Procedure when a course or programme is unsatisfactory - counselling and support

Last changed: 08 February 2023

The doctoral student ombudsman (DO) provides individual support and counselling, and works to find solutions to problems that may arise in the position as doctoral student.

If the faculty board determines that an individual student's programme, or the conditions for the programme, has serious deficiencies, or if the doctoral student or supervisor so request, the faculty board must act. For more detailed information about this, please have a look at chapter 7 in the SLU guidelines for doctoral education. N.B. This chapter concerns all doctoral students admitted at SLU, irrespective of the year of admission.

What can be regarded as "serious deficiencies"?

Examples of serious deficiencies in doctoral programmes:

  • Serious shortcomings in the student's knowledge and proficiency that have been revealed during follow-ups but that have not been remedied.
  • Supervision has repeatedly and to a large extent failed to meet the quality requirements for doctoral education.
  • One of the parties has repeatedly failed to meet his/her commitments under the individueal study plan (ISP) without valid reason.
  • There have been repeated failures to follow up the programme under chapter 6.2 of the SLU guidelines for doctoral education without valid reason.

What will be the next step if something has failed?

1. If the deficiencies cannot be remedied using ordinary planning and follow-up procedures, a new and more detailed ISP must be drawn up. This new ISP must be followed up regularly at short intervals; the result of the follow-ups must be reported to the faculty board.

2. If using a new ISP does not remedy the deficiencies, and the faculty board decides that the principal supervisor has not fulfilled his/her commitments, a decision must be taken to change supervisors.

3. If using a new ISP does not remedy the deficiencies, and the faculty board decides that the doctoral student has not fulfilled his/her commitments, further investigation will be necessary.

How will a further investigation of the possible deficiencies of the doctoral student be carried out?

Relevant documentation (all ISPs, any follow-up reports, etc.) must be included in the file on the matter. With the support of the Legal Affairs and Documentation Unit and other experts, the faculty board must investigate the matter and give the parties involved the opportunity to express their views. If the student's mother tongue is not Swedish, the support of an interpreter must be provided if the student so requests. If, following this investigation, the faculty board decides that the student has substantially failed to meet his/her obligations, the faculty board will propose that the right to supervision and other resources be withdrawn for the student.

Documentation of the matter will then be collated so that it can be examined by SLU's head of legal affairs. The assessment made by the head of legal affairs will be included in the documentation based on which the Vice-Chancellor makes a decision. A faculty board representative will present the matter to the Vice-Chancellor, who decides on withdrawal of the right to supervision under Chapter 6, Section 30 of the Higher Education Ordinance.