FAQ student rights
On this page you will find frequently asked questions and answers about your rights as a student at Karolinska Institutet (KI). If you encounter problems in your education, you are welcome to contact the student and doctoral student ombudspersons. They can help you, for instance, if you are in a conflict with KI, need support in disciplinary matters or if you feel unfairly or incorrectly treated during your studies.
Below you can find questions and answers that are relevant to students at KI. The Doctoral students’ section (DSA) has created a FAQ specifically for doctoral students, you can find it here.
What is the easiest way to find out specifically what the course I’m taking involves?
Read the course syllabus! That contains information that you, as a student, ought to know. For example: Intended course learning outcomes, examination form and basis of the teachers’ assessment. The course syllabus is binding according to the Higher Education Ordinance, what’s written in the syllabus can’t be changed when the course has started. Reading the course syllabus is an excellent way of getting to know your rights.
My course starts in two weeks and I still haven’t received schedule or literature list. Is this really OK?
No, it’s not OK! A synoptic schedule including all examination components and compulsory teaching needs to be available no later than five weeks before the start of the semester. A list of the main literature must also be available at this time. The complete schedule must be announced at least one week before the start of the semester.
I’ve waited for the marking of my paper for three weeks now, and we’re approaching the time for the retake. How much longer do I need to wait?
A student has, if there’s no special circumstances, the right to get their written examination or other examination marked and graded after 15 workdays totally (10 workdays for marking and 5 workdays for registration in Ladok). Furthermore, this must happen at least 14 days before the retake.
Help! At my institution they say that my exam is lost. What rules apply here?
When an exam has been lost or such and the university is responsible for this mistake, the student/s in question must hastily be given the opportunity to write a new exam. Contact the course leader and ask about your options.
I was admitted to a course but forgot to “accept” at antagning.se. I have now been taken off the course and I’m forced to make a late application, which probably means that I won’t be able to start the course. Is there anything I can do? If I had “accepted” in time, I would’ve been admitted now...
Application for and response to the admission to courses within the time stipulated are the responsibility of the students. Unfortunately, that means that you cannot demand a place at the course and motivate this by pointing out that you would’ve been admitted if you hadn’t forgotten to accept your place. Therefore, the first thing you should do is to make a late application to the course at antagning.se if that’s possible. You can also try solving your problem by, after making a late application to the course, contacting the institution which is in charge of the course and explain your situation. You can, for example, contact the course coordinator or one of the study counsellors. They often have a system for admission from waiting list, which will take place after the course has started and they know how many students that’ll be taking the course. They can inform you more specifically about your chances of getting admitted through the waiting list.
I wanted credit transfer for a course I took earlier, and which is part of a programme. I was declined the transfer now that I already started the programme, where can I turn for help?
It’s always a good idea to talk to the Study Counselors first. Other people you can contact regarding this issue are the Programme Director and the Director of Studies. Decisions on credit transfer may be appealed against to the Higher Education Appeals Board.
I receive student finance from CSN for full-time studies. What happens if I don’t manage to pass all the courses this semester, will they make a repayment claim?
As long as your actual study activity matches the study activity you’ve stated in your application, i.e. you don’t abrupt your studies and you do go through all compulsory course components, you won’t receive a repayment claim because of your failed course(s). On the other hand: You won’t be entitled to further student finance until you’ve earned at least 75% of the credits on the courses for which you’ve applied for student finance, or 62,5% if you’re on your first or second semester.
How does my student finance get affected if I become ill?
You can keep your student finance when you become ill. You must report the illness to Försäkringskassan on your first sick day, and after eight days a doctor’s certificate is needed. The student finance will then be distributed as usual for 30 days, without any demand of course credits. From day 31 and forward the repayment claim is dropped. Whilst you’re ill you shouldn’t deregister yourself from the course that you intended to take or the course you’ve already started to take, since a deregistration implies that you’re not longer a student and therefore aren’t entitled to student finance from CSN during your period of illness. Note that you cannot receive student finance during the summer.
My student finance application was denied by CSN since I didn’t earn enough course credits during the previous semester. Because of that I must apply for exemption in order to receive student finance hence forth. What should I include in my appeal to CSN?
For you to be entitled to exemption there needs to have been special circumstances which explains why you didn’t earn the course credits you got student finance for. Examples of “special circumstances” may be that you or a close relative have been sick or that a close relative has died, that you have a disability which leads to you needing more time to finish your studies or that you’ve had a hard time managing your studies because of grave university flaws. When you compose your application for exemption, it’s advisable to include documentation which confirms/certifies these special circumstances. To drop off your education because of a job is typically NOT valid as a special circumstance which entitles you to exemption from the course credit demand.
I’ve understood that the rules concerning cheating and plagiarism are strict at KI, what happens if I get reported for cheating?
A student that is found using prohibited aids or by other means attempts to deceive during examinations or when academic work is otherwise assessed can be reported for cheating/plagiarism. Reports are usually written by the course director/coordinator in consultation with the PD (programme director) or GUA (responsible for undergraduate education) and are thereafter sent to the vice chancellor at Karolinska Institutet. The vice chancellor in turn, either decides upon remitting the matter to the Disciplinary Board or decides to dismiss the matter. Commonly the matter is remitted to the Disciplinary Board, to ensure that the handling of the matter is transparent, fair and objective.
As a student, you have the right to give a to statement he Disciplinary Board, and to speak further at the meeting of the Board. The Board can decide to dismiss the matter without further action or to occasion a caution. The caution implies that you, most likely, must retake the examination, but you can also be suspended from your studies at Karolinska Institutet for a certain period of time – usually six weeks and no more than six months. A suspension decision means that the student is prohibited from participating in instruction, tests or other activities within the area of education at the university.
Suspension will also result in the institution informing CSN about the period during which the student is suspended, since the student doesn’t qualify as a student during the suspension and therefore cannot be entitled to student finance. However, it’s up to CSN to decide upon how they’ll act, the university is only obliged to inform them about the suspension. A decision of suspension is normally put into effect immediately. An appeal against the decision of the Board can be filed at the Administrative Court, if the student in questions thinks the decision is wrong.
If you’re reported for suspected cheating/plagiarism, you’re welcome to contact the Students’ Ombudsperson who can help and advise you when you’re writing your statement to the Disciplinary Board.
I’ve failed an exam in a course twice. I’ve always written it in an examination room. I wonder if I can request another examination format?
If you’ve submitted two examination components and failed them, you’ve got the right to have another examiner picked for you. If there’re special circumstances and another examiner can’t be offered, you’ve got the right to demand another examination format.
What can I do if I think that I’ve received an incorrect/unfair grade on my exam?
It’s not possible to appeal against a grade, however you can demand a review. A review refers to the grade for the whole course and not for example for a unique exam and means that the examiner redoes the evaluation for your course grade. A review can never cause the grade to sink lower. If you want a review of your grade you must send a thorough motivation to the examiner regarding why you want your grade raised.
I’ve heard that you’re only allowed to rewrite an exam five times to attempt to pass the exam, is this correct?
Well, there’s no upper limit to how many times you can rewrite your exam. On the other hand, the examination occasions offered for you to pass the exam mustn’t be limited to less than five. This is regulated in the Higher Education Ordinance.
I’ve taken a course earlier that I didn’t finish completely. I’ve attended all compulsory seminars, but I haven’t handed in the papers and didn’t take the exam. Now that I want to finish up the course, the institution tells me that I must apply for and re-register for the course. Is that correct?
If you want to make-up for unfinished work on a course you must re-register on that course. This applies no matter what elements you’ve missed, for example a written exam or compulsory course components. You must, in other words, be re-registered on the course regardless of how many/few lectures/course elements you’ll attend. The re-registration must take place early on during the course, according to the relevant course instructions.
Keep in mind! Through registration or re-registration on a course, you become an “active student”. This is important information for e.g. CSN and insurance companies.
The examination format of a certain course was take-home examination. I must retake the exam for that course and the examiner wants to change the examination format to an oral examination. Can they do that? Don’t I have the right to demand the same examination format as the first time I took the exam?
There’s no general rule saying that the examination format can’t be changed. But if the course syllabus mentions a certain examination format, that format must apply to the re-take as well. Furthermore, a re-take mustn’t be harder or easier than the original examination.
I got an on-site training placement far from home which is a problem since I have a disease and need to visit the doctor for treatment several times a month. Can I ask for/demand another placement?
Most course and study programmes that include on-site training have rules regarding students which for medical reasons or other special circumstances have the right to receive a placement that makes the on-site training go as smoothly as possible. It’s important to communicate this need in time and clearly state the reasons why you should get a certain placement. If you suddenly become ill or have an accident during your on-site training, you have the right to carry it out another time.
I have reading and writing difficulties and find it hard to keep up at lectures and examinations. Is there any help available for me?
Yes, there is! The Discrimination Act states that university colleges and universities, within the framework of their activities, must use active measures to promote the equal rights for students and applicants regardless of e.g. disability. If your reading and writing difficulties are enduring/permanent they are regarded as a disability according to the Discrimination Act, which means that you’re entitled to pedagogical support and other types of supporting measures that are needed in order for the education to become accessible to you.
You can, for example, contact the Study Counselor at your institution or KI’s Coordinator for students with disabilities and talk with them about difficulties in your study environment and how you might be able to solve those issues. When meeting with the Coordinator it’s required that you bring some sort of documentation indicating your disability. The Coordinator at KI is Viktoria Hansson. More information can be found here.
I stumbled whilst taking the stairs in the lecture hall, broke my leg and got superhot coffee all over me. Is there any insurance for students?
Yes, according to the Higher Education Ordinance a university/university college is responsible for the personal injury insurance of their students when the injury in question has occurred in connection with higher education in Sweden. The insurance also includes disease caused by bacteria, virus or other contaminant.
I’ve had a really hard time lately. No matter how much I study, I’m never pleased with myself. I’m constantly stressed out and it has started to affect my studies in a destructive way. I don’t know who to talk to.
If you need support in contacting your institution to explain your situation and try, if possible, to find an individual solution which can make studying easier for you – you’re welcome to contact your Study Counselor or the Students’ Ombudperson in order to get help. It might also be a good idea to talk to someone about the stress and performance anxiety you’re experiencing in your studies. At the Student Health Centre there are doctors, psychologists and counselors who are specialized when it comes to study related questions. You can visit them at KI Campus Flemingsberg (Blickagången 7, floor 5) and at KI Campus Solna (Berzelius väg 1, floor 5). Information about opening hours and phone hours can be found here.
The examiner was very rude during the public examination of my paper. Is that really allowed?
A teacher must, of course, behave correctly and not be rude. The student union can assist you in talking to the examiner and their superior to make sure that you get an apology and to make sure that it won’t happen again.
The course I’m taking has scheduled compulsory course elements between 8 am and 5 pm almost every weekday, which feels like a lot. How much of the course is really allowed to be compulsory?
There are no rules concerning the amount of the course elements that may be compulsory in a course. On the other hand, the course syllabus must state which course elements are compulsory in that specific course. The total study activity for full time students mustn’t be more than 40 hours a week, including both lectures and the students’ own studies. If a course’s study pace is lower than full time (part time), you’re required to study less than that. We recommend that you keep a dialogue open with the teachers regarding what a reasonable arrangement is. There should always be a reason and a motive behind the decision to make a course element compulsory.
We have a course examination on a Saturday. Is that allowed? I was under the impression that examinations (which aren’t retakes) mustn’t be scheduled for a Saturday or am I wrong?
The University/ university college decides upon the day of examination. It’s permitted to schedule an examination for e.g. a Saturday or Sunday, but consideration must be shown for students that for religious reasons cannot participate in examinations during certain religious holidays. It’s also important to inform the students about the examination session dates in good time.
Read more about fair examination here.
I have a very bad relationship with the supervisor of my paper and I feel that they aren’t of any help in the writing of my paper. Do I have the right to switch supervisor?
If special circumstances prevail, you should be given the possibility to switch the supervisor of your thesis. You must request this yourself at the institution.
I didn’t finish my paper on time, am I entitled to get help from my supervisor also after the course is officially over?
You certainly don’t have a right to further supervision when the course is officially over. But many supervisors help students who haven’t finished in time, even though they aren’t obliged to do that. All institutions and courses must have rules concerning supervision. Contact your institution if you have questions concerning what rules apply there.