Academic Ranks in Finland

The following are academic ranks in the Finnish higher education system. There are a specific number of posts, which can be applied to when they are vacated or established. A professor, for example, is a leader of a laboratory or a group. One of the idiosyncrasies of the Finnish system is the absence of assistant and associate professors, as well as the limited number of full professorships.

Finland's system is similar to the traditional German system in that there is a limited number of posts for professors (professori), who head research groups and take part in administration in addition to lecturing. The rank of apulaisprofessori (literally, "assistant professor" but may refer to assistant professor or associate professor depending on the university) is in use. Fulfillment of a professor's post often requires that the previous professor has retired. Qualifications for a professor are a doctor's degree and an extensive independent publication record; the degree of lisensiaatti (licentiate) does not qualify. (For example, in medicine, the common degree equivalent to a medical doctor is a lisensiaatti degree: additional research and study is required for the degree called lääketieteen tohtori, "Doctor of Medicine.")

Teachers and researchers
The professor-level honorary title of dosentti is similar in required qualifications, but the related form of employment is often task-based (e.g., teaching a specific course, supervising a specific student) rather than full-time employment. When it does include full-term employment, it has fewer or no administrative responsibilities and may be combined with work at a company or another university. The alternative translation for docent is "adjunct professor".

Junior educators are not called professori, but by other terms such as assistentti (literally "assistant" and is typically a position designed for PhD students), lehtori (lecturer), opettava tutkija (teaching researcher), or yliopisto-opettaja (literally "university instructor"). The same applies to researchers (tutkija, etc.). Various finer distinctions have been introduced in recent years, such as "yliopistonlehtori" (university lecturer), a tenured lecturer's position that requires a PhD and involves some research commitments. "Yliopistotutkija" (postdoctoral researcher, literally: university researcher), "professori, taso 1" (literally: level 1 professor), and "apulaisprofessori" are titles used for roughly the equivalent of associate professor in the US system.

Researchers and professors funded by the Academy of Finland are generally styled accordingly, "akatemiatutkija" and "akatemiaprofessori" (academy researcher and academy professor).


Professori (Professor) is the head of a laboratory or a unit.
Dosentti (Adjunct Professor), is not necessarily permanently associated with the university but holds the right to teach (Latin: venia docendi) and supervise doctoral students, and has academic merits significantly exceeding a doctoral degree similarly to German Privatdozent and Swedish docent.
Yliopistotutkija (University Researcher), a position for a senior post-doctoral researcher
Tutkijatohtori (Post-Doctoral Researcher), a position for a junior post-doctoral researcher
Tohtorikoulutettava (Doctoral student), Tutkija (Research Associate, Research Scientist) and Projektitutkija (Project Researcher) are positions intended for doctoral students
Tutkimusavustaja or Tutkimusapulainen (Research Assistant) is a Bachelor's or Master's student position

Teaching-oriented positions
Yliopistonlehtori (University Lecturer) or Lehtori (Lecturer), teaching-oriented faculty position usually requiring a doctoral degree.
Yliassistentti (Senior Assistant, Assistant Professor), post-doctoral researcher or senior doctoral student position,
Yliopisto-opettaja (University Teacher), a junior teaching-oriented faculty position.
Assistentti (Assistant), a teaching-oriented position intended for doctoral students

Laboratorioinsinööri (Laboratory Engineer), a formally administrative position, the holders of which often conduct research and teach, however.
Laboratorioteknikko (Laboratory Technician), a junior administrative position similar to Laboratory Engineer

Typical organisational hierarchy
Kansleri (Chancellor), only in the Universities of Helsinki, Tampere, Turku and in Åbo Akademi.
Rehtori (Rector)
Vararehtori (Vice Rector)
Dekaani (Dean)
Laitoksen johtaja or osastonjohtaja (Head of Department)

Typical tenure track career
No tenure track:
Research assistant
Doctoral student
Post-doctoral researcher / University teacher
University researcher / University lecturer
Tenure track:
Assistant Professor
Associate Professor
Distinguished Professor