The role of the coordinating academic in dissertation supervision

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In addition to the actual dissertation supervisor, a coordinating academic (sometimes also called responsible person / responsible professor) is appointed for all Doctoral Students. The coordinating academic is a professor of the student’s home faculty or a docent employed by the faculty with good knowledge of the requirements and practices of Doctoral studies at the University of Helsinki.

The coordinating academic’s duties do not actually include dissertation supervision, but the dissertation supervisor may also be appointed as the coordinating academic if they fulfill the above-mentioned criteria.

As the coordinating academic, your task is to ensure that the Doctoral Student is aware of the requirements for doctorates and the dissertation examination process at their home faculty. You are also responsible for ensuring the continuity of the student’s supervision arrangements together with the Doctoral Programme management team. If the Doctoral Student needs a new supervisor, you will help them find one.

When the doctoral dissertation is ready for examination, your task is to consult with the supervisors and then submit an official proposal to the faculty on the dissertation’s preliminary examiners and, later on, on the members to be appointed to the grading committee.

In some Doctoral Programmes, the coordinating academic approves the study modules included in a doctorate.