Students’ rights and responsibilities as members of the university community

Students of Tampere University have many rights and responsibilities. These are based on the laws of Finland and the University’s own rules and regulations. This list of student’s rights and responsibilities serves as a tool for building a constructive interaction between students and the personnel at the university. More often than not, reasonable discussion that acknowledges the other party’s point of view produces the best possible results in terms of promoting one’s own rights. The purpose of this list is to offer information on the conventions and principles of student’s rights at Tampere University. If you have any concerns about this, feel free to consult the student union anytime! You can find the employees’ contact information here.

The university community consists of three parties: the professors, the teaching and research staff as well as other personnel and the students. Each party has, in addition to their rights, their own responsibilities in relation to the other members of the community. By seeing to their rights and responsibilities, each party can contribute to improving the university as a place for learning and research as well as its status as a notable player in our society.

Students’ rights

As a student, you have the right to get tutoring, academic counselling and thesis supervision

Students are entitled to academic counselling, and the university has the obligation to organise it.

Getting sufficient academic counselling is essential for students in order for them to find the most interesting and suitable studies tailored to their own needs from the wide course selection. Good teaching also includes counselling, but nevertheless each student should spend some time on pondering the structure of their studies and personal interests, as well as on discussing them with professionals. Academic counselling is not only necessary for the progression of studies but also for feeling motivated about studying. Professional academic counselling cannot be substituted with peer support only, as it is meant to be an additional part of professional counselling. Through academic counselling, students can receive tips regarding the kind of optional studies which could help recognise their skills and how to use this information in the job market.

As a student, you are also entitled to proper supervision of writing your thesis. If, however, the supervisor displays disregard for the thesis supervision or they are not well acquainted with the field, the student has the right to receive quality thesis supervision from elsewhere. Another important part of academic counselling is that of your personal study plan (HOPS), which is an undeniable benefit to you.

More information on tutoring, study counselling and support can be found at TREY’s homepage.

As a student, you have the right to study flexibly

The university must arrange the teaching in a manner that enables the completion of a degree within the target time set by the university. The duration of degree studies varies slightly according to the study field. The duration of studies can also be extended after the expiration of the target schedule. Students may apply for an extension, which is granted a minimum of half a year and a maximum of two years at a time.

The curriculums include multiple study formats for courses. This means that students have the right toe opportunity to complete a course in any of the appointed formats of their choosing.  Students also have the right to participate in courses during the summer semester.

(Source: Universities act Sections 41 and 42, TAU Tampere University Regulations on Degrees)

As a student, you have the right to study accessibly

Students have the right to study accessibly and have their study attainments assessed in a manner that considers any possible disabilities.

Equality is defined as a fundamental human right in the Finnish law. This applies to accessibility in studies, too, which means the prohibition of all discrimination on the basis of state of health, disability or any other personal characteristic. Every person must be guaranteed equal possibilities in their studies. The Non-discrimination Act further discusses education and states that discrimination in terms of access to education is forbidden. Additionally, the education provider must make due and appropriate adjustments for a person with disability for them to be able to access education and advance in their career.

If a student has a disability, such as sensory disability, dyslexia or panic disorder, special arrangements in examination or completion of courses can be made. These have to be made in advance with university personnel. Moreover, severely disabled people have the right to receive personal assistance, which is guaranteed by the municipality.

(Source: Constitution of Finland Section 6, Non-discrimination Act Section 5, Universities Act Section 37 a, Services and Assistance for the Disabled Act Section 8 c, TAU Assessment Policy)

As a student, you have the right to receive grading for coursework within three weeks

Grading of an exam or any other form of coursework must be completed within three weeks. If the maximum time limit is exceeded, the student has the right to demand the grading for the coursework. The three-week limit also applies to electronic exams. The time limit for grading coursework done in summer time is longer.

(Source: TAU Tampere University Regulations on Degrees Section 27)

As a student, you have the right to request rectification of coursework or thesis assessment

Students who are unsatisfied with the grading of their coursework or thesis, decisions on credit transfer, or decisions on applications for an extension or reinstatement of the right to study, can request rectification on the matter.

Matters that concern the evaluation or rectification of theses apply to what has been regulated in the Universities Act (558/2009 Sections 44 and 82-84). According to the University’s regulations, students can send a request for rectification of the assessment in writing to the Faculty Council within 14 days of receiving the decision.

If a student is dissatisfied with the evaluation of any other coursework, credit transfer from other studies or crediting for competence obtained by means other than formal education can request rectification either in writing or orally from the examiner or other person who gave the evaluation. If a student is dissatisfied with the evaluation of a thesis included in intermediate studies, they can send a request for rectification in writing to the Faculty Council. Rectification for the re-evaluations mentioned in this paragraph can be sought from the Appeals Committee within 14 days of receiving the decision.

When seeking rectification for a thesis, it is advisable to contact the Head of Study Affairs of your own faculty. They can guide you in the rectification process. If the faculty council deems it necessary in cases of theses in advanced studies, a third evaluator for the thesis will be appointed and their decision will be final. However, the faculty council’s evaluation cannot decrease the original evaluation, so therefore the council can either stop the process, send the thesis for re-evaluation or increase the evaluation. Rectification for the re-evaluation in cases of theses in advanced studies cannot be requested from the University of Tampere Appeals Committee.

(Source: Universities Act Section 82, TAU Tampere University Regulations on Degrees Section 35)

As a student, you have the right to receive feedback on an exam, essay or other coursework

For students, assessment is an essential part of studying. For the sake of learning, receiving feedback along the evaluation of a coursework is essential. Both oral and written feedback further illuminate the kind of development from which the student could benefit.

If the student so desires, they can receive their coursework examination as a paper copy from the responsible teacher within a month of the examination date. The evaluation criteria must be publicly available prior to the evaluation, and the student has the right to know which criteria in specific have been applied to them.

If the student wishes to discuss the evaluation of their coursework, they must contact the person responsible for the coursework and set up a meeting with them so that the coursework can be processed and the student can receive feedback from it.

(Source: TAU Assessment Policy Section 9)

As a student, you have the right to retake an exam

If the regulations do not state otherwise, the student has the right to retake their coursework regardless of result of the evaluation. The student must be notified about the possibilities of improving their exam performance no later than within the evaluation. Information concerning the dates of re-examination must be given in good time, and the actual re-examination must be arranged within a reasonable time from the original one. The highest grade or the grade assigned for a latter, more extensive coursework will prevail in cases of multiple examinations of a module.

Apart from the course exam, it is not required to arrange a re-examination of the evaluation of coursework or learning processes that was done along with the teaching. Theses cannot be remade, either.

(Source: TAU Assessment Policy Section 12)

As a student, you have the right to receive income support

The primary source of income for students is the study allowance, which consists of the study grant and government loan guarantee. In addition to these, students can also apply for general housing allowance for housing costs.

Students whose income and assets do not cover their essential daily expenses are also entitled to social assistance. You have the right to social assistance if your essential expenses are greater than the income that is available to you.

See TREY’s homepage for more information on social assistance and housing.

(Source: Constitution of Finland Section 19, Act on Social Assistance Section 2 a Paragraphs 2-3)

As a student, you have the right to take sick leave and have access to public health care

The primary health care for students is the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS). However, during July, evening hours and weekends FSHS’ offices are mainly closed. During these time periods, students should contact local health care services which are on duty during the summer, too. Each student has the right to use the local health care services of their place of study regardless of their municipality of residence. Doctoral students are not entitled to the services of FSHS.

Students neither should or must study at the expense of their own health. Students have the right to take sick leave and receive sickness allowance. Sickness allowance is paid after a waiting period of 10 working days into the sick leave. By claiming sickness allowance instead of the study grant, you will not use up the months for which you can get student allowance, and you will not have to provide details about the illness and your academic progress. You should claim sickness allowance if the period of illness will not be brief and it hinders you from studying normally.

(Source: Health Care Act Section 17, Health Insurance Act Section 17)

As a student, you have the right to study without experiencing discrimination or harassment

According to the Constitution of Finland, “No one shall, without an acceptable reason, be treated differently from other persons on the ground of sex, age, origin, language, religion, conviction, opinion, health, disability or other reason that concerns his or her person.” Each of us has to respect others as individuals without either direct or indirect discrimination, such as intentional ignoring of another person.

The Non-discrimination Act further defines the concept of discrimination. In addition to clearly unequal treatment of a person (direct discrimination), discrimination can also be indirect if an apparently neutral rule, criterion or practice puts a person at a disadvantage when compared with others, or if one has been instructed or ordered to discriminate. According to law, harassment is also discrimination.

According to the Act on Equality between Women and Men, sexual harassment means verbal, non-verbal or physical unwanted conduct of a sexual nature by which a person’s psychological or physical integrity is violated intentionally or factually, in particular by creating an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive atmosphere. On the other hand, gender-based harassment means unwanted conduct that is not of a sexual nature but which is related to the gender of a person, their gender identity or gender expression, and by which the person’s psychological or physical integrity is intentionally or factually violated and an intimidating, hostile, degrading, humiliating or offensive atmosphere is created (1329/2014 Section 7). It is not easy to make a clear-cut definition of harassment, but you should follow your instincts when recognising harassment. If another person’s behaviour feels disturbing, it is harassment.

If you feel that you have been harassed by another student, professor or other member of the university personnel, you can confidentially tell about it to the student union’s harassment contact persons who will aid you in all situations that involve harassment. For more information on the harassment contact persons’ job description and their contact information, see TREY’s homepage, where you can also read more about equality.

(Source: Constitution of Finland Section 7, Act on Equality between Women and Men Sections 5-8, Sections 10-12, Non-discrimination Act Section 6)

As a student, you have the right to apply for an extension for completing one’s studies and restoration of one’s right to study

A student who is not able to complete their degree before their right to study has expired can apply for an extension. The application is made by sending the extension application to the faculty with the graduation plan as an attachment. In the graduation plan, the student lists the intended time periods of completing the missing courses as well as the timetable for the academic year’s progress. As with students without extension, a student who has not completed their studies within the allotted time period or within the extension will lose their right to study. If the student later wishes to continue their studies, they must apply for the restoration of their right to study. Students whose right to complete their degree expires at the end of spring semester (31st of July) must apply for an extension no later than 30th of April; those whose right to study expires at the end of the autumn semester (31st of December) must apply no later than 31st of October. The decision on granting the extension will be given a month after the application period has ended.

A student who has received their study place before 1st of August 2005 can have their right to study declared passive if they have not completed any studies at the University of Tampere within the past three consecutive academic years. Their right to study is maintained and can be restored with the dean’s decision in order to the student to be able to complete their degree. If a student’s right to study is declared passive, they cannot enrol at the University, nor can any study attainments be registered for them.

See Student’s Guide for additional information on extension and applying for it.

(Source: TAU Tampere University Regulations on Degrees Section 13)

As a student, you have the right to prove suitability for the field of study

Students have the right to prove their suitability for their field of study. Before making the decision to revoke the right to study, the University must present the student a chance to be heard. Further, an inquiry of the student’s situation in which each matter affecting the decision is discussed must be made.

If a student has lost their right to study on the grounds of unsuitability for the field of study, the student can request a rectification to the revocation of their right to study by displaying that the reasons for the revocation are not valid anymore. In this case, the applicant must provide the statements concerning their personal health.

The University must, however, negotiate about the student’s possibilities of applying for another form of education together with the student before revoking the student’s right to study. With the student’s consent, they may be transferred to another field of study in the University where they fulfil the admission prerequisites.

The student may appeal against the decision of either revocation or restoration of right to study from the University’s Academic Appeals Board within 14 days of the moment when the decision has been made available. If you are suspected of not being suitable for your field of study, contact the student union’s educational affairs Specialist immediately.

(Source: Universities Act Section 37 a-b , Section 43 a-d, Section 45, Section 45 a, Act on Students’ Legal Protection Board Sections 1-14)

As a student, you have the right to a safe, equal and fair study environment

According to the University’s Degree Regulations, students and staff have the right to a safe, equal and fair study and working environment. The University can define rules of conduct to promote internal order, the unobstructed progress of studies and the safety and comfort of the university community.

(Source: Universities Act Section 41 a, TAU Tampere University Regulations on Degrees Section 34)

As a student, you have the right to apply for the inclusion or substitution of prior competence in study degree

As determined by the University, the student may have completed studies at another Finnish or foreign university or institution (formal education) which can be counted towards their degree or professional specialisation programme. They may also substitute previous studies for studies in the degree requirements or professional specialisation programme if the prior studies are of an equivalent level. According to the University, the student may also both include and substitute either degree or professional specialisation programme studies in form of competence obtained by means other than formal education.

Many degree programmes have their own conventions for the recognition of prior learning (nationally referred as AHOT). Depending on the degree programme, studies can be replaced by competence such as prior work experience or internship. As stated by the University’s Degree Regulations, theses or maturity tests cannot be included. You can consult the Academic Officer or the Study Coordinator for more information on AHOT.

(Source: Universities Act Section 44)

Students’ responsibilities

As a student, you have the responsibility to provide feedback on instruction and guidance

Giving feedback on how the University’s teaching could be improved is essential for its progression. Since students have a direct connection to teaching, the course feedback system has been created for them. The given feedback is used for improving the teaching, facilitating the curriculum drafting process and monitoring the quality of the University’s teaching. Another channel for feedback is the Bachelor feedback, a national feedback questionnaire for mapping out things such as study progression. Since 2015, the results of this feedback have influenced the distribution of the universities’ core funding. Along with this, different fields of study utilise other types of questionnaires, such as the graduate questionnaire by TEK (Academic Engineers and Architects in Finland).

(Source: TAU Tampere University Regulations on Degrees Section 3)

As a student, you have the responsibility to prepare a personal study plan (HOPS) in accordance with the instructions and guidance and further their studies according to it

As per Tampere University Regulations on Degrees: “As part of academic counselling, students completing a bachelor’s and/or master’s degree prepare a personal study plan for each degree and update it accordingly. Postgraduate students prepare research and study plans and update them accordingly. In the study plan, students present the study modules and study units encompassed by their degree and the times of their completion, including the completion of a possible internationalisation module.”

Instead of being another mandatory burden before graduation, HOPS’ purpose is to serve as a tool that facilitates the planning of one’s own studies. One of the university study guidance’s tasks is to help students create their own personal study plans.

(Source: TAU Tampere University Regulations on Degrees Section 22)

As a student, you have the responsibility to not discriminate against or harass anyone and study while taking others into account

By the Universities Act, the university community comprises teaching and research staff, other staff and students. Each member of the university community is responsible for the university’s communality and equality. It is of paramount importance that individuals promote the community spirit and report of any possible shortcomings. Tampere University has a zero-tolerance policy towards any kind of inappropriate behaviour, harassment and bullying.

The Non-discrimination Act prohibits discrimination on the basis of age, ethnic or national origin, nationality, language, religion, belief, opinion, political activity, trade union activity, family relations, state of health, disability, sexual orientation or other personal characteristics. Similarly as with both direct and indirect discrimination, it is forbidden to harass, deny reasonable adjustments or to give an instruction or order to discriminate.

The purpose of the Act on Equality between Women and Men, or the Equality Act (609/1986), is to prevent direct and indirect discrimination on the basis of gender and to promote equality between women and men. Equally, the act aims to prevent discrimination based on gender identity or gender expression.

At the student activities of the Student Union of Tampere University, any discrimination or harassment is not tolerated and will be dealt with. According to TREY’s Policy Document, “All students, regardless of their age, nationality, ethnicity, skin colour, sexuality, health, ability, conviction, family situation, or socio-economic background, are equal members of the Student Union and the University community. All students feel equally welcome in their activities. None of the above-mentioned factors prevent them from applying for studies, complicate their activities at the University or in student organizations, or put them at a disadvantage in studies, study-related services, or decision-making.”

(Source: Universities Act, Non-discrimination Act, Act on Equality between Women and Men, Tampereen yliopiston tasa-arvo- and yhdenvertaisuussuunnitelma 2019-2020, The Policy Paper of the Student Union of Tampere)

As a student, you have the responsibility to enrol for exams seven days before the examination date

The student must enrol for a traditional exam no later than a week (7 days) before the exam using the electronical enrolment system. The student cannot enrol for more than one exam that is held simultaneously. Note that only the exam papers of the enrolled students will be sent for supervision.

Enrolment for an electronic exam is possible after the teacher has made the enrolment possible in the electronic system. The student must ensure that they have the right to complete the exam and that they have enrolled in time for the exam period. There can only be one valid enrolment for each exam, and if an enrolment is not cancelled beforehand, it is registered as a completion.

(Source: TAU Assessment Policy Sections 15 and 19)

As a student, you have the responsibility to enrol for courses

Students must enrol for courses in accordance with the University’s instructions. If the number of students enrolled on a course exceeds its capacity, consistent criteria will be applied to the admission process. This means that priority will be given to students for whom the course is compulsory based on the relevant curriculum. Faculties and independent institutes that provide instruction may issue more specific regulations on the principles for course admission. Students should, however, be informed of the order of priority beforehand.

(Source: TAU Tampere University Regulations on Degrees Section 8)

As a student, you have the responsibility to cancel enrolment for courses or exams

Students have the responsibility to cancel their enrolment for courses before the starting date if they are not going to participate in the course. This way the chance of filling small group courses, whose admittance capacity is limited, is increased and students who want to complete the course have the chance to do so.

The student must cancel their course enrolment for centralised assessment events no later than the day before the event. If the student fails to cancel their enrolment and does not attend the examination, they will lose the attempt and fail the exam. Electronical exams can be cancelled or rescheduled before the booked time slot begins. Since the teacher responsible can regulate the number of attempts per exam and a neglected time slot booking is considered an attempt, it may have been the only opportunity to pass the exam.

(Source: TAU Tampere University Regulations on Degrees, TAU Assessment Policy Sections 15 and 19)

As a student, you have the responsibility to enrol at the university within the enrolment period

To maintain their right to study, the student must either enrol to the University each year or enrol as absent per the University’s instructions. Failing to do so will result in losing the right to study. Enrolment for the academic year does not apply to those students who participate in teaching that is not towards a degree.

(Source: TAU Tampere University Regulations on Degrees Section 14)

As a student, you have the responsibility to apply for an extension if they cannot graduate within target time

A student who has not completed their degree within the time specified under the Universities Act will either lose their right to study or is obliged to apply for an extension for the purpose of completing their studies. Students whose right to complete their degree expires at the end of spring semester (31st of July) must apply for an extension no later than 30th of April; those whose right to study expires at the end of the autumn semester (31st of December) must apply no later than 31st of October. The decision on granting the extension will be given a month after the application period has ended.

A student who has received their study place before 1st of August 2005 can have their right to study declared passive if they have not completed any studies at the University of Tampere within the past three consecutive academic years. Their right to study is maintained and can be restored with the dean’s decision in order to the student to be able to complete their degree. If a student’s right to study is declared passive, they cannot enrol at the University, nor can any study attainments be registered for them.

See Student’s Guide for additional information on extension and applying for it.

(Source: Universities Act Section 42, TAU Tampere University Regulations on Degrees Section 13)

As a student, you have the responsibility to adhere to good scientific practices

Each member of the university community has the responsibility to act in a fair manner and to respect other members’ work and results. They also bear the responsibility to see the University’s guidelines or ask a member of personnel to ensure the justification of their behaviour. Suspected cases of fraud are processed according to the University’s guidelines. If a student is suspected of exam fraud, the allegation must be processed individually, and the student needs to be informed of this. The suspicion and matters related to it are documented, and the faculty dean or the director of an independent unit will be addressed of the issue in writing. The study attainment can be dismissed if it can be proved that the student committed exam fraud or showed total disregard of good study and academic practices. If a student is suspected of exam fraud, they will be given a chance to be heard on the matter. This can be done via either a written account or a hearing procedure. If the latter is organised, the student may be accompanied by a support person, such as the educational affairs Specialist of the student union.

(Source: TAU Assessment Policy, TAU Academic Ethics for Students (subject to editing)

As a student, you have the responsibility to adhere to the University’s rules

The student has the responsibility to familiarise themselves with the University’s rules in the beginning of their studies. Each member of the university community must adhere to the common rules!