

In the field of art and design, the aim of postgraduate education may, in addition to the above-mentioned aims, be that students gain knowledge and skills for independently conceiving methods of artistic creation or creating products, objects or works which fulfil high artistic demands. In the fields of fine arts, music, and theatre and dance, the aim of postgraduate education may, in addition to or instead of the above-mentioned aims, be that students gain knowledge and skills for independently conceiving methods of artistic creation or products or transactions which fulfil high artistic demands.

Licentiate and doctorate degrees are scientific and artistic postgraduate degrees conferred by universities. In order to be awarded a doctorate, students admitted to postgraduate education must complete the required postgraduate studies, demonstrate independent and critical thinking in the field of research, and write a doctoral dissertation and publicly defend it. In the fields of fine arts, music, art and design, and theatre and dance, students admitted to postgraduate education may, instead of writing a doctoral dissertation, publicly demonstrate the knowledge and skills determined by the university.

Students admitted to postgraduate education may be awarded the licentiate degree when they have completed the part of the postgraduate studies assigned by the university and the specialisation education possibly included in the degree (specialisation in psychology, speech therapy, pharmacy or social work, or specialisation in natural sciences in health care). The licentiate degree includes a licentiate thesis, in which students demonstrate good conversance with the field of research and the capability of independently and critically applying scientific research methods. In the field of music and in the field of theatre and dance, the licentiate degree may include a public demonstration of knowledge and skills, instead of a licentiate thesis.

Higher education in the military field is provided at the National Defence University operating within the Ministry of Defence sector.

Degree titles

  • Finnish/Swedish:[Field of study] lisensiaatin tutkinto / licentiatexamen, [Field of study] tohtorin tutkinto /doktorsexamen
  • English: Licentiate/Doctor of [Field of study] or Licentiate/Doctor of Arts/Science [Field of study sometimes indicated]

The government’s decree on updating the government’s decree on university degrees 1039/2013 includes a full list of fields of study, names of the degrees and the universities where studies can be pursued. The titles in English are also included. See the appendices:

Learning outcomes

  • Understands extensive knowledge areas and contexts. Possesses the most advanced and/or specialised and most profound knowledge, skills and/or theories, which are placed at the most advanced and/or specialised level of the field and at the interface between different fields.
  • Is capable of applying knowledge in a creative way. Is capable of creating new knowledge in compliance with good scientific practice.
  • Is capable of independent and reliable scientific or artistic and professional research. Is capable of developing professional functions and/or his/her scientific and/or artistic field.
  • Is capable of developing and applying new ideas, theories, approaches or processes in the most advanced contexts.
  • Is capable of working independently in the most demanding expert duties in the field or as an entrepreneur.
  • Is capable of managing things and/or people.
  • Is capable of synthesis and critical evaluation required to solve complex problems in research and/or innovation and to extend and redefine knowledge or professional practices.
  • Is capable of accumulating knowledge in his/her field and/or taking responsibility for development of others.
  • Possesses the capability for continuous learning.
  • Knows how to communicate verbally and in writing to a good standard with both the scientific community and the general public on issues pertaining to his/her own research area and the entire discipline and/or professional field.
  • Is able to deal with different people in learning and working communities and other groups and networks, taking account of communal and ethical considerations.
  • Is capable of communicating at an advanced international level and interacting in both national languages and at least one foreign language.
  • Complies with sustainable working and operating practices.