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Do's and don'ts at FSE

You may have to get used to the manner of teaching and examination at the University of Groningen, particularly if you are an international student. This page is meant to give you an idea of the study culture at FSE. What do we consider to be appropriate ‘academic conduct’? If you have questions about norms at FSE or what is expected of you in a certain situation you can ask your academic advisor.

Courses and communication with lecturers

You are expected to arrive in class on time: seated and prepared to listen at the start time of the lecture as indicated in the schedule. If you cannot be present at a mandatory lecture or practical due to extraordinary circumstances such as illness, you should inform the course coordinator by email. Every course unit has a course coordinator, which can be found in Ocasys, our online course catalogue.

Dutch universities are generally not very hierarchical. Nevertheless, if you want to talk to a lecturer, please observe the office hours or make an appointment. Also make sure to be on time; in the Netherlands, 5 minutes late is considered to be too late. If you write an email to a lecturer or other staff member, bear in mind that he or she is not a fellow student, but should be addressed properly (for example, dear Professor X or dear Mr / Mrs X). If you communicate about your degree programme with, for instance, the academic advisor, lecturers, student administration or Board of Examiners, do not forget to mention your name and student number in each message.

You must enroll in a course to participate in it. As some course units have limited capacity, it is important that you deregister on time in case you decide to not participate in a course unit in which you initially enrolled. If you decide to drop a course unit with which you have already started you should inform the course coordinator. It’s impolite to just stay away.

Assignments and deadlines

The Dutch study environment may seem friendly and relaxed, but this certainly has its limits. Students are expected to fulfill all obligations with regard to their classes and hand in assignments and essays on time. A deadline is a deadline and is non-negotiable, except under exceptional circumstances. When you don’t meet all the requirements for a course, fail to hand in your assignments in time or fail to cooperate with other students, you may not be admitted to the exam and may consequently fail the course.


Self-study is a substantial part of the workload for courses in the Dutch university system. You are expected to come prepared to your classes. Consult the course’s Brightspace page on what you are expected to do week by week. You are in charge of your own time; no-one will tell you when to start studying for your exam or preparing your essay. It is highly recommended to divide your workload evenly over the weeks and not to procrastinate. You are welcome to study in one of the libraries rather than just in your own room if you find it more convenient. If you run into trouble you can consult the academic advisor for guidance. The Student Service Centre also offers study skills workshops, for example on effective studying.

Fraud and plagiarism

Over the past years more and more efforts have been made to detect plagiarism and fraud. Students sometimes commit this academic offense unintentionally. The consequences can however be serious: students may be expelled from classes or even from the university. It is very important that you understand what plagiarism is and what you should do to avoid it. What is plagiarism? What is fraud? The main point is that you are not allowed to present someone else’s work or ideas as your own.

Last modified:01 June 2023 10.44 a.m.