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Processing student complaints

Processing of complaints from students concerning first and second cycle education at the Faculty of Social Sciences

It is actually relatively rare, but it does happen that students complain about what happens in a course to the point when it is hard to know what to do. The Faculty has set up a common process for these occasions, so both students and teachers know the options. In this appendix we present the faculty guidelines in full.


This page describes the processing of education-related complaints from students at the Faculty of Social Sciences.

Before students proceed with a complaint, they should find out what rules apply in various situations. Students’ rights and obligations at Lund University (LU) are described in the List of students’ rights (see link below). For example, the list describes what applies to the study environment, course syllabi and timetables, exams and assessment, degree projects and course evaluation. Another important document that governs education is the relevant course syllabus. It is also possible to obtain information by contacting the study advisor at the department.

Students with a complaint can primarily turn to the relevant lecturer/course director or to the programme director. In many cases the problem can be solved closest to where it arose. For further processing of a complaint, please see the flow chart below.

At LU there is a student representative to whom students with a complaint can turn for support and help. The student representative is not part of the University administration, but an independent party whose role is to support and guide the students’ unions and the students in their case. The students can also obtain support and advice from the Social Sciences Students’ Union. Support from the student representative or the Social Sciences Students’ Union does not require membership in the students’ union.

The flow chart below aims to clarify the work flow and contact people in cases of student complaints at the Faculty of Social Sciences. The fundamental principle is that a case is to be processed promptly, documented and registered according to the usual procedures. All student complaints that become cases are to be registered at LU (official document).

The description of the procedure does not prevent a student from appealing a decision pursuant to Chapter 12 of the Higher Education Ordinance (see below) or reporting LU to the Swedish Higher Education Authority. At LU, it is also possible to turn directly to the vice-chancellor according to guidelines approved on 12 March 2015 (see link below).

The procedure description/flow chart does not cover:

  • Cases dealing with discrimination or harassment (pursuant to the Discrimination Act 2008:567 and the Work Environment Act 1977:1160). Information on where to turn for these issues is available separately (see link below).
  • Cases that concern Chapter 12 of the Higher Education Ordinance: assessment of qualifications and admission, approved leave from studies, deferred entry, credit transfer of previous studies, requests for exemption from study components and applications for degree certificates. If the decision on such matters goes against the applicant, he or she can apply to the Higher Education Appeals Board. Information on how to do this is to be attached to the decisions.
  • Disciplinary matters, that are to be processed by the vice-chancellor/disciplinary board (pursuant to Chapter 10 Section 3 of the Higher Education Ordinance).
  • Changes to grading decisions (pursuant to information approved on 2 December 2015, see link below).

The present document is to be published on each department’s website and information about the document should be disseminated to new students at the Faculty of Social Sciences in connection with course/programme introductions. The document was produced in collaboration with the Social Sciences Students’ Union.

Processing of students’ complaints at the Faculty of Social Sciences

Flowchart that shows how student complaints are processed.

* The lecturer or the director of studies concerned can also choose to take
unresolved issues to the next level.

Relevant links

List of rights for students at Lund University

Guidelines on handling complaints from students concerning first, second and third cycle studies at Lund University (LU central document regulating these matters). Document approved on 12 March 2015

How to process cases of discrimination or harassment

Changes to grading decisions (official document approved on 2 December 2015).