Sisu instructions for students at from 10 Jan 2023

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Instructions for students will be available here until 31 Jan 2023. Instructions for teachers and administration will stay on this website.

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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 will be done in another system next autumn when that system is ready to be taken into use.

Why do I need SISU Credit Plan? 

SISU credit plan (in the system study plan) enables study planning, registration for courses and is the basis for degree certificate and graduation. You can register for teaching from 9.8.2021 in Sisu. Graduation will be applied for in Sisu as of 25.5.2021. If you are graduating after 25.5.2021 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 SISU credit plan, so it is not possible to apply for graduation without Sisu credit plan.

How to create SISU Credit Plan? 

Step 1. Log in to Sisu at

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 a new study plan by clicking 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 you have started or more recent one
    • notice that your research field may not be available in most current structure
  • You can name your plan as you like 

Basis for your plan looks like this. 

Screenshot of an empty new study plan

I have both licentiate and doctoral study right in Sisu, how to find the correct one for SISU credit plan ?

Licentiate and doctoral study rights in Sisu

If you have both licentiate and doctoral study right in Sisu, 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 SISU credit plan for licentiate degree:

Start creating new study plan and choose My educations, type in the programme name "Aalto doctoral programme in ..." and choose to one 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 id includes L

 Picture of title of selected education with correct education codes below

Step 4. Choose study modules to your degree 

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

Degree studies

Under Degree studies you can find only compulsory study modules. Sisu guides 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 the made selections (tapped to blue in this case)

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 want complete other than degree studies to complement their degree. These studies can be included under Extracurricular studies. These studies need to be in your study plan so you can register for the courses. 

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

Step 5. Choose courses to study modules

In doctoral degree most of the study modules require approval for the module content. In study module there can be compulsory, optional and free choice courses. Sisu guides you to make the choices in the selection assistant window (on the right). 

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, and since the research fields have varied from academic year to another, it is important to choose the period in which the right to study has begun as the basis for your plan. The degree structure is the same in all curriculum periods, but research fields may vary. 
For example, if your study right has begun in April 2018, you can choose curriculum period 2017-2018 or 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 more detailed instructions

When to use study draft

If you are in planning to do course/study outside Aalto or some individual study attainments (book exams, summer schools, conference presentations...) you can include them in to the plan by making a study draft(s). Study drafts can then be conditionally accepted to your SISU credit plan. 

Credit transfer/ custom course credit can be applied when the course/summer school/other learning has been attained. Instructions for credit transfer. 

If you have already studies/course registered, you do not need to make a study draft but to add the completed study/course to your plan

Individual study completed

If the individual studies are already completed and registered, you can see them in the register and add them to your plan. At this point do not use study drafts if the course is completed.  

You can add the completed courses as follows: 

  • If you can add a set of courses free of your choice to the study module, you will see Add to the plan button in the Selection assistant on the right. You can also use 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 on the module is pre-set, you can chance it by using the Free edit mode (in the selection assistant, next to the module's name).

This allows you to include any courses you want and request for 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 (formerly 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.

Individual study attainments

Registering of studies

Individual study attainment

Information needed

Proposal what and how to write in SISU

  • Scientific 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 clearly the detail, start with: Summer school: / Workshop: /Seminar: and then details .

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

  • Authors’ surnames, initials(s)
  • Year of publication
  • Title of the article/paper
  • Name of the journal +
  • Volume, page numbers or
  • Name of the conference,
  • Place and Dates of the conference

Journal 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/essay or other assignment)

One book:

  • Authors’ surnames, initials(s)
  • Year, edition
  • 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: Studying the 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, 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 on 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 study module

When all the choices are made correctly, the button Approval for module content approval activates if the 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. The application requires some grounds for the application. Contents of the study modules should be discussed beforehand with the supervisor. 

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

After the approval 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 approved module, Sisu gives you notifications of "Selections against the rulesand "differs from the content of the approved application". It also notifies what is the content that does not correspond to approved content (marked yellow in the example). 

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

If the changes are necessary, first give up the approval of the study module before you can request approval again.

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

Choose thesis according to your research field. Usually the thesis and research field codes are formed on same basis, in this case ELEC002Z refers to acoustics also in thesis. 

Code for the module under the module title highlighted

Extracurricular studies (NOT included in the degree)

Sometimes there are courses recommended to doctoral students to complete that are considered as extracurricular studies. In order to register for these courses they need to be in your SISU credit plan.

Since the doctoral degree does 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 course(s) to your plan (here added Basic Japanese)
  3. Before graduation request remember to delete this module of 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 licentiate degree and need only doctoral thesis to complete the doctoral degree? 

Instructions under preparation! 

How to update Sisu credit plan if it is invalid?

Sisu is a developing system and some adjusting is done to degree structures from time to time. Unfortunately this might some times "break" plans made earlier and make them invalid. Sisu gives notifications when your plan does not match the current structure due 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 Extracurricular studies study module was added to the structure on 26.3.2021, 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 open the Show.

Study drafts cannot unfortunately be found again but you need to create them again and send 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 show up by choosing them in selection assistant. 

Study plan with two completed modules

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