Students’ rights

Student rights are written down in several rules and statutes. Below we have put together a comprehensive list of the rights of students and the procedures related to them.

If you believe your rights have been violated, it is best to first discuss with the partners involved, for example the teacher of the course. You can ask a specialist from OYY (help@oyy.fi) to join these discussion if you want. If you’re unsure of a possible violation, fell free to consult the specialists of OYY. If you are unclear about your situation, contact the specialist, who can tell you if the proceedings have gone according to the laws and regulations the University abides. You can contact the Specialists from help@oyy.fi.

Legal protection issues are handled on a case-by-case basis and so it’s many times unclear to the student whether their treatment was fair and just. If your rights have been violated you might be entitled to a judicial review ( / retrification) for the decision. The specialists of OYY can give you advice on how to proceed with the handling of the issue, and if need be, they will back you up in solving the situation.

Every student is legally entitled to receive guidance on their studies. At the University of Oulu, students can get guidance on their studies from the teacher tutors and from the Academic Affairs. You should seek guidance whenever necessary.

You also have a right to guidance when it comes to thesis work.

In Finland, the normative progress of studies, in both lower and higher level degrees, is 60 credits a year. The University must ensure that students are able to advance their studies in the schedule determined by the law.

Students can apply for an extended study period if their study right has ended before they have done their studies. you can find your study right period from Peppi, which you can access with eduroam-wifi or the University’s VPN. More about the extended study right on the University’s website.

In addition to an extended study right you can apply for complementary and non-degree study rights. With a complementary study right you can complete minor studies, that you have received a study right for and take courses from freely selectable minor studies and other courses availableThe application form for a complementary study right is attached to the application for degree certificate when graduating. Complementary studies are free, but they do not give right to the membership of the Student Union. More about complementary study rights on the University’s website

A person, who is not a degree student at the University of Oulu can be granted a non-degree study right. Non-degree studies cost 10€ per study credit. More about non-degree studies on the University’s website.

Students can receive credits for earlier studies, if they are able to demonstrate that the courses they have done meet the learning outcomes of those courses for which they want to receive the credits. In order to get full credits for courses, students might have to do some complementary work or demonstrate their skills. It is also possible to get recognition for competence acquired outside formal education. More info on the University’s website.

(The Constitution of Finland 6 §, Non-discrimination Act 5 §, Universities Act 37 a §, Disability Services Act 8 c §, Plan for implementing Equality, Diversity and Wellbeing at the University of Oulu 2.1.5.)

Students have the right to accessible studying and to get assessment that takes into consideration their personal hindrances. Accessibility at the University includes all students and staff.

The Constitution of Finland states that equality is one of the basic rights of people. This also includes accessibility in studying. No one should be treated differently based on their gender, age, ethnicity, language, religion, beliefs, opinion, health, disability or other such reasons concerning their identity. Everyone should be guaranteed equal opportunities for studying. The Non-discrimination Act covers also education and prohibits discrimination in accessing education. Additionally, the institution providing the education must take any reasonable steps to help a person with disabilities to gain access to education and advance in their career.

If a student has been diagnosed with a disability, it is possible for the student to get special arrangements concerning assessment and alternative ways to conduct their studies (regarding for example visual or hearing impairment, dyslexia or panic disorder) when the student informs the University of their obstacles in advance. The student psychologist of the University of Oulu is the contact person concerning accessibility issues and she is the person to see if you need to plan special arrangements for studying. The local government also guarantees personal services for severely disabled people. You can read more about accessibility at the University of Oulu here.

According to the University of Oulu’s Education Regulations, the results of exams and other course work should be released not later than three weeks after the teacher has received the papers for evaluation. Thesis supervisors should grade the work within a month of the time when the student has turned in their thesis. If a teacher needs more time for the assessment, they need to ask for an extension from the faculty’s Education Dean and the students must be notified of the new schedule for the assessment.

According to the University of Oulu’s Education Regulations, students need to be able to get information on the assessment of their work, and to see the criterion of the assessment, either in the feedback meeting or otherwise. Teachers can give feedback to students either personally or to the whole class as a group. If needed, students must have the opportunity to see the assessed written work. They must also have the opportunity to get a copy of their assessed work on their own expense. You should use the opportunity to discuss your course work. Getting feedback and talking about the exam can, at its best, add to your learning and prepare you for the possible resiting of the exam.

Any student who is unhappy with the assessment of their course work can apply to the teacher who evaluated the work for rectification (judicial review of a decision) of the assessment. The request for rectification must be filed within 14 days of the time the student had the opportunity to get the result of the assessment and the information on how the assessment criteria was applied to the work. In case the student is not satisfied with the teacher’s decision, they can still apply to the Board of Examiners for rectification of the assessment within 14 days of the time they receive the teacher’s decision.

The Board of Examiners will promptly begin the process of rectification. The Board of Examiners also handles rectifications concerning the recognition of prior learning. These cases are handled as urgent. The board might consult the student. The student cannot appeal against the decision made by the Board of Examiners. Any student who is unhappy with the marking of their doctoral or licentiate thesis (or any equivalent final project or skill demonstration) or with the marking of their master’s thesis (or any equivalent work) can apply to the Board of Examiners for rectification of the assessment within 14 days of receiving the results.

More about the process on the University’s website.
OYY’s Academic Affairs Specialist (kopoasiantuntija@oyy.fi) can help you with the process of rectification.

According to the University of Oulu’s Education Regulations, students can redo their course work and retake exams. Students should have two opportunities to resit an exam within reasonable time, and the flexible progress of the studies should be taken into consideration. You should have a chat with the examiner about the schedule for the resit if you have failed an exam and it obstructs your participation for another course.

The syllabus or other regulations may limit the amount of retakes if it is not a question of raising a grade in order to be able to continue one’s studies. In such cases, the necessary information should be written down in the Study Guide of the degree program. You can see the Study Guides from Peppi.

(The Constitution of Finland 19 §, Social Assistance Act 2 § subsections 2–3)

The student’s main source of income is a financial aid for students, which consists of a study grant and a government guarantee student loan. In addition, the student is entitled to a general housing allowance and, if the conditions are met, to provider’s supplement to the study grant, maternity, paternity and parental allowance and sickness allowance.

More information about the benefits can be found on Kela’s website.

A student may also be entitled to basic social assistance, for example, when they cannot receive other benefits and other income is insufficient to cover income. The basic social assistance is the last financial support included in social security and it’s purpose is to secure the applicant’s necessary subsistence.

Foreign students: NB!

Your right to social security benefits in Finland is, as a rule, decided by reference to the length of your residence in Finland. If you move to Finland on a temporary basis, you will normally not be entitled to financial aid for students or social assistance from Kela. For example, students moving to Finland for the sole purpose of studying are considered to be staying in Finland only temporarily. To find out more about social assistance and your eligibility for the Finnish social security benefits, see the webpage of the Social Insurance Institution of Finland (KELA).

(Health Care Act 17 §, Health Insurance Act 8 chapter)

 

The main health care provider for degree students is the Finnish Student Health Service (FSHS), which specializes in student health care. Doctoral researchers and exchange students are not entitled to use FSHS services. Check the FSHS opening hours on the FSHS website. Students also always have the right to use the municipal health services of their municipality of residence and study if they so wish.

A student shouldn’t and doesn’t need to study at the expense of their own health. The students have the right to be on sick leave and to receive sickness allowance. Read more about sickness benefits on Kela’s website.

Foreign students: NB!
Check if you qualify for sickness allowance here.

(The Constitution of Finland 7 §, Act of Equality between Women and Men 5 §–8 §, 10 §–12 §, Non-discrimination Act 6 §)

Every student at the University of Oulu has the right to study safely at the university without experiencing bullying, harassment or discrimination. The Constitution of Finland, the Equality Act and the Act on Equality between Women and Men guarantee the right to non-discrimination and equal treatment. The educational institution has a duty to ensure a safe and healthy study environment for students.

 

If you experience harassment or bullying from another student, professor, or other member of the University staff, you may confidentially contact the Student Union Harassment Contact Persons, who will help you in all situations related to the harassment. Bullying or harassment experienced at the university can be reported via the online form. Check out the University of Oulu’s Bullying and Harassment Guidelines.

Students can lose their study right for example if they haven’t registered as present or absent students at the beginning of the term, or if they haven’t finished their studies within the normative duration of degree studies, or if they haven’t completed their studies after receiving an extended study period. The readmitting fee is 35€. Additional info from the University’s website.

If the student has lost their right to study because they have been considered unsuitable to the field of study, the student can apply for regaining the study right by proving that the reasons for being considered unsuitable don’t exist anymore. The student must produce statements of their health to the University. It is the Board of Directors of the University who decides whether or not the student will regain the lost study right. The University must inform those applying to study with the requirements and other prerequisites of health connected to the studies.

The University Board of Directors must ensure the student, whose study right is under consideration of being cancelled, an opportunity to be heard. The Board also needs a report of the student’s circumstance to be able to make the decision. If the University questions a student’s suitability to their field of study, the University must work out together with the student the possibilities to seek other studies. The student can be transformed, with their consent, to another study programme, where they would fill the requirements of study. The student can apply to the Legal Protection Board of Students for rectification of the decision of losing or regaining the study right within 14 days of the time they receive the decision.

In case you are being considered to be unsuitable for your programme or you have other issues with study rights, contact the Academic Affairs Specialist of the Student Union (kopoasiantuntija@oyy.fi).

The University uses a plagiarism control system called Urkund to check that texts in course works have not been copied from other works without appropriate reference.

A decision made by the Education Council obligates teachers to recommend the use of Urkund. The text uploaded to Urkund will be used as a source text for further comparisons, so students can appeal to their copyright and refuse an Urkund check. In these cases the plagiarism control will be done without the Urkund system.

According to section 17 of the Health Care Act, student health care includes the health and safety of the study environment, the well-being and ability of students to study, health and medical care, and early intervention and the identification of the need for special support. FSHS provides the healthcare of bachelors’ and masters’ degree students.

You can find more about good studying ability here.

Students have the right to study and live in an environment that is safe and does not cause harm to their health. The owner of the building is responsible for the maintenance and repair of the buildings and for determining the causes of the damage. If a student detects indoor air problems that are harmful to health at the university’s premises, they should visit the doctor’s office and report their findings to the university’s facilities via email tilat@oulu.fi. Service requests can also be sent by students through the Personnel Intra Patio.

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