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How to apply for the title of docent

According to Finnish legislation, a university can award the title of docent to an applicant who has profound knowledge in their own field, and who, through publications or equivalent, has proven their capacity to independently carry out research and has good teaching skills (Universities Act, § 89)

Åbo Akademi University’s guidelines for admission as a docent can be found here:
Docent Guidelines

The Title of Docent can be granted to a person who has a doctoral degree and comprehensive knowledge in his or her own discipline, and has through publications or in other ways shown a capacity for independent research or artistic endeavours, and who also has good pedagogical skills. in order to be admitted as a Docent, the applicant is usually required to have published, in addition to his or her doctoral thesis, scientific publications that correspond, in terms of their extent and quality, to another doctoral thesis and which are relevant for the subject area in question. The Title of Docent is granted without any time limitation.

The Application Process

The applicant, the subject or the faculty can initiate the application for the Title of Docent. Before applying, the applicant and the subject shall agree on the submission of the application as well as on the proposed field of the docentship. Faculties may have specified instructions for the application, the administrative officer can be contacted for additional information.

The application for the Title of Docent shall be addressed to the Chancellor of Åbo Akademi University and should be submitted in Swedish or English. At the Faculty of Science and Engineering, the application should always be submitted in English. The application should preferably be sent by email. If in print, three complete copies should be submitted. The applications will not be returned.

The free-form application shall include at least the following documents:

  1. A cover letter including the proposed area of the docentship (in Swedish and English) as well as a short description on how the applicant can contribute to the subject and its academic advancement.
  2. An academic portfolio, as specified by Åbo Akademi University.
    The academic portfolio shall represent the applicant’s academic merits and include, in addition to a list of publications, also information on received research funding, co-operation at national and international levels, collaboration in projects, participation in national and international conferences and congresses, expert assignments and any other merits that facilitate the assessment of the applicant’s competence.The list of publications should be written according to the guidelines from the Academy of Finland.
  3. A copy of the doctoral degree certificate
  4. maximum of 10 selected publications should be appended to the application, together with a separate list of these publications that also specifies the applicant’s contribution to each selected publication.
  5. Documentation concerning pedagogical skills, experience in teaching and supervision, or completed studies in university pedagogy or corresponding education..

Send the application to: registrator@abo.fi

Åbo Akademi
Domkyrkotorget 3
FI-20500 Åbo

What happens next?

The faculty council decides if it agrees with the subject’s suggestion to tie the applicant to the faculty as a docent, and elects at least two experts to evaluate the scientific competence. If necessary, the applicant is invited to hold a test lecture at the faculty for assessment of the applicant’s teaching skills.

The faculty council then decides whether or not to propose to the Chancellor of Åbo Akademi University that the applicant be awarded the title of docent.

Once the Chancellor has appointed the new docent, the university registry will inform the applicant of the outcome and provide an electronic copy of the docent appointment letter. Twice a year (in May and December), an informal ceremony is arranged in the university main building, docents are invited separately to this occasion. If the docent doesn’t attend, the appointment letter will be sent by post to an addresse informed by the docent.


More information about docent applications for respective faculty is given by:

HR Specialist and coordinator, Jenni Kronqvist (jenni.kronqvist@abo.fi) Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology
Head of Faculty Adminstration Tua Henriksson (tua.henriksson@abo.fi) Faculty of Social Science, Business and Economics
Head of Faculty Adminstration Lotta Österholm (lotta.osterholm@abo.fi) Faculty of Science and Engineering
Head of Faculty Administration Anna Smirnoff (anna.smirnoff@abo.fi) Faculty of Education and Welfare Studies




Updated 29.3.2021