Common words and terms

Get familiar with some of the words you will encounter during your studies.

Faculties and departments run your education

During your time with us, you will often hear that it is your faculty or department that is responsible for various aspects of your studies and student life. This is because faculties and departments organise and run the University's educations.

A faculty brings together several related subjects in education and research. The faculty is responsible for quality assurance and coordination within its area of operation, but is divided into departments. It's the departments that are responsible for education and research at the University. They offer programmes and courses in one or more subjects within the faculty's field of activity. The department that is responsible for your course or programme is often referred to as your home department on the Student Portal.

If you are enrolled in a programme, there may be programme-specific courses that are run by a different department (sometimes from a different faculty) than the one responsible for your programme. By logging into the Student Portal and visiting My Page, you can see which faculty and department your education belongs to.

Academic calendar

At the University of Gothenburg, official dates are set for the autumn and spring semesters, but not for summer courses. Always check your schedule, some courses may start or end outside the official semester dates.

Semester dates

Breaks and public holidays

When the spring semester ends in June, students get a two and half-month break, until the autumn semester starts. The University isn’t completely closed; there are summer courses available. There are no official winter or spring breaks.

There are also no official breaks in the academic calendar for public holidays in Sweden. However, in practice there is usually a break from classes around public holidays such as Christmas, New Year's and the Easter. The exact dates are determined by each department, so please check with the programme/department to confirm when classes are out.

Teaching, self-study and exams

Studying at the University often involves a combination of teacher-led sessions and self-study. The structure of teaching at the University of Gothenburg varies between departments and programmes.

You are usually expected not only to summarise the facts from lectures and other educational sessions but also to evaluate and analyse them. Most courses include one or more examinations, which can take various forms, for example written sit-down, verbal or take-home examinations. Examinations are not only given at the end of the semester.

The student-teacher interrelation

The academic lifestyle at the University of Gothenburg, and generally in Sweden, is relaxed and friendly. Teachers and academic staff are adressed by their given name. As a student, you are encouraged to ask questions and debate in the classroom and other teaching sessions.

Time commitment for your studies

The time you need to dedicate to your studies depends on various factors, including your course load, programme requirements, your own study habits, and your prior knowledge in the subject matter.

The extent of your studies determines how much time you need to dedicate to your studies. For instance, if you're studying full-time, it means you'll need to invest approximately the same number of hours in your studies as you would if you were working full-time.

Avoid cheating and plagiarism

Cheating is a violation it the rules that the University of Gothenburg takes very seriously. It is your responsibility as a student to be aware of and follow the rules.  While cheating on an exam is commonly known to be wrong, the concept of plagiarism is not always as easy to grasp and can look different in different countries. Plagiarism involves presenting someone else's text or other material as if it were your own, for example by not marking a quote or copying a material without correct referencing.

About cheating and plagiarism

Grades at the University of Gothenburg

Grading scales vary at different universities and colleges in Sweden, because each university or college determines the grading systems to be used. At the University of Gothenburg, there are five different grading systems.

When you have completed a component of a course, you receive a partial grade for that component. When you have completed all the components, you receive an overall grade for the entire course. The conditions for each grade are outlined in the course plan.

Grading systems

Student discounts

As a student in Sweden you have access to a whole range of student discounts. The best way to find (and to be able to use) student discounts is buy getting a student card. Many of the University's student unions does also work actively to offer discounts to their members.

It's good to know that you don't automatically receive a discount card when you start studying at the University of Gothenburg. Your GU card also doesn't provide you with student discounts.

There are several different student cards that you can apply for on your own. The most common student cards are:

  • Mecenat gives you access to thousands of student discounts, online, in stor and with public transportation, for example travel discounts with SJ (Swedish Railways). A Mecenat card is automatically provided to student union members and students receiving financial aid from CSN.
  • Studenkortet STUK is a discount and benefits card for students in Sweden.
  • WeStudents (information in Swedish only) provide access to hundreds of local and national student discounts.