Individual arrangements support studies

By selecting a degree programme you are able to see the general content as well as the possible degree programme-specific content. You do not have to select a degree programme to see the Open University's instructions.

This instruction features information about individual arrangements, intended to support your studies. Individual arrangements must be based on sufficient and documented reasons as well as a genuine need for them. If you are not sure whether you have the right to request individual arrangements, please contact an accessibility liaison (specialneeds@helsinki.fi).

What kinds of individual arrangements are available?

Individual arrangements are practical arrangements for teaching, supervision or examination. Individual arrangements are intended to help you reach the learning objectives of the courses and the degree. All students are assessed with the same assessment criteria, and any individual arrangements employed have no bearing on the assessment.

The content and implementation of the individual arrangements will be determined by your individual needs and situation. individual arrangements may include:

  • Additional time to complete an examination or to submit assignments
  • Use of a computer in examinations
  • A smaller or separate examination room
  • Alternative completion methods

If the illness or injury affecting your studies is short-term or temporary, it is not a question of individual arrangements. Instead, you can contact the supervising teacher or student services, who can help you plan your studies during your temporary illness. If you are not sure whether you can get individual arrangements, you can contact the accessibility liaisons. You can reach all accessibility liaisons by e-mailing specialneeds@helsinki.fi.

Studies required for a degree can only be waived for extremely compelling reasons (e.g., a deaf student has a compulsory listening comprehension examination). The primary means of handling such cases is to agree on an alternative form of completion with the coordinating teacher or unit.

When and how do I request a recommendation for individual arrangements?

If you need individual arrangements only for a single course or examination, you can arrange them directly with the teacher or the Examination Services (read more about individual arrangements for examinations). If your illness, disability or challenges have a wider impact on your studies, or if you do not want to show your health certificate to the teacher, you can apply for the university's recommendation for individual arrangements.

If you need a recommendation, start by contacting the accessibility liaison of your local service by email (specialneeds@helsinki.fi.s). In your message, mention which faculty you are a student of or whether you study at the open university.

Get in touch with the accessibility liaison as early as possible. If necessary, you can arrange a meeting with the accessibility liaison to map out more precisely what kind of individual arrangements you would benefit from in your studies. Through the accessibility liaison, you can get support in making a personal study plan that takes into account the pace of study that suits your situation, as well as the methods and order of the courses. 

It is a good idea to bring all the expert statements that show your need for individual arrangements to the meeting. Based on the conversation and the expert statements, the accessibility contact person can write recommendations for you. The accessibility contact person can also direct you to a study psychologist for a more detailed survey of the situation regarding individual arrangements or advise you to apply for recommendations through the individual arrangements expert panel.

What kind of certificate do I need for individual arrangements?

To be granted individual arrangements, you must have a certificate from a doctor or an equivalent expert, such as a psychologist, speech therapist or physical therapist. A certificate of dyslexia can also be written by a special education teacher. Recommendations written by other universities are not accepted.  

The statement must include the following points:

  • to whom the certificate is written (student's name and social security number)
  • motivation for individual arrangements: what kind of illness, disability or challenge is involved and what effect it has on the studies

It is also good if the certificate indicates what kind of concrete arrangements you could benefit from.

If you need healthcare aids, a personal assistant or a guide dog during your studies, you can use them in teaching situations without a separate recommendation. However, clarification is necessary if you need a small group room or a separate examination room and you use aids or a personal assistant there. The accessibility liaison for the Examination Services (specialneeds@helsinki.fi.s) is responsible for these arrangements.

What to do in a teaching or examination situation?

If you need individual arrangements for a certain course, contact the teacher before the course starts or as early as possible. If the individual arrangements concern a course examination, also agree on that with the teacher (for more information, see individual arrangements for examination). The teacher is entitled to see an expert certification or a recommendation by the university indicating the need for individual arrangements. The teacher is not entitled to take a copy of the certification.

If your disability prevents you from gaining access to the teaching space, or you require the course materials as voice recordings or in braille, contact Student Services in early spring to secure arrangements for the coming academic year. This is to ensure that there is time for teaching facilities to be booked in time and the teaching material to be rendered into the appropriate format.

If you have questions about individual arrangements, please contact the accessibility liaisons in matters related to studies and examinations (specialneeds@helsinki.fi.s). In your message, mention which faculty you study at or if you are a student at the open university. 

What should I do if I need extra support in using Sisu?

If you are not able to use Sisu due to the accessibility issues in Sisu (for example due to visual impairment), contact specialneeds@helsinki.fi. You will get an appointment with an accessibility liaison. The accessibility liaison and if needed the educational planning officer will help you draw up the study plan and register for courses. The meeting can be conducted online or in person. You do not need a doctor’s certificate to get extra support in using Sisu.

Individual arrangements expert panel

The university has an expert panel which can provide a recommendation for individual arrangements if you are a degree student. You can request a recommendation from the expert panel if:

  • The teacher or accessibility liaison cannot resolve your need for individual arrangements
  • You have had problems receiving the individual arrangements you need

The expert group can make recommendations for which there are sufficient grounds and that are considered to benefit the student. For example, a recommendation of alternative methods instead of participating in face-to-face teaching is only justified if it is necessary for health reasons and possible considering the learning outcomes of the course.

When requesting a recommendation from the expert panel, complete a free-form application (pdf) according to the instructions. Please send the application with attachments via email using secure email connection erityisjarjestelyryhma@helsinki.fi.s. More information about confidential email can be found here.

The next meeting of the expert panel will be held on 27 January 2023. Applications must be submitted by 17 January 2023.

Processing of data at the University of Helsinki

Information on individual arrangements is confidential and processed by the university only by persons who need information for the planning and/or implementation of individual arrangements. Read more about the information security practices of the University of Helsinki and about the processing of students' personal data on the Data Protection website.

Useful links within the university

You can find information about teaching facilities' accessibility on the teaching facilities website.

If you need individual arrangements to visit a library, read more on the library website.

Language Centre organizes English and Swedish courses which take into account of language anxieties and diverse learning

Useful links outside of the university

More information about various support services via the links below.