General rules on study and assessment

Approved with subsequent amendments by the RU Curriculum Council on 5.6.2015 and by the RU Executive Committee on 11.6.2015.

1. Registration

1.1 Registration for and Withdrawal from Examinations/Courses and Registration for Repeat Examinations and Supplementary Examinations Due to Illness

Students are responsible for registering for courses before the registration deadlines announced on the University Academic Calendar, course registration is also registration for examinations for that course.

Students are responsible for their own study, including course registration and ensuring that their course selection is in accordance with the course/department regulations and with rules on course advancement and prerequisites.

Registration for courses is possible in the first two weeks of each semester. The deadline for withdrawal from courses is after the fourth week of the semester. Students who would like to withdraw from a course must send an e-mail to the RU Teaching Affairs department (, before the deadline for that semester. Students may change their registration for the three week courses during the last week of each 12 week period. Please note that special rules apply for course registration for master studies in the School of Law and can be reviewed on the School web site.

Students failing to appear for final examinations and who have not given a legitimate notice and explanation for their absence receive a grade of 0 for the course. Students who do not fulfil prerequisites for taking a final examination, receive a grade of 0 for the course.

Those who are ill on the date of a final examination have the option of taking a repeat examination. (for details see Article 5). Registration for repeat examinations due to illness takes place as soon as the student has submitted a medical certificate, cf. Article 5.1 in these rules. Repeat examinations take place after final examination results have been posted. The relevant dates are published in the Academic Calendar.

Registration for repeat examinations takes place on the dates published in the Academic Calendar. If a student chooses to withdraw from a repeat examination he or she shall send notification by e-mail to no later than prior to the start of the examination. The fee for repeat examinations is published under Tuition Fees on the RU web site. The fee for a repeat examination is non-refundable.

1.2. Rules on Student Transfers between Departments

A student wishing to transfer to another department within the same RU School must submit a written application to that effect to the relevant School. Such transfers to another department can only be made between semesters.

A student wishing to transfer to another RU School must submit a new application to the School in question. Being registered for studies in one School does not guarantee admission to another school.

1.3 Maximum Number of Credits

A student can register for a maximum of 36 ECTS per semester. The relevant School can permit a student to register for one course per semester in excess of full-time studies (30 ECTS). If the reasons are deemed satisfactory, further exemptions from the above-mentioned rule may be granted.

1.4 Rules on Attendance

All students are required to maintain a good level of attendance and remain engaged with their programmes of study. Students are responsible for familiarising themselves with special rules on compulsory attendance which apply to courses they are registered for.

1.5 Exams Taken

Students are allowed to register for course for the maximum of two time and take the examinations associated with that course twice. Attending a course means that a student is still registered in a course after the deadline for withdrawal has passed.

Students who apply for taking a course or examination again, which they have already completed, in order to raise their prior grade, must submit the application to the relevant School. If students give a legitimate notice of their absence or withdraw from an examination, the prior grade stands. The grade for an examination that is taken again always stands, irrespective of whether it is higher or lower than the previous grade.

1.6 Re-Enrolment

Students who do not fulfil School requirements concerning study progress (see further information in School rules) can apply for re-enrolment at the School office. Upon re-enrolment, undergraduate students must repeat courses that they have completed with a grade lower than 6.0. At the Master's level, school rules on minimum grades apply in courses that are evaluated for credit transfer upon re-enrolment.

1.7 Extra Credits

Students finishing their studies with extra credits, i.e. more credits than required for the final degree in question, can request that selective courses corresponding the number of extra credits taken, should be excluded from the graduation papers. A request for such an exclusion must be submitted at least nine days before the formal graduation date.

A course, taken by a student, that is substantially similar in content as another course that the student has already finished, cannot be evaluated as a part of the degree in question.

1.8 Advancement in studies and transfer of credits

Reykjavik University has unified rules for advancement in studies and transfer of credits, both for BA/BSc studies and for master studies. These rules, which can be reviewed on the University web site (see links below), e.g. address advancement, maximum study times, transfer of credits and study leave.

General Rules for advancement in BA and BSc studies and transfer of credits at RU

General rules for master studies at RU

2. Rules on Final Examinations and Grades

2.1 Final Examination Procedures

Written and oral final examinations are held at the end of each semester. The examination schedule shall be available six weeks before the first final examination is held. The Directorate of Examinations reserves the right to change the examination schedule within 7 weekdays of its publication. When final examinations in individual courses are held outside the regular examination period, the rules on examination procedure shall be followed insofar as possible. In such cases, responsibility for upholding the proper examination procedure rests with the teacher(s) and school/department concerned, in consultation with the Director of Examinations. See further information in Article 6.

2.2 Director of Examinations and Directorate of Examinations

The Director of Examinations consults with the relevant School Deans and the Director of the Department of Preliminary Studies on the arrangement of examinations. The Directorate of Examinations consists of the Director of Examinations and the Director of Teaching Affairs.

2.3 Examination Period

The time allowed for written final examinations shall never be less than two hours or longer than four hours. The School Dean, in consultation with the Director of Examinations, can nevertheless allow exceptions in particular courses. The teacher or teacher's stand-in must be in attendance at least once during the examination to answer any questions regarding doubtful points or other aspects of the examination. Students are responsible for reporting clashes in their student examination timetable to the Director of Examinations, so that arrangements can be made to take the exams one after the other.

2.4 Posting of Final Examination Grades

Grades for final examinations (oral and written) at the end of a course shall be posted no later than seven working days from the examination date. Grades for supplementary examinations due to illness and repeat examinations shall be posted no later than five working days from the examination date. Teachers grading large numbers of examinations may apply for an exemption from this rule to Teaching Affairs. Teachers give notice of granting such a postponement on the course's website. See Article 3.1 for information on the posting of grades in the Department of Preliminary Studies.

Grades for final essays (at the Bachelor's and Master's levels) shall be available no later than ten weekdays before the graduation date of the semester involved. For further information, see rules on submission of final thesis.

2.5 Entry of Final Grades

Teachers enter final grades for their courses in the electronic learning system, where they are saved, and the course is closed. The Teaching Affairs department releases student grades after teachers have closed their courses.

2.6. Release of Grades

The Teaching Affairs department reserves the right to postpone the release of final grades until the last examination has been taken in a course of study/academic year/School.

3. Special Rules on Examinations – Department of Preliminary Studies

3.1 Examinations

The length of time for written final examinations shall generally not exceed three hours. Final course grades shall be posted no later than seven weekdays from the date of the examination. Final grades for the last final examinations of each examination period shall be posted before teachers in the Department of Preliminary Studies conduct a formal review of examinations with students. Students have the right to see how their written examinations were marked and get their teacher's explanations at the Department's formal review of the exam, which shall take place within three days of all grades being released, on a date published on the RU website.

3.2 Grades in the Department of Preliminary Studies

To pass a course, the grade on the final examination must be at least 4.0 and the final grade for the course must be at least 5.0. Course components other than the final examination are not part of the final grade unless the final examination grade is at a minimum 4.0. All course components and their proportion in each course is specified in course descriptions and on the course website.

In other respects RU's General Rules on Study and Assessment apply to students in the Department of Preliminary Studies.

4. Course Assessment, Grading and Examinations

4.1 Composition of Assessment

Reykjavik University emphasises diverse compositions of assessments. Assessment can be based on class attendance, class participation, essays, presentation, projects, term examinations, final exam, reports, peer-review or web based discussions.

The principal course teacher(s) is responsible for writing all examinations and assignments presented in the course as well as the composition for the final grade. One final grade is given for each course in which a student is registered.

4.2 Connection between assessments and learning outcomes

All assessment components, the final exam included, should be clearly described and associated to the learning outcomes of the course.

4.3 The weight of each component in the final grade shall be specified on the course website at the start of the course.

If the grade for a practical examination is to be made up of more than one part, the weight of each part shall be made clear to the students before the examination is taken.

4.4 Right to Take Examinations and Minimum Requirements

Successful performance on practical components of a course, class attendance and/or assignments may be made prerequisites for taking written examinations.

Successful performance on specific components of a course may be made prerequisites for completing the course. Such requirements must be announced at the beginning of the course (see further information in Article 5.1).

4.5 Grading

Grades are given in whole and half numbers on a scale of 0 to 10. A final grade lower than 5.0 for an undergraduate course and 6.0 for a Master's course is a failing mark. In such a case, the student attains no credits for the course. A School may decide on a higher passing grade for individual courses (see the School's rules).

To pass a course, an undergraduate student must receive a grade of at least 5.0 (does not apply to the Department of Preliminary Studies, see Article 3.2) on the final examination. This applies regardless of whether the course is an undergraduate or graduate level course.

To pass a course, a master level student must receive a grade of at least 6.0 on the final examination. This applies regardless of whether the course is an undergraduate or graduate level course.

If the weight of the final examination is less than 20% of the final grade, teachers may depart from the above provision.

A School may also decide to award grades of “passed” or “failed” instead of a numerical grade for individual courses.

4.6 Rules on Examinations, Project Work and Honest Work Methods

Teachers are obliged to explain the structure and weight of individual components in a written exam on the exam itself. Teachers must also detail what support materials/devices students may be used during exams.

Students must work out answers to term and final examinations alone. Students may neither provide to nor accept help from others, and all copying is forbidden.

RU heavily emphasises high-quality scholarly work and integrity in all conduct of its staff and students. Important aspects of high-quality scholarly work include respect for copyright and the full participation of all members in work groups.

To better clarify RU's expectations in this area, the University has created the following code of conduct for doing assignments.

a. Your Own Work

Reykjavik University requires that your projects be your original work. This means that the work you do is your own from beginning to end without assistance from others, and you never copy others' text or work and present it as your own. References shall always be cited and rules on working with references also apply to copying of a student's own work.

Each submitted project shall be unique. All reuse of projects, whether within a course, between courses, or between study programs, is not permitted, unless otherwise noted.

Teachers may make exceptions to the main rule that students may not work together on projects, but this will then be stated in writing in the project description. The same applies to the group assignments. Projects undertaken by a group must be completed from beginning to end by the group. The whole group is responsible for maintaining proper procedure.

b. Your contribution

RU requires that you, as a student, always put forth your best effort in group work and make sure that your contribution is comparable to that of other group members. Teachers may give different grades to individual group members when there is reason to believe that contributions differ considerably.

c. Individual and group projects

In individual projects the student is required to work on all parts of the project alone and without assistance. Group projects may allow for the division of tasks between the members, provided that the contribution of each member is comparable. The whole group, however, remains responsible for the entire project.

The penalty for violation of these rules ranges from the grade of 0 for the project, to 0 in the course, to a reprimand and even to suspension from further studies. See further Article 7.3 of these Rules and RU Code of Ethics.

Students taking an oral examination are not permitted to discuss or in any other way exchange information on its content while the examination is in progress. If a student is caught engaging in such behaviour, the matter shall be referred to the Dean of the School for a ruling, cf. Article 7 of these Rules.

Penalties for violating these rules fall under Article 7.3. Regarding the handling of such matters, see Chapter 7 of these rules.

4.7 Rules on Submitting Assignments

Course teachers set rules concerning submission deadlines for assignments at the beginning of the term, and students must submit their assignments before the deadline passes. A teacher may however accept late assignments and deduct lateness penalties from the grades. Such possible lateness penalties should be informed and explained at course start.

Teachers must turn in grades for assignments and exams, and other assessments carried out during the term, no later than ten working days after the submission/exam date. If the teacher estimates, that due to the assignment/exam content and length, that it will take more than ten days to evaluate the assignment/exam, he is obliged to inform the students about the delay on the course web site, no later than on the submission date of the assignment.

4.8 Rules on Taking Examinations on Computers

Students taking examinations on computers may only use the software/programs specified by the examination supervisor/teacher. During an examination a student is absolutely forbidden to use a communications program, communications devices or software/programs other than what has been specified. It is only permissible to save examination documents to the directory specified by the examination supervisor.

If someone taking an examination leaves the computer unattended during the examination, e.g., to go to the toilet, he or she must leave the computer so that examination answers are not visible to others on the screen.

People taking an examination are entirely responsible for regularly saving their examination documents and submitting them in a timely manner at the end of the examination. If people use their own computers to take an examination, the examination supervisor or Director of Examinations reserves the right to examine the documents and programs/software in the computer used while taking the examination. The examination supervisor also reserves the right to examine other software in the computer and its use. Examination takers taking examinations on computers are allowed into the examination room 15 minutes before the examination starts.

5. Repeat Examinations and Students' Right to Appeal

5.1 Supplementary Examinations Due to Illness and Submission of Medical Certificates

Students registered for but unable to attend an examination because of illness shall notify RU Teaching Affairs of their absence on the day that the examination takes place. A medical certificate must be submitted to the University's reception desk within three working days of the examination date; otherwise, the student will be deemed to have forfeited his or her right to take the examination (the examination date is not counted as one of the three working days).

Medical certificates must state the confirmation of a doctor that the student was ill on the same day that the examination took place. The certificate shall also state the name of the course and/or examination for which the student gives notice of absence. The same applies if a student is unable to attend an examination because of his/her child's illness. Only medical certificates that are handed in during office hours within the above time limit will be considered valid. Certificates not correctly dated will be deemed invalid.

Notices of absence from home exams must be made by email to and to the teacher before the examination begins. Absences from home examinations cannot be reported after they have been administered to students.

Students submitting certificates for main examinations within the above time limit are automatically registered for a supplementary examination due to illness. They must notify RU Teaching Affairs before a supplementary examination due to illness is held if they elect not to take the examination.

The teacher is responsible for preparing and administering term examinations and assignments. Information on their arrangement shall be in place at the start of the course, including whether a supplementary examination due to illness or repeat examination (-submission) is involved, and if not, what the response will be to illness in the overall course assessment.

5.2 Repeat Examinations

Repeat examinations and supplementary examinations due to illness are usually held each semester after the final examination. Repeat examinations or supplementary examinations due to illness replace final examinations, but grades for assignments and term examinations or other types of course assessment remain unchanged. Only students showing up for final examinations or giving notice of illness (cf. Article 5.1 ) are eligible for repeat examinations or supplementary examinations due to illness. Students who are ill during a main examination and appear for a supplementary examination due to illness but do not get the minimum passing grade or are ill during both examinations, have no right to repeat the examination. Such students must therefore retake the course in order to qualify for a right to take the examination.

5.3 Place of Examination

Students living outside the capital area can apply to the Director of Examinations for a supplementary examination due to illness or a repeat examination held at certain examination sites outside the capital area (Ísafjörður, Sauðárkrókur, Akureyri, Egilsstaðir, Höfn and Vestmannaeyjar). Students registering for a supplementary examination due to illness or a repeat examination must send a request regarding an examination site to

However, permission to take examinations at the above-mentioned examination sites is subject to the permission of the Director of Examinations and teacher, who evaluate each individual instance.

5.4 Formal Examination Review and Complaints

Students are entitled to explanations from their teachers of their scoring of answers to examination questions if they request this within five days of the grades' posting. The teacher shall comply with such requests before the supplementary examination due to illness or repeat examination is held, or within seven weekdays, whichever is earlier (for information on formal review of examinations in the Department of Preliminary Studies, see Article 3.1).

A student who has failed a final examination and is dissatisfied with the teacher's evaluation may file a complaint with the Director of Examinations. Doing this is subject to the condition that the student has reviewed his or her answers with the teacher before submitting the complaint. The same applies to term examinations and the submission of assignments. The complaint shall be made in writing and lodged within three weekdays of the date of the formal review of an examination or a teacher's return of an assignment where appropriate.

5.5 External Examiners

If a student files a complaint on the evaluation of a written examination, an external examiner is appointed in consultation with the School Dean. The external examiner shall independently evaluate the student's examination answers and consistency in review and grading. If the external examiner and teacher disagree on the final grade, the external examiner's grade shall apply. A reviewed grade shall be posted within two weeks of the date the complaint was filed.

An external examiner shall always be present at oral final examinations, and the teacher/teachers and the external examiner shall jointly determine the final grade, and the conclusion cannot be appealed. For final essays/theses graded jointly by the external examiner and instructor, the outcome cannot be appealed.

5.6 Custody of Examination Answers

After the deadline for students' complaints has passed and all review of the examination answers has been completed, they shall be turned over to the Director of Examinations. Examination answers are kept in custody for one year.

5.7 Custody of Final Examinations

RU keeps electronic copies of all final examinations. Final examinations shall be made available to students in the learning management system after the supplementary examinations due to illness and repeat examinations of each term have taken place. The University reserves the right not to publish multiple-choice examinations and supplementary examinations due to illness and repeat examinations.

5.8 Correction of Grades

Teaching Affairs, in consultation with the teacher, can correct obvious errors in calculations or the recording of grades. This is appropriate, for example, when a final grade for the course has already been posted but does not correspond to the combined grades for all the course components or does not take into account that the student must get a minimum passing grade on the final examination in order to pass the course, pursuant to Article 4.3.

6. Examination Procedure

6.1 Examination Rooms

Examination rooms are usually opened 10 minutes before an examination starts. Students coming more than one hour after the examination has begun will not be allowed to take the examination.

6.2 Personal Identification

During an examination students shall make valid personal identification available to invigilators. A student failing to show such personal identification may be barred from taking the examination.

6.3 Invigilation

Invigilators indicate when students shall begin answering examination questions, and when the examination period is over. Students shall then hand in their examination answers if they have not done so already.

6.4 Corrections to an Examination

If it is necessary to present corrections or communicate information to students during an examination, this is done through a verbal announcement from the teacher, by writing the information on a blackboard or distributing printed copies of it to the students involved, in consultation with the Director of Examinations.

6.5 Submission of Examination Answers

Examination answers may not be turned in until one hour has passed from the start of the examination period. At the end of the examination period, all examination answers must be handed in immediately. Students shall nevertheless be given time to put their exam answers in order and label them after the examination time has expired, but no changes or improvements may be made.

Invigilators shall stop students who continue answering examination questions after the examination period is over and inform the Director of Examinations, who will make a decision on further measures.

6.6 Submission of Examination Materials

At the end of all written examinations, students are to turn in to the invigilators the exam questions, their answers to them and scratch sheets.

6.7 Supplementary Materials/Devices

Students are forbidden to use supplementary materials/devices in an examination other than those specified on the cover page of the examination. This includes laptop computers, calculators and other devices. Students may not have overcoats, bags or other items not belonging with the permitted supplementary materials/devices at their desks in the examination room. Any disturbance in the examination room is prohibited. It is permitted to verify that a student is only using those supplementary materials/devices specified on the cover page of the examination.

6.8 Communication Devices

Carrying and using mobile telephones during examinations is forbidden. Students carrying such devices are required to turn them off, put them into a bag or hand them over to the invigilators for safekeeping during the examination. All communication is forbidden during an examination, including communication with equipment that a teacher has authorised in accordance with Article 6.7.

6.9 Dishonesty in the Taking of Examinations

If a student is caught cheating during an examination, the invigilators shall put a stop to the conduct and call on the Director of Examinations, who shall decide on further measures. The Director of Examinations may expel a student from an examination. The relevant student's case is then referred to the School Dean, pursuant to Article 7 on Procedure and Appeals.

6.10 Examination Breaks

Students may only leave their examination desks before they have completed the examination to go to the toilet. This can only be done under the supervision of an escort.

6.11 Labeling of Examinations

Students must always turn in their answer sheets marked with either their names and National ID numbers or examination numbers.

6.12 End of Examinations

Students completing their examinations before the end of the stipulated examination period shall leave the examination room and area without disturbing those who are still taking the exam.

6.13 Examination Numbers

Schools, after consulting with the Director of Examinations, can decide to use examination numbers. 

6.14 Location of Examinations

If there are pressing circumstances, the Director of Examinations may permit a student applying to take an examination elsewhere than on RU's premises to take the examination at another university or educational institution, provided that the student has previously made such arrangements with the institution. Concerning supplementary examinations due to illness and repeat examinations, see Article 5.3.

6.15 Special Solutions

A student wanting a special solution for examinations must submit an application to Reykjavik University's Special Solutions Committee. The members of the committee are the Director of Teaching Affairs, Director of Examinations, one representative from the academic departments, the company doctor, specialist in reading difficulties and a representative from RU Student Councelling sitting on the committee representing the student in question. Further information on special solutions can be found on the University web site.

7 Procedures and Appeals

7.1 General Provision

All decisions concerning students' rights and obligations shall, as applicable, be based on the main rules of administrative law and good administrative practices.

7.2 Appeals

Complaints on the grading of examinations may be lodged with the Director of Examinations, pursuant to the rules of Article 5.

If a student thinks that other decisions relating to teaching and/or examinations violate his or her rights, a written reasoned request for review can be filed within 10 days of the decision involved. If a student is dissatisfied with the outcome of the review, he or she can refer the matter to the Director of Teaching Affairs, who will state a reasoned position on the matter and refer it to the School Dean involved. The School Dean's decision in such matters is final.

7.3 Penalties for Breaches to Rules

Each School Dean decides penalties for breaches of the Rules on Study and Assessment. Such breaches are punishable by:

a)   A grade of 0 for a course component.

b)   A grade of 0 for a course component and a reprimand.

c)   A grade of 0 for the course and a reprimand.

d)   Temporary suspension from the University with a possibility of re-enrolment, which would usually mean absence for one semester and a reprimand.

e)   Dismissal from the University without any possibility of re-enrolment.

The principal or supervisory course teacher, can decide on the penalty according to item a. (see above) without consulting the Dean of the School. This only applies if the weight of the exam/assignment is less than 10% of the final grade. If the teacher decides to issue such a penalty, he must inform the student in writing. The student can appeal the decision to the dean of the School or the director of the Department of Preliminary Studies.

A student violating the Rules on Study and Assessment generally forfeits the right to elective vocational courses, exchange study programmes as well as opportunities to represent the University.

A School Dean, in exceptional instances, can decide to issue a reprimand to a student without further penalties. Nevertheless, a student cannot receive solely a reprimand for breaching the Rules on Study and Assessment more than once during the course of study.

Repeated violations of the Rules on Study and Assessment entail ever-severer penalties than were applied for the first violation. A repeat violation is generally subject to no lighter a penalty than suspension for one semester and a reprimand or dismissal from the University. Under special circumstances a matter involving a repeat violation may be concluded with a decision pursuant to subparagraph b. In determining a penalty, the importance of the project and seriousness of the breach shall be taken into consideration.

If information surfaces about a student having cheated on an examination or engaged in dishonest working methods when doing projects after a grade has been given for a course component, or the course/curriculum has been completed, the School Dean may invalidate a grade for a course component or course. A School Dean is also authorised to impose other penalties, as relevant. If a final project/thesis is involved, and a student has already graduated, the School Dean may request the Rector to rescind the degree.

7.4 Appeals Committee for University Students

Students who have exhausted all available appeal remedies within the University can submit their cases to the Appeals Committee for University Students in accordance with Article 20 of The Universities Act, no. 63/2006. The function of the Appeals Committee, according to Regulation no. 1152/2006, is to rule on matters where students at public universities and other universities in Iceland believe their rights to have been infringed concerning: 

a)   the conduct of examinations and course assessment, including the administration of examinations, grading procedure, the appointment of external examiners and posting of grades;

b)   the assessment of study progress, including the right to take repeat examinations;

c)   the processing of admission applications, including the assessment of studies completed at other educational establishments;

d)   expulsion from an educational establishment and other disciplinary action.


Was the content helpful? Yes No