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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 in the Docent Guidelines (approved by the Board on 29 March 2017).

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 and who also has good pedagogical skills. In order to be admitted as a Docent, the applicant is 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. Good pedagogical skills are required, either proven through teaching demonstrations or by demonstrating other merits, such as studies in pedagogy. 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. The subject or entity advocates your application.

The application for the Title of Docent shall be addressed to the Chancellor of Åbo Akademi University and should be submitted electronically in Swedish or English. At the Faculty of Science and Engineering, the application should always be submitted in English.

Send the application to: registrator@abo.fi

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. Shortly describe the major events in your career. The cover letter must not exceed 1 page.
  2. A curriculum vitae, 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.
  3. A pedagogical portfolio concerning pedagogical experience in teaching and supervision, or completed studies in university pedagogy or corresponding education. The estimation of the pedagogical merits follows the ÅAU matrix for evaluation of the teaching ability.
  4. A copy of the doctoral degree certificate.
  5. maximum of 10 selected publications. The publications are attached in PDF format or so they can be accessed via links in the listed references. 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.
  6. A separate list of the selected publications with clarifications about your contribution to each publication.

What happens next?

When the faculty has obtained the Chancellor’s consent, the Faculty Council decides if it agrees with the subject’s suggestion to tie the applicant to the faculty as a docent. The Faculty Council elects at least two experts to evaluate the scientific and teaching 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:

Head of Faculty Administration Tiina Heinistö (tiina.heinisto@abo.fi) Faculty of Arts, Psychology and Theology
Head of Faculty Administration Tua Henriksson (tua.henriksson@abo.fi) Faculty of Social Science, Business and Economics, and Law
Head of Faculty Administration 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 26.4.2024