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".[1]

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").[2] 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"[2] 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).



Teaching-oriented positions


Typical organisational hierarchy

Typical tenure track career

No tenure track:

Tenure track:



  1. 1 2
  2. 1 2 Helsinki University job title glossary
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