FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS REGARDING STUDIES
The University Rector adopted new guidelines on studies. Please, find the answers to the most frequently asked questions.
By: From: CU Public Relations Office
On 27 March 2020, after assessing the conclusions of the university executive and following discussions with the Rector’s College, Comenius University Rector Marek Števček adopted these guidelines on studies during this emergency. Below we have given our answers to the questions we have been receiving most frequently.
HOW WILL SUBJECTS BE COMPLETED?
Wherever possible, your course should end before the summer starts. If the course was to end with an exam or test, your lecturer can change the way it is administered. If your course requires laboratory exercises or practical work, and it really cannot be done online, you can take the exam in August and this will still be counted as regular assessment. If there is no other option, your course can be moved to the next semester, and your faculty will do its utmost to avoid causing you any further detriment (e.g., by adjusting the number of credits needed for progression and changing the prerequisites).
WHEN WILL THE STATE EXAMS TAKE PLACE?
The exact date of the state exams is determined by the availability of examiners and the possibilities of individual departments and institutes. Information on this will come from your department, institute, and faculty.
WILL STATE EXAMS BE CANCELLED?
No, nothing of that sort is being planned. The Comenius University Executive insists that degrees issued by the university maintain their value and never be doubted. All possible means will therefore be used to meet this requirement.
SO HOW WILL IT WORK?
If the situation remains as it is today, the state exams will take place through distance testing using available software tools. The detailed procedure will be determined by each faculty depending on the nature of the state exams. The Centre for Information Technology (CIT CU) is preparing manuals and recommendations for faculties. We are not able to go into details at this point, but you will learn everything in due time.
WHAT WILL I NEED?
All you need is a regular computer and microphone, or a set of headphones with a microphone. Of course, you also need Internet access. The university cannot provide you with these resources, so please try to think about this in advance. In the case of an emergency, try to contact your local authority or other institution in your place of residence and request their assistance.
I CANNOT WRITE MY THESIS BECAUSE MY RESEARCH DEALS WITH …
Please contact your thesis supervisor and, in line with the Rector's guidelines, try to change the topic and objectives. Many researchers have already encountered a situation where, for objective reasons, they have not been able to meet the original objectives of their research project. This is not unusual.
WHEN SHOULD I SUBMIT MY THESIS?
Deadlines for submission will be published by your faculty.
HOW WILL ENTRANCE EXAMS TAKE PLACE?
Most of the study programmes that are still open are accepting electronic applications. After submitting your application, you will receive a message. Other documents (e.g., certificates and diplomas) can be submitted later in a manner determined by the faculty. The faculty will invite you to the prescribed test or exam at a time which it will announce well in advance and in accordance with the new dates for school leaving exams. Follow the website of the faculty you are applying for in order to find out the necessary information.
WHY IS THE EXAM PERIOD DIVIDED INTO TWO PARTS?
Up to now, the August exam period has generally been for replacement and resit assessment. They have also been the regular assessment period for students who were abroad during the semester and did not manage to complete some exams. It will be possible to pass selected exams in August as if they were part of regular assessment. We are confident that by then the situation will have improved and that some practical exercises and examinations will be able to be done at the faculty in person. However, wherever possible, it is preferable for all assessment to be completed by 4 July 2020.
BUT I AM GOING ON WORK AND TRAVEL IN SUMMER! OR I HAVE OTHER PLANS!
You will most likely have to reconsider whatever it is you have planned for the summer given the current restrictions on free movement. No one can tell how long these restrictions will last, but they are unlikely to be fully relaxed by the summer. Unless there is a dramatic reversal, your university studies will not be the only reason why you will not be able to travel.
WHAT ABOUT DOCTORAL STUDENTS?
For doctoral students, the university executive decided that there would be no changes to the established timetable, which will continue as planned. If something needs to be changed, this will be done by your faculty. Doctoral studies are extremely diverse and vary greatly between disciplines. Most of the submission and assessment dates are set at faculty level anyway and depend on the availability of thesis supervisors, reviewers, and members of assessment committees. For further questions, please contact your supervisor. If they are unable to answer your queries, they can contact the Vice-Dean for Science at the faculty for further guidance. Doctoral study is an individual affair, so we would like to recommend to all doctoral students (including our top fan Peter) that they not seek answers to their questions on social networks but rather from their supervisor.
WILL THERE BE ANY GRADUATION CEREMONIES?
Graduates will receive their degree certificates in the shortest possible time. Graduation ceremonies will take place as soon as is possible and in the scope that circumstances will allow. Master’s level and doctoral graduation ceremonies have priority.
WHEN CAN I COME AND PICK UP MY THINGS FROM THE DORMITORY?
We get this question every day from dozens of people, who also provide various creative suggestions to solve the situation. Normally this would not be a problem, but bear in mind that our dormitories accommodate 9,000 people. If we opened them tomorrow, we would trigger a wave of travel in a situation where all the authorities are urging us to stay home and minimize our movement. The Rector of Comenius University, the university executive, and the dormitory management know about the problem and are looking for a solution, especially for people who really need their things. However, we ask you to be patient.
WHEN WILL THE DORMITORY RETURN MY PAYMENT FOR APRIL?
We are working on it, but it is a complicated operation and the dormitories are dealing with a number of urgent problems. Here too, we ask you for patience.
WILL THINGS CHANGE AGAIN?
Of course they can. We are experiencing a situation for which there is not a steady set of instructions. The situation is constantly changing, and these measures are the result of our best efforts to adapt to it. We are doing what we can. Comenius University has about 800 study programmes with everything from archaeology to dentistry. Moreover, each faculty has different powers in making decisions. No other university in Slovakia is so varied and decentralized. Nevertheless, the university executive is doing everything it can to make the situation as understandable for you as possible, and we are looking for various solutions to unexpected situations.
WHAT WILL HAPPEN NEXT?
We can't say. In assessing the situation, such notable figures as Boris Johnson and his expert team have been repeatedly wrong in hindsight, so we would rather not go down that road. The Rector of Comenius University decided to cancel classes on Sunday 8 March. One day later, our former prime minister indicated that this was premature, and Donald Trump claimed that COVID-19 was just “the common flu”. However, by the end of the same week, both had already declared emergency measures. Therefore, please be patient. At this point, we are assuming that we will be unable to resume full-time tuition before the end of the semester.
WHAT IF THE THREAT PASSES?
As soon as the threat of contagion decreases and it is safe for people to meet again, we will do our best to return to normal operations as soon as possible.
A FEW FINAL WORDS...
Allow us at the CU Public Relations Office and CU Information Centre to thank everyone who has been sending us encouraging messages. We are proud to be working at a university where many of our doctors, researchers, and scientists are in the front line fighting the new coronavirus. We are also proud of our students, particularly our medical students, pharmacy students, and natural scientists, who are testing samples, helping in pharmacies, or working at entrance filter points and at information lines. We are also proud of our psychology students, who have created a system of voluntary psychological support for students, as well as our students of theology, who are planning spiritual counselling. Also, a shout goes out to our management students, who are producing protective shields on 3D printers; our students from the Faculty of Education, who are helping with caring for the children of health workers; and to many others. Thank you all!
Follow the latest information at Coronavirus: Measures at Comenius University