Student guidance and PSP-supervision

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.

On this page you can find instructions concerning the duties and goals of a supervising teacher as well as material to support student guidance and supervision. The practices of student guidance and supervision vary by faculty and degree programme. Consequently, you should also find out more about the practices of your degree programme or unit by selecting the programme or other education provider from the menu. 

Duties and goals of supervising teachers

Guidance and supervision refer to supporting students’ learning process, development, training and growth into experts.   

The framework of guidance and supervision consists of the following:

  • Guidance and supervision provided by teaching and research staff. You are responsible for offering guidance and supervision related to the content of studies and disciplines. This includes supervision associated with the personal study plan (PSP) as well as thesis supervision.  
  • Communication, advice and special guidance provided by specialists at University Services. University Services staff can support you in the provision of supervision, or you can ask students to contact University Services if they need support. Support, advice and supervision services staff are responsible for guidance and supervision related to, for example, student and researcher exchange, traineeships, degree structures and careers as well as the support provided by counselling psychologists. In addition, University Services provides supervising teachers or groups of teachers with information on student progress for each academic year.

The goal of guidance and supervision is to support student progress and a smooth learning process, and to promote student-centred learning. By providing guidance and supervision, you ensure that University of Helsinki degree students have access to sufficient and timely support. You also support students’ integration into the academic community and serve as their contact person in matters related to the content of studies.  

Guidance, supervision and advice can be provided under the supervisor’s direction in groups, seminars, student peer groups organised by the supervisor, or as individual appointments between the supervisor and the student, if separately agreed. The Sisu system is also used for this purpose. 

The degree programme steering groups are responsible for the system of student guidance and supervision as well as its smooth functioning. Related responsibilities must be included in the work plans of teaching and research staff in a clear and concrete way. 

Further information 

  • The guidance and supervision compass brings together information on supervisors’ duties, support material, advice and guidance supervision as well as answers to frequently asked questions by students. 
  • For guidelines on academic guidance and supervision as well as the monitoring of student progress at the University of Helsinki, please see this rector’s decision (PDF, 2017).

PSP supervision

Work on the personal study plan (PSP) is a process that continues throughout the degree programme to support progress and the development of expertise. All degrees require a study plan to be drawn up. You support the drawing up of this plan and the monitoring of student progress through supervision, guidance and advice. 

Each student must be assigned a supervising teacher or group of teachers who is responsible for the supervision related to the drafting of the personal study plan. If a group of teachers is responsible for the supervision, their duties will be defined and communicated to the students. 

As a supervising teacher, you provide supervision related to the content of your discipline at different stages of studies in accordance with the practices of your faculty or degree programme. Supervising teachers can provide, for example, the following types of support: 

  • Help students integrate into their degree programme and its student and academic communities, especially at the initial stages of studies 
    • Provide easy opportunities for communication with students and/organise joint activities 
  • Help students create personal study paths based on their prior studies and learning 
  • Support students in selecting minor subjects or a study track 
  • Support students in scheduling exchange studies and reflecting on their content 
  • Guide students in continuing to the master’s stage and considering related options 
  • Assist students in identifying their expertise and career skills 
  • Help students find the right support services

Degree programmes are responsible for the organisation of PSP supervision 

The steering group ensures that each student is assigned a supervising teacher or a group of teachers who is responsible for supervision associated with the personal study plan (PSP).

Degree programmes have different goals and practices for guidance and supervision, including tutoring or practices based on a personal approach to teaching.

Sisu as a study plan and supervision tool

Sisu supports student guidance and supervision as well as the monitoring of student progress. Detailed instructions for using Sisu in PSP supervision can be found at Sisu instructions: PSP supervision. Sisu ( will replace WebOodi on 31 May 2021. 

Education planning officers create tutoring groups (i.e., supervision groups) in Sisu for PSP supervision. These groups can be established on the basis of degree programme needs: one teacher and one student, one teacher and a group of students, or a group of teachers and a group of students. 

As a supervisor, you can examine your students’ study plans, comment on them and respond to students’ comments. You can also use Sisu to monitor student progress. Students need not submit their Sisu study plan to their supervisor for approval if the plan complies with the Sisu rules.

You need not respond to notifications about applications and requests (e.g., relating to the degree structure). Supervisors do not process applications in Sisu. This is done by education planning officers and student advisers who consult teachers if necessary. However, as a supervisor, you can see the applications the students in your group have attached to their study plans. 

Support for supervising teachers

Guidance and supervision compass

The Centre for University Teaching and Learning (HYPE) offers training aimed at supervisors. Please click here for further information.  

The guidance and supervision support cards (PDF) include questions that address the customary academic growth of university students as their studies progress. You can select suitable questions from one or more cards for PSP meetings or other guidance and supervision discussions with students that you feel will fit for each situation. You can also select questions from the cards to be discussed at the meeting and send them to students in advance. Some faculties have created their own version of the cards. 

The Finnish-language material bank for career planning and professional growth provides information on career planning as well as concrete tools to support guidance and supervision. For example, the app for the self-evaluation of career skills can support students’ career planning during their studies. You can ask your students to complete their questionnaires of choice on the website before the supervision meeting and then use the questionnaire feedback as the basis of discussion. You can also use the Finnish-language guidance and supervision cards (PDF). The cards cover all areas of self-assessment, with an individual card dedicated to each area that describes the topic and includes an assignment that you can assign to the student. 

The results of HowULearn surveys can also be used as the basis for guidance and supervision discussions. HowULearn surveys support students in taking an active role in their studies and provide individual feedback in support of studying. To obtain the survey results, you can contact the person you are guiding or supervising, the education planning officer or the degree programme director. 

Special arrangements and challenging situations

The need for special arrangements for teaching and/or examinations may arise during guidance or supervision. As a supervisor, you should be familiar with the instructions for special arrangements. If necessary, you can serve as the contact person for a student in need of special arrangements, cooperating with the faculty’s accessibility contact person and/or education planning officer. 

You may also occasionally encounter challenging supervision situations. If you are concerned about a student or their studies, you can consult the University’s counselling psychologists, for example, by phone. Further information on counselling psychologist services can be found on the Instructions for Students website. In addition, the Guiding students section of the Instructions for Teaching website contains a variety of material to support guidance and supervision. 

Services for students

  • You can ask students to read the thematic instructions and notifications for general and degree programmes  on the Instructions for Students website. The website also offers support and answers to students’ study-related questions.  
  • The guidance compass tool on the Instructions for Students website brings together the advice, guidance and supervision services aimed at students, aiding them in a variety of situations. 

See also the Instructions for Students

You will find related content for students on the Instructions for Students Service.