Sisu HELP


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[in Finnish[på svenska]


Instructions will be updated regularly. 


SISU credit plan is one part of the doctoral personal study plan (DPSP) including also; 2) research plan; 3) supervision plan; 4) financing plan; and, 5) career plan. The other parts of the DPSP will be done in another system when that system is ready to be taken into use.

Why do I need a SISU credit plan? 

SISU credit plan (called simply study plan in Sisu) enables study planning, registration for courses and is the basis for composition and printing the degree certificate and for graduation. You register for teaching in Sisu. Graduation requests are submitted via Sisu. You need to create make SISU credit plan in Sisu first even if your study plan has been confirmed and courses completed earlier. 

The degree certificate is formed on the basis of the SISU credit plan, so it is not possible to apply for graduation without a SISU credit plan.

How to create a SISU credit plan? 

Step 1. Log in to Sisu at sisu.aalto.fi

Step 2. Open Structure of studies at the top of the page 

Structure of studies button circled

Step 3. Create a new SISU credit plan

Create the new study plan by clicking the New study plan button 

New study plan button clicked 

and under My educations choose your doctoral programme. 

New study plan form where one can select education and curriculum period and name their study plan

  • You can choose from the existing educations you have study right to
  • Curriculum period: choose the academic year in which you started or the more recent one
    • Notice that your research field may not be available in the most current structure
  • You can name your plan as you like 

A basic doctoral study plan may look like this: 

Screenshot of an empty new study plan

I have both a licentiate and doctoral study right in Sisu. How do I find the correct one for the SISU credit plan ?

Licentiate and doctoral study rights in Sisu

If you have both licentiate and doctoral study right, you can find the right structure of studies the following way (for technical reasons, both programmes are named the same, but they differ by code). 

If you want to create a SISU credit plan for licentiate degree:

Start creating the new study plan and choose My educations, type in the programme name Aalto doctoral programme in ... /Sähkötekniikan tohtoriohj... and choose one of the alternatives below. 

Create a new study plan -file open with dropdown list of selected education is open

The field Learning opportunity tells you which one you have chosen, licentiate or doctoral 

Chosen learning opportunity chosen from the dropdown menu

You can also check if you've chosen the correct one from the degree programme code; for licentiate degree includes an L

 Picture of title of selected education with correct education codes below

Step 4. Choose study modules for your degree 

In the doctoral programme there are two parts: Degree studies and Extracurricular studies.

Degree studies

Under Degree studies you can find only compulsory study modules. Sisu will guide you on what you need to choose. 

In this example there are three study modules: Studies in Scientific Practices and Principles, Research field studies and Doctoral thesis

  • The selection assistant shows which selections have been made (the toggle switch turns blue when clicked on)

Study plan with modules open. Modules with Approval required test circled in red. Selection assistant on the right side is open-

Extracurricular studies 

In many cases doctoral students may want to complete non-degree studies to complement their degree. These studies can be included under Extracurricular studies. These studies first need to be in your study plan so you can register for them. 

NOTE! Remember to delete these studies from your study plan before submitting the Request for graduation, as they are not included in the degree certificate. 

Step 5. Choose courses for the study modules

In doctoral degrees most study modules require approval of their content. A study module can include compulsory, elective and free-choice courses. The Sisu selection assistant window (on the right) guides you on how to make the selection. 

Selection assistant showing the warning 'Edit the selections to corespond to the module structure before applying for approval'

The research fields are in the degree structure by curriculum period/academic year. Since the research fields have varied from one academic year to another, it is important to choose as basis of your plan the academic year in which your right to study began. The degree structure is the same, but research fields may vary. 
If your study right began in April 2018, you can choose the curriculum period 2017-2018 or a later one. However, your research field may not be available in the more recent degree structure.

Courses with varying scope

If a course in your HOPS has a varying scope in credits (e.g. 1–10 ECTS credits), you can confirm the scope you have selected on the Completion methods tab of the course info sheet. Please see the detailed instructions

When to use a study draft

If you are planning to take a course or do study-related work or activities outside Aalto or some individual study attainments in Aalto (book exam, summer school, conference presentation, etc.) you can include them in your plan by making a study draft. The study draft can then be conditionally accepted in your SISU credit plan. 

When your study attainment is finished, you can receive credit for it through the credit transfer or the custom course credit procedure. See instructions for credit transfer

Individual studies completed

If  your individual study attainments are already completed and registered, you can see them in the register and add them to your plan. Do not use study drafts for completed courses or studies.  

You can add the completed courses /attainments as follows: 

  • If you can add a set of free-choice courses the study module, you will see the Add to the plan button in the selection assistant on the right. You can also use the Add to the plan tab on the left side.

    Add to the plan buttons circled in selection assistant on the right side and on the left side of the page


  • If you do not find the course(s) under Add to the plan, switch to Free edit mode.


Picture of selection assistant where button with three dots clicked and selection free edit mode is seen

If the structure of the module is pre-set, you can use the Free edit mode to edit it.

This allows you to include any courses you want and request approval. Also, your completed courses (custom credit courses, too) can be added this way. 



In free edit mode in selection assistant button with text Add a course you have already completed hghlighted



Study drafts / custom credit courses ( Individual study attainments ) and needed information

When making study drafts or applying for custom credit course (individual study attainments), the application should include certain information in order to be approved and later registered.


Custom credit courses

Registering of studies



Custom credit course aka Individual study attainment

Information needed

Example entries in Sisu

  • Scientific /academic summer/winter/etc schools
  • workshops
  • seminars  
  • Name of the school/workshop
  • Organiser
  • Dates with short “–”
  • City, Country

International Summer School on Machine Learning, University of Tottenham, 2 - 15 July 2020, Tottenham, UK

Winter School on Something, 17 - 26 January 2019, Paris, France

The Workshop on Complex Systems, 1 - 5 July 2019, Aalto University, Finland

  • If the name does not indicate the details, write the type of activity (e.g. summer school, workshop, seminar, etc.), then the name, date and location: Summer school: / Workshop: /Seminar: and then details 

Journal articles and conference papers which will not be included in the thesis

  • Authors’ surnames, initials
  • Year of publication
  • Title of the article/paper
  • Journal name, vol, pg nos, or
  • Name of conference
  • place and dates of the conference

Article: Laiho L. & Sirenius, M. (2020) ‘Title of the article’, Name of the journal, 20:5-18

Conference paper: Laiho, L. (2018): ‘Title of the paper’. In Conference on Machine Learning; Peking, China : 15 - 17 February 2018. (This information, with the own research field’s conventions in referencing to be added.)

Self-study (book or literature exam, report, review, or other assignment)

One book:

  • Authors’ surnames, initials
  • Year
  • Title, edition
  • Place of publication: Publisher  
  • Number of pages

Several books/literature:

  • Topic

Book exam: Belbin, M. (2010) Management Teams: Why They Succeed or Fail (3rd edition), UK: Butterworth Heinemann.

  • If only part of the book, mark chapters/pages: Chapters 1-2/pp. 25-425

Book review: Anslyn, E.V. and Dougherty, D.A. (2006) Modern Physical Organic Chemistry. UK: Thomson Learning

Self-study: Course material of Reinforcement Learning of University College London and completing programming assignments related to the course material

Exam on literature package on xxxx

Peer review of scientific papers

  • Quantity of papers read
  • Theme, topic

Peer review of three scientific papers on the topic of aqueous-phase reforming.

Presentation of research work at scientific conferences (poster, presentation)

  • Title of presentation
  • Name of conference
  • Dates of conference
  • City, Country of conference

Poster and presentation “Title of the presentation”, ICPF Conference on Computer Science, 12 – 14 March 2017, Berlin, Germany

Co-supervision/guidance of B.Sc. theses, special assignments, or M.Sc. theses

  • Type (MSc/BSc thesis supervision, special assignment)
  • Title of the thesis/topic of the special assignment
  • Name of the student
  • Year of completion of the thesis/assignment done

Academic supervision: Master's thesis advisor (Carbon Dioxide Methanation for Intensified Reactors, Andrew Martin Piers, 2015)

Academic supervision: Bachelor’s thesis advisor (Carbon Dioxide Methanation for Intensified Reactors, Andrew Martin Piers, 2015)

Academic supervision: Special assignment (Carbon Dioxide Methanation for Intensified Reactors, Andrew Martin Piers, 2015)

Teaching/ planning and implementing a new course

  • Type of work done
  • Name and code of the course
  • Timing (dates/periods/autumn/spring year)
  • Organisation where done if not in Aalto (dpt/institution)

Acting as a course assistant for course Machine Learning CS-E3210, autumn 2020

Planning and implementing course xxxx, autumn 2020

Teaching course xxxx, autumn 2020





Step 6. Free edit mode

Free edit mode is a stage where you can suggest changes to your SISU credit plan (e.g. if you have received an exemption). Changes always require approval.

If you wish to use Free edit mode, first open a study module by clicking on it in the selection assistant. In addition to the study modules, you will find the Free edit mode at every hierarchy level of the plan. Next, click the three dots in the selection assistant to open the Free edit mode.


Picture of selection assistant where button with three dots clicked and selection free edit mode is seen.

Now you can add any courses, study modules or already completed studies or you can delete courses or study modules. In the Free edit modeyou cannot add a course if it is compulsory somewhere else in the structure.

In free edit mode in selection assistant button with text Add a course you have already completed pointed with red arrow

Finally, apply for approval and include your justifying reasons for the changes.

Step 7. Approval for a study module

When all the choices are made correctly, the button Approval for module content approval activates if approval is required. 

Researchfield studies module and selection assistant open. Apply for module content approval button marked with red

You can send the study module for approval, if needed. The application requires grounds for the approval.  When the approval is needed the contents of the study modules should be discussed with your supervisor before submitting the application. 

Picture of application for approval. There is courses belonging to the module and open box for writing grounds for the application. 

After the application has been sent, it shows in the plan as "approval requested".

Module selected, text approval requested circled


After the study module has been approved, it shows like this 

Selections approved text

In the selection assistant (right side window) you can see the approved content by clicking "Show" 

In selection assistant text Content approved

Step 8. If you need to change the module content after approval

Sometimes the plans change. If you change the content of an approved module, SISU gives you the notifications of "Selections against the rulesand "differs from the content of the approved application". It also notifies you as to what content does not correspond to the approved content (marked yellow in the example). 

Text Selections against the rules circled in red two places of the study plan


If changes are necessary, first give up the approval of the study module before requesting new approval. 

All applications are saved, so you can check previous ones later if needed. 

In selection assistant show button after the text Content does not correspond to the approved content circledContent approval file shown, in lower right corner Give up the approval button circled in red

Step 9. Choose Doctoral thesis / licentiate thesis

Make a choice of thesis according to your research field. Usually, the thesis and the research field codes are formed on same basis. In this case given, ELEC002Z refers to acoustics in the thesis. 

Code for the module under the module title highlighted



Extracurricular studies (NOT included in the degree)

Sometimes there are courses doctoral students are advised to complete  but these are considered extracurricular. In order to register for these courses, they need to be in your SISU credit plan.

Since doctoral degrees do not contain any free-choice studies, there will be a study module ‘Extracurricular studies/tutkintoon kuulumattomat opinnot’ in the degree structure. 

  1. Choose the module as part of your plan. 
  2. Add the course(s) to your plan (here Basic Japanese was added)
  3. Before submitting your graduation request, remember to delete this module from your plan. 

This study module does not need approval nor is it evaluated. Completed courses will show on your study transcript, but not in your degree certificate nor in its attachments. 

In selection assistan Add to the plan title circled with red

What if I already have a licentiate degree and need only a doctoral thesis to complete my doctoral degree? 

Instructions available in Finnish, English version in progress! Contact your doctoral programme. 


How to update the SISU credit plan if it is invalid?

Sisu is a developing system and adjusting is done to degree structures from time to time. Unfortunately, this might some times break earlier study plans and make them invalid. Sisu gives notifications when your plan does not match the current structure due to changes or choices made in the plan (see the notifications below).

Under the modules, that have more courses than the study plan allows, are red rectangles with text 'Does not fit within the degree structure'. The study plan has a warning 'Selections against the rules'.

How to update the plan? 

When the extracurricular studies study module was added to the structure on 26 March, 2021, plans created before that are in invalid state Selections against the rules.

Start by creating a new plan (do not copy!)  and choose first the degree studies.  

In selection assistant Studies included in the degree module selected and the same module shown in the study plan

Choose then study modules. In this example the research field content in acoustics and signal processing had already been approved so choosing the same courses changes the status to valid again. You can find the approved content by clicking Show.

Earlier study drafts cannot, unfortunately, be found again, you need to create them again and send in for approval

Studies included in the degree module against the rules. The plan differs from the content of the approval application.Warning texts in module and selection assistant circled with red


In this plan, the other modules were already completed, so they showed up by choosing them in selection assistant. 

Study plan with two completed modules

Including a licentiate degree in a doctoral degree study plan 

If you have a licentiate degree and now you are pursuing a doctorate in the same field, your first step is to contact the learning services for your doctoral programme.  You can include your completed licentiate degree as part of your doctoral degree in Sisu by credit transfer (which requires the doctoral programme’s approval) and by editing the structure of your study plan. 

A summary of the steps

  • First, contact your doctoral programme’s learning services to see if you can get a credit transfer of your licentiate degree for your doctoral degree. If such a credit transfer is possible, continue by following the steps below.
  • You will receive a message from your doctoral programme on the matter once they have made the necessary changes to your education path on Sisu and made a template of your study plan available.
  • Through the study plan, apply for a change to your degree structure.
    • The doctoral degree for licentiate graduates consists of the following: the research field studies + the name of your research field, and your doctoral dissertation (doctoral thesis).
  • A study draft of your licentiate degree is located below the name of the research field.  
  • You can use the study draft to apply for credit to cover all of your licentiate degree studies.
    • Apply to include your licentiate degree in your doctoral degree.
  • When your application for this inclusion is approved, the credits will appear in your study plan in place of the study draft.  
  • Then you can apply to have the content in your research field approved.
  • You still need to apply for approval of your degree structure as a whole. After that, you can apply for graduation.

Editing your study plan

Once a decision is made on the credit transfer of your licentiate degree for your doctoral degree, you will receive a message saying your study plan template is available. 

Phase 1: Apply for approval of a custom degree structure

Go to your Sisu study plan (or create one if you have not done so yet). The correct codes for doctoral programme plans begin with DP-.

  • Select Research field studies (at the left of the picture) and select the free edit mode
  • Click the ‘three dots’ button and free edit mode in the selection assistant. 

Your research field is already selected beneath ‘Research field studies’; you just need to get this selection confirmed in your degree structure.

  • Click Apply for approval. Add ‘licentiate degree’ as the grounds for the approval.
  • Submit the application. 

When the application has been sent, the warning messages ‘Does not fit within the degree structure’ and Selections against the rules’ vanish from the study plan.  

Phase 2: Create research field content (i.e. a study draft of the licentiate degree)

  • Select the name of your research field under Research field studies (the example shows ‘Phototonics and Nanotechnology’). 
  • At your research field, go to free edit mode by clicking the three-dots button, then click
  • Add a study draft.
    • You could call your study draft e.g. ‘Studies accredited from licentiate degree’. An administrative staff member will later enter the exact name and information if necessary. 



Phase 3: Proposing credit for the study draft (i.e. applying for credit transfer via the study draft) 

You can apply for credit transfer of your licentiate degree once your study draft has been made. 

  • Open the study draft information by clicking Study draft and Suggest credit.
  • Apply for inclusion. 
    • You do not need to edit the name for the credit as a staff person will enter the precise name for it later. 
  • At Completed credit, specify what knowledge or learning you are pursuing (a staff person will add extra details, if necessary). 
    • When you complete an application via the study draft, the information is transferred automatically from the study draft to the application.
  • Attach your licentiate degree certificate and transcript of records (that is, for licentiates completed elsewhere than at Aalto) as appendices, if necessary.

Phase 4: Credit transfer approved

Sisu will inform you when the decision on the transfer is ready. After approval, you will see the completed credits in your study plan and in your completed studies. Additional information.

If you sought approval through a study draft, the approval will appear immediately in the correct place in the study plan.


Phase 5: Approval of the module content 

  • Next, apply for separate approval of the content of your module (i.e. of your licentiate). 
  • To activate an application for approval, go to the free edit mode (shown in grey in the picture because the content does not correspond to the original structure). 

Phase 6: Content of research field approved

When the content of the research field is approved, you will get a message in Sisu, and your study plan will show the text ’selections approved, parts completed’. 

Decision details can be viewed by clicking Show beside Content approved (in the selection assistant).


Phase 7: Approving the degree structure as a whole

Because your degree structure varies from the usual, it must be separately approved.

  • In your study plan, select Degree studies and go to the free edit mode.
  • Click Apply for approval.
  • For grounds, you can put ‘licentiate studies / licentiate degree’.

Request for graduation

You can submit a request for graduation after seeking approval for your degree structure. 















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