Doctoral Experiences in Finland

by Jukka M. Krisp (Volume editor) Michael Szurawitzki (Volume editor)
©2014 Edited Collection 109 Pages


This volume is a collection of essays on the process of obtaining a PhD degree at a Finnish university. The contributors share the common background of coming to Finland from abroad especially for the purpose of taking up PhD studies. They hail from different countries and academic backgrounds and obtained their degrees at different Finnish universities from Helsinki in the south of the country up to Oulu in the north. Moreover, they studied and conducted research at different faculties. The individual processes, academic, social, and cultural experiences and challenges form the core of the individual essays.

Table Of Contents

  • Cover
  • Title
  • Copyright
  • About the author(s)/editor(s)
  • About the book
  • This eBook can be cited
  • Table of Contents
  • Preface
  • The Finnish Licentiate Degree in Germanic Philology
  • Karonkka – Seven years in Finland
  • The Technical University of Helsinki and its Doctoral Education
  • From Finland with Love – Recollections and Reflections of an Academic Emigrant
  • Ambivalence, Cancer Narratives, and Passion
  • Catching Rhythms of the Extended University Sphere
  • A PhD in Geoinformatics
  • A Doctorate in Germanic Philology in Finland – Process, Challenges, Perspectives
  • A triangular PhD experience – Germany, Canada, Finland
  • Notes on Contributors

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This book presents experiences by international PhDs who have completed their doctorates at universities in Finland. This essay collection has been contributed to by many researchers active within the research community in Finland. Thus, we are looking upon a wide range of experiences from the early 21st Century. To our understanding, universities, in Finland as well as in general, apply changes of any kind very slowly. Therefore, the PhD researchers’ situations in Finland may have changed to some degree up to now. Clearly, however, there is no empirical evidence for this, and the individual situation of some present or future researcher employed in Finland may differ substantially from any of the cases described in this volume.

All contributing researchers have completed their doctoral degrees (in one case the intermediary degree of licenciate, which is explained in detail in the relevant essay) within the auspices of the Finnish university system. This was a requirement to be eligible to contribute an essay to this volume. There seem to be many scholars who, for diverse reasons, did not finish their doctoral dissertation within the Finnish system and/or relocated their research environments to a different country. Eventually, it seems to be a matter of circumstances, partly also of luck, pragmatic approach, and cleverness, how to deal with the completion of the PhD thesis in Finland within the individually imposed time and funding frame.

While reading the different essays in this present volume, the question of why researchers would proceed towards doctoral degrees in a Finnish university in the first place might occur to the reader. There is no clear-cut answer to it. It seems, judging on the basis of opinions presented within this book, that the researchers were ‘drifting’ into Finnish universities. In many cases, this seems not to have been a strategic and swift, thoroughly thought-out career decision. The researchers who have contributed to this book continued successfully within the science community after the completion of their degrees and today are part of the globalization of science. Finland as a point of embarking on an academic career seems to be a rather exotic place in many research fields. This thus brings with it advantages and disadvantages for an international career in research and science. A deeply rooted involvement in the Finnish national research community seemed to be rather difficult for most of the researchers mentioned. That may be the reason why many researchers who have contributed to this book are now working in other countries, including Germany, Switzerland, Estonia and China. We may find an indication that researchers who complete a doctoral degree at a Finnish university may have difficulties to find a continuing career path in Finland.

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What about the Finnish universities? This book offers only a mosaic snapshot of the situation in the early years of the 21st Century. Overall, it seems that the tradition of publically funded education and science as a source of knowledge is valued very highly in Finland. This affects the research community and provides doctoral researchers with a framework which is generally as well as in this volume described as positive. As far as the administration in Finnish universities is concerned, there are different experiences. It seems the political, decision-making administration pushed forward the internationalization of the universities. However, on the faculty and departmental level there seems to be a very heterogeneous picture, with some departments following the globalization path, while others seem to be (too) strongly rooted in the national and local environments.

This volume does not serve the purpose of providing a scientific or empirical analysis of the international doctoral research situation in Finland. It should rather endow the reader with a collection of essays from diverse researchers who document some of their differing experiences during the processes of obtaining their PhDs in different fields and universities within Finland. Thus, different insights become visible and part of the discussion on university education in Finland.

We would like to thank academic publishers Peter Lang for including this book into their program and into the series Labour, Education and Society. We would especially like to thank editor Ute Winkelkötter for her continuing support within this project.

Jukka M. Krisp
Augsburg and Munich, in February 2014

Michael Szurawitzki

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The Finnish Licentiate Degree in Germanic Philology


ISBN (Softcover)
Publication date
2014 (September)
Promotion Universität Hochschulsystem Finnish academic system
Frankfurt am Main, Berlin, Bern, Bruxelles, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 109 pp.

Biographical notes

Jukka M. Krisp (Volume editor) Michael Szurawitzki (Volume editor)

Jukka M. Krisp is Professor of Applied Geoinformatics at Augsburg University. Michael Szurawitzki, PD Dr. phil. habil., teaches Germanic Linguistics at Ludwig-Maximilians University in Munich.


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