Information for students, faculty and staff regarding COVID-19. (Updated: 17 September 2020)

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Degree projects, exams and public defences

(Updated: 3 September 2020, 12:10).


In general, the Public Health Agency of Sweden’s guidelines about social distancing must be taken into consideration and the Government’s prohibition of public gatherings of more than 50 people must be respected also in terms of examinations. This means that the opportunity of carrying out written examinations in halls or other examinations involving physical presence can be affected.

The Vice-Chancellor has decided to extend the validity of the decision Deviations from course syllabus to prevent further spreading of COVID-19 (FS 3.1.4-667-20) until 17 January 2021. This means that deviations may be made from established formats of teaching and examination in course syllabi to the extent necessary to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The person who normally makes decision on course syllabi and examinations also makes decisions of necessary deviations and ensures that the decision is well-documented and archived.

In those cases where an examination requires access to a computer or internet connection, students must be offered such aids that allow them to participate from a technical perspective.

Rescheduling examinations

If it is necessary, in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19, it can be allowed to schedule an examination session outside of the time frame of the course. Such a decision must be used considerably restrictively, and the examination session must be scheduled for a time as close to the original session as possible. First and foremost, the time frame within which the course is offered must be adhered to, which can mean that the examination session may be scheduled earlier than normal.

If an examination session is rescheduled, the course coordinating department must ensure that the examination session does not coincide with teaching on following courses. The person who makes decisions on necessary rescheduling of examinations is responsible for ensuring that the decision is documented, registered in the registry and that students concerned are informed. A student representative must, whenever practically possible, be consulted before a decision is reached.

Adapting examinations

If the course syllabus states that a course must be assessed through a campus-based or other form of written examination that cannot be conducted under these new circumstances, the Vice-Chancellor has decided that deviations from the examination format stated in the syllabus can be made to reduce the risk of further spreading COVID-19.

Recommendations have been compiled to help those who need to adapt examinations due to COVID-19.

Recommendations on adapting examinations

Read the Decision to make deviations from course syllabus

Documenting deviations from a course and programme syllabi and postponing a course instance

The Student Services Office has established a guide and a template describing how to document decisions to deviate from course and programme syllabi. All guides and templates are available in both Swedish and English.

Guide and template for deviations from course syllabi

Guide and template for deviations from a programme syllabus and postponing a course instance

Read Deviations from course syllabus to prevent further spreading of COVID-19

Live monitoring but no recording allowed via Zoom for examination purposes

When Zoom is used in education and for examination of students, the University has legal support for personal data processing. The personal data processed in Zoom are Umu-id, name, role and email address. There is an existing data processor agreement with Sunet for Zoom.

Hence, the only thing you need to consider when using Zoom is to not process sensitive personal data or confidential information (for instance in video chat forums). GDPR, however, is no hindrance for using Zoom, but students ought to be informed about the processing of personal data.

When it comes to recording students (in their homes or other non-campus locations) via Zoom, this goes against the General Data Protection Regulation and is not allowed. But monitoring students during an examination through a streamed virtual meeting that does not record is allowed.

Learn more

Read the recommendations for adapted examinations

Personal data processing when teaching and examining remotely

Read more about the principles for university processing of personal data

Contact the university data protection officer

Faculties have decided on the details for how to hold public defences of doctoral theses. Those concerned will receive information from the respective faculty. If you have any questions, please contact your faculty.

Posting ceremonies have previously been cancelled due to COVID-19. However, the Umeå University Library is now allowing bookings for posting ceremonies again. Ceremonies must have no more than 50 participants and social distancing must be respected. The electronic posting through DiVA must still take place at least three weeks before the public defence of the doctoral thesis.


Public defences of doctoral theses

New routines for written exams in halls

To reduce the spread of COVID-19 during written exams in examination halls, the University introduced new, temporary routines on 17 August 2020.

Students must be signed up

All students must be signed up for the exam and be listed on the registration list that the department submits to the examination service in order to take the exam. Students who have not signed up on time will not be allowed to take the exam.

More entrances

Instead of only using the main entrance, there will be four entrances to Östra Paviljongen (the Eastern Pavilion Examination Halls). These will be assigned to the different examination halls.

Find out what entrance is to be used for each examination hall

Different starting times

To reduce unnecessary gatherings at Östra Paviljongen, the examination starting times will be different for different halls. The starting times for four of the halls will be 8:00 and 16:00. The starting time for the other four halls will be 9:00, 14:00 and 18:00. Some exceptions may be made.

Entering the examination hall

To reduce the risk of causing queues into the examination halls, the invigilator will not check students’ identification and registration at the door. Instead, the invigilator will do so once the exam has started. Lists of registered students will be posted outside each hall.

Reduced contact with teachers during exams

To avoid several people using the same phone and taking unnecessary contact with the invigilator, students will not be able to phone their teacher if there are obscurities in the exam. Instead, students are asked to make a note of this in their exam. Teachers are not allowed to visit the examination hall during the ongoing exam either. If a situation should arise regarding questions of aids or missing questions in the exam, the invigilator may call the teacher.

Handing in an exam

When handing in an exam, the student will approach the invigilators table, show their identification and hand in the exam. A new routine is the Plexiglas sheet distancing the invigilator from the students. Also, a maximum of one student may queue at any given time at a safe distance according to markings on the floor.

In addition, students will be urged to maintain physical distancing, avoid talking to the invigilator and each other to the extent possible.


Find out more about doctoral studies on the page Doctoral studies.