Policy guidelines

The policy guidelines of the University of Tartu student body have been established and approved by the Student Parliament, they express the student body’s will in regards to shaping university life and act as guidelines to the student representatives, the student union board and the student union office.


General principles

1.1. The UT student body has the right to independently decide and organise the aspects of student life, drawing from the students’ interests, needs, rights and obligations, and supporting the students’ development into venturesome and responsible citizens. The student body has the right to independently decide on their actions and to start necessary initiatives within the student body.            

2.1. The UT student body’s representatives are in all the UT decision making bodies. In the faculty decision making body, the students have to account for at least 20% of the members. The students are substantially involved and valuable partners to the leaders of the university. 

3.1. The UT student representatives base their actions on the student body policy guidelines and in their absence, exercise discretion while holding the student body’s best interests and needs in mind and, if necessary, consult with fellow representatives, the student union board and office.

4.1. The UT student body’s office guarantees the representation of the student body and the competence of the student representatives in order to participate in the work of the decision making bodies. The UT student body’s office is a part of the UT support structure, which guarantees the democratic elections and consistency of the student representatives and supports the student representatives in their representative activities, by, inter alia, coordinating their activity, offering necessary information and training.

5.1. The UT student union is a valued partner in the cooperation networks that operate both on a national and an international level. The UT student union participates and contributes to the national and international cooperation networks within the limits of its powers and expertise. In the national processes of higher education policy, the UT student union mainly participates as a member of the Federation of Estonian Student Unions.

The higher education offered in the University of Tartu is modern and science based both by the contents and the form. The high-level scientific research guarantees that the contents of the higher education are science based. The modern and science based form of the higher education is guaranteed by a learning-centered approach and the use of scientifically proven effective teaching methods. Achieving learning outcomes are guaranteed to the students with extra needs by adapted teaching and assessing methods.

6.1. Study quality – directing the student’s development in a direction important to the student and society; the learning activities meet the requirements arising from the laws and university regulations; the studies are fit for purpose. 

6.1.1. The university formulates and introduces the principles of quality management and a clear system of quality assurance, which involves cooperation with all the studies’ parties in all parts of the learning process. The quality management system brings together targeting, activities, gathering feedback, involving parties and steps of development activities. The principles of quality management will be implemented in the university at a faculty, institute and curriculum level. 

6.1.2. The education offered at UT is based on learning outcomes, instead of factual knowledge, skills of application, analysis and assessment are preferred. Attention is paid to teaching transferable skills. 

6.1.3. A subject follows the principle of constructive cohesion – the goal, outcomes, contents, methods, assessment method and criteria are compatible with each other. 

6.1.4. The studies are centered on learning – the student and studying is at the centre of the learning process, i.e. the important part is what and how the student obtains in the learning process. 

6.1.5. Written assignments should be anonymised/unpersonalised when being assessed, to rule out the unequal treatment of students at the assessment and promote assessment based on common criteria.

6.1.6. The university has study consultants and educational technologists for the constant development of the study quality, who support the teaching staff and the heads of curricula in developing the studies and teaching skills. For optimal support there needs to be at least 1 study consultant and 1 educational technologist per 400 academic staff members. The funding of the study consultants’ and educational technologists’ positions is a faculty priority and sustainable. The university offers flexible opportunities to develop studies, including targeted support.

6.1.7. In order to increase interdisciplinarity, the bachelor’s curricula allow a selection of a minor specialisation (including from other faculties) and the university offers interdisciplinary master’s curricula.

6.1.8. The studies will be offered with the highest possible quality, no matter the study form, incl. distance learning, e-learning etc.

7.1. Organisation of studies – the faculty’s activity is framed and directed by rules, which harmonise the formal functioning of teaching arrangements.

7.1.1. The university has the Study Regulations that are available, understandable to its users and supportive of modern studies and the development of it.

7.1.2. The changes to the Study Regulations arise from aligning it to the higher legal acts or from the influence of non- and inter-university factors, with the goal to support and develop the study activities. The changes will be coordinated with the student union.

7.1.3. The Study Regulations support learning outcome based studies and the use of modern teaching and assessment methods.

8.1. The study environment –  The combination of the mental, social and physical environments that surround the students and in which the students develop and learn. 

8.1.1. Physical environment Every study building has to have study and recreational rooms or areas and common study opportunities that promote group work, are with a universal design and accessible at the times compatible to the students’ needs. The lighting, fresh air, noise, moisture, temperature and other indicators of the physical environment meet the work and study room standards established in Estonia. All buildings in the campus must be accessible to students with various extra needs. Drinking water (preferably tap water) is accessible and the water machines and taps are adapted to be economical and to allow the refilling of drink bottles. The university offers rooms and opportunities to its student organisations for their operations, including study rooms outside the time of lectures. The rent conditions of the rooms are student friendly and the booking system for the rooms is connected to the university’s other information systems. The university offers enough and diversified options for developing a sporty lifestyle and health. The university promotes and supports an active lifestyle, including in distance learning. In collaboration with the universities, the city government has to guarantee the network for light vehicles and improve the routes and schedules of public transport between the study buildings.

8.2.1. The students’ mental health The university is constantly raising awareness on the nature of mental health issues, prevention measures and the opportunities offered to solve mental health issues. The services offered by the UT Counseling Centre are available to all the students and the university staff members, including those in regional colleges. The UT Counseling Centre booking system is virtual, accessible and user friendly. A mandatory part of the UT tutor’s training program is raising the tutors’ awareness on mental health topics and the prevention and solution measures offered by the university.

9.1. The teaching staff – the persons conducting the teaching work

9.1.1. The positions that assume conducting study activities (including supervising theses) require previous teaching experience, passing theoretical training and/or an agreed plan to pass the relevant training within 3 years from starting the position.

9.1.2. The teaching staff’s professional development in regards to their teaching is supported by centrally coordinated communities of collegial feedback. Starting teaching staff and the teaching staff that wants to develop their teaching are supported by mentors.

9.1.3. The teaching staff’s study, research and leadership assignments’ load’s division and remuneration allows them to focus on the work assignments and is motivating. The university allows a career path that is focused on teaching.

9.1.4. The professional development of the teaching staff is a systemic and constant process and a priority area of personnel policy.

9.1.5. Academic teaching,  including researching one’s teaching, is valued. The publications that  reflect on one’s teaching are equally valued with the speciality publications.

9.1.6. Attesting the teaching staff and filling new positions is based on the teaching staff’s self-analysis, reflection and portfolio, which also includes an analysis of the previously gathered students’ feedback and the action plan related to teaching.

9.1.7. The students, study consultant and programme director are included with at least the right to speak in the process of attesting the teaching staff.

9.1.8. In order to guarantee the integrity of the curricula, the teaching staff, programme director and the programme council cooperate. The teaching staff is responsible for guaranteeing that their subject(s) match the curriculum’s general goals and development activities.

9.1.9. In order to support the future teaching staff, students have an opportunity to participate in conducting studies as a teaching assistant on every study level. The student teaching assistants will be supported diversely via teaching seminars and their activity is recognised and remunerated.

10.1. The curriculum is a collection of subjects with a common objective and learning outcomes, which has specific agreed upon base principles, structure, capacity and organisation. The curriculum is managed by the programme director.

10.1.1. The compliance of the curricula’s content and structure to the objective of the curriculum is regularly assessed, involving the student representatives and other interested parties. The assessments carried out lead to the action plans of development activities, wherein objectives, deadlines and responsible persons are detailed.

10.1.2. Acquiring the learning outcomes of the curriculum are guaranteed by passing the curriculum’s mandatory subjects, preferably, acquiring each learning outcome is guaranteed by multiple subjects.

10.1.3. In a curriculum, a smooth transition between subjects is guaranteed, without unnecessary dublation.

10.1.4. Teaching transferable skills is carried out by an additive, or integrated speciality subjects method.

10.1.5. The curriculum has a mobility window for passing studies and/or an internship abroad. When using the mobility window, finishing the studies in nominal time is guaranteed. 

11.1. The programme director is responsible for the wholeness of the curriculum and the development activities.

11.1.1. The position of a programme director is a valued support structure position in the university. The programme director is granted the necessary workload to arrange their work.

11.1.2. The programme director is guaranteed the resources to carry out the curriculum’s development activities.

11.1.3. The programme director leads the programme council’s work and is responsible for the programme council to carry out regular assessments of the curriculum and to contribute substantially in implementing development activities.

In order to collect information about its activities and to plan and support development activities, the university gathers feedback. Development of the feedback mechanisms has to include various concerned parties and definitely parties such as the students, teaching staff, alumni, entrepreneurs and the representatives of the third sector. There is a specific procedure established for collecting and analysing the feedback and presenting, using and retaining the results. Giving feedback is based on good practice and common courtesy. The feedback surveys are as short as possible, in order to guarantee the maximum substantiality of answers. The platform to present results is a part of the feedback system. The feedback gathered from the students is confidential.

12.1. The feedback on subjects is directed at the development of the subject as a whole, including the organisation of the subject, the materials, teaching methods and assessment. 

12.1.1. Feedback is systematically gathered on every subject’s contents and management and the teaching staff’s teaching activities.

12.1.2. The student’s confidentiality is guaranteed during the gathering of the feedback. The terms for personalising and/or deleting feedback are public.

12.1.3. The responsible teaching staff is responsible for analysing the subjects’ feedback and creating and implementing development plans based on it, also in subjects with multiple lectors.

12.1.4. The quantitative results of the subjects’ feedback is accessible to all students. The student representatives also have guaranteed access to the qualitative results.

12.2. The feedback on the academic year is directed at the development of the curriculum and to map the teaching of cross-subject learning outcomes.The programme director is responsible for the analysis of the academic year feedback survey results and  creating and implementing the development plans based on it.

The study support services encompass services, whose objective is to support the students during their study period in the best way possible, by increasing the student’s ability to handle the studies and awareness in designing their study path and preparing them to enter the job market.

13.1. Counseling services

13.1.1. Counseling services related to the student’s studies, career and extra needs are available to all students, including those in regional colleges.

13.1.2. Career counseling helps the students to make more informed decisions about their studies (including their choice of speciality) and to plan their career. The information on the curriculum choices is accessible to all students for the entire duration of their studies.

13.1.3. Study counseling helps solve organisational and work related questions in studies and is based on the needs of the student.

13.1.4. Psychological counseling is addressed in the study environment’s subchapter on mental health.

13.2. The UT Library and it’s branch libraries offer students an appropriate environment for studying, including group work rooms, at the times suitable for the students. The UT Library guarantees access to the literature and databases necessary for studies with no extra fees.

Doctoral studies are higher education studies, which bind study, research and development or creative activities and whose objective is to acquire the knowledge and skills necessary for independent research, development or a profession’s creative work.

14.1. The university has the good practice of doctoral studies, which describes the university’s vision on organising and passing the doctoral studies. The good practice of doctoral studies is recommended for all parties.

14.2. The creation of study places in the doctorate and admissions meet the capability of the doctoral student and their supervisor and is in accordance with the resources. The supervisor of doctoral studies is advised to have a maximum of up to 5 supervisees. At an attestation of the supervisor, the amount of supervisees can be increased by way of exception, if the existing supervisees have had successful attestations and the feedback to their supervising is positive. The supervisor of the doctoral student has passed (further) training on supervising.

14.3. The doctoral student’s main objective is to do the research agreed upon in the doctoral studies’ plan and acquiring specialized competence. The tasks given to a doctoral student, that are not directly connected to their doctoral studies, are remunerated either financially or by course credits. The doctoral student has the right to refuse additional assignments, if they aren’t directly connected to their doctoral studies and research and their capacity, frequency and/or nature obstructs fulfilling the main objectives.

14.4. The doctoral student has the opportunity to shape their studies according to their individual objectives. The doctoral student’s assignment is to achieve the competence of scientific research and to express it through scientific publications. The university will enable acquiring the skills of leadership, teamwork and composing projects (including financing applications), the competence of teaching and supervising and the knowledge on popularising the speciality and legal protection of intellectual property.

14.5. The doctoral studies’ cross-university subjects’ module is broad and offers choices to develop general competences.

14.6. The objective of the attestation committee is to give feedback to the doctoral student’s work and also to assess the work of the supervisor. The objective of the attestation committee is to assess if the doctoral student has fulfilled the set goals and if the supervisor has supported them enough. In the attestation report there is a spot to give feedback to the study process. There is at least one committee member from outside the university or a person outside the faculty (independent member) included in the work of the committee.

Publicly funded research is a public good, whose results are usable in knowledge based governance, supporting and developing a knowledge based economy, solving big challenges, guaranteeing a good living environment and cultural development. The financing of research is sustainable and it enables high-level research.

15.1. The private sector’s financing of research and development activities is constantly growing and in accordance with the research agreement and the national development plans on research activities.

15.2. Students are included in the activities of research groups as soon as possible. This is enabled by regularly communicating the activities and inclusion opportunities of the research groups to the students, including by proposing research topics.

15.3. Society values the workforce with a doctorate degree. Doctoral students know the worth of their knowledge and skills and how to show it to society. Collaboration projects with the private sector help the specialists with a doctorate degree transfer to private entrepreneurship.

15.4. The university promotes the transfer of knowledge to the private and public sectors. The University of Tartu works towards having businesses collaborate with the university in research and development.

16.1. SIS is comfortable to the user, a practical, safe and modern working environment, which is compatible with the other web-based environments and systems offered by the university. SIS allows compatibility with the web-based environments and systems that the students and the university use. 

16.2. SIS, as a mandatory and official platform for organising the study activities, has to be filled by the teaching staff and programme directors with accurate, new, relevant and understandable information.

16.3. SIS supports the feedback system and using study analytics to collect and use information to develop studies and the study support services in the best way, while not violating the safety or the privacy of the users. In developing SIS, attention is paid to the matter that the students’ personal information and their student ID-s with their names are not publicly available. 

16.4. The web-based study environments necessary for the study activities are user friendly and free to the students and accessible through one common web platform.

The international students belong to the University of Tartu student body and the University of Tartu student union stands for their interests, needs and rights, irrespective of their nationality and origin. We consider all the students that are matriculated to the University of Tartu curricula in Estonia or in some other country as international students.

17.1. All the social guarantees that come with the status of a student and that arise from the state’s and university’s legislation are guaranteed to the international students.

17.2. The international students are guaranteed to have the opportunity to participate in representative work in order to protect the student body’s interests, rights and needs.

17.3. The content of the university’s extra- and intranet is topical and accessible in English.

17.4. The university enables the international students to pass a specialised traineeship and offers the language courses necessary for heading to the Estonian job and traineeship market. The University of Tartu student union encourages the creation of a common database for the job and traineeship offers that are suitable to international students and supports spreading information through the students’ intranet. 

17.5. The University of Tartu English subjects and curricula are quality and student-centered. The English curricula have quality requirements that are equal to the Estonian curricula.

A sustainable and flexible system of financing higher education is important for the functioning and development of the entire field.

18.1. The financing scheme of higher education is formed by a combination of the public and private sector’s contributions, a household’s contribution to higher education will not increase.

18.2. The universities and student bodies work together towards guaranteeing the financing of higher education, that is necessary for maintaining and increasing study quality.

18.2. The state’s and university’s decisions related to the financing of higher education do not raise the cost of living for students.


In connection with the Parliament elections in 2023, at the end of 2022, the Parliament of Student Body adopted five additional positions on financing higher education. These are proposals that the Student Body of the University of Tartu advocates for:

18.4. Higher education is not paid out of the student's wallet, and state funding must rise to 1.5% of GDP.

18.5. The needs-based study allowance must increase to 340 euros per month, and the age to receive it must drop to 21.

18.6. The state must support the private and public sectors to create more dormitory places so that every student has the right to count on them.

18.7. The size of the performance scholarship fund set by the state for the University of Tartu must be increased so that every student with excellent academic results can be supported and recognized.

18.8. The state must guarantee the student loan for every student, its repayment rate must correspond to changes in the cost of living, the profit interest must be 0%, and the repayment must be related to the financial status of the graduate.

The University of Tartu is a role model with its sustainable and environmentally friendly practices. Environmental sustainability is an important part of the university’s development plan, the university measures it consistently and joins international sustainability networks. The student body and the university’s staff act environmentally sustainably.

19.1. UT prefers renewable energy solutions both in regular and thermoelectricity and applies innovative measures to conserve energy. When renovating existing buildings and constructing new ones, it strives towards the highest possible energy efficiency.

19.2. In the UT buildings, water is consumed economically.

19.3. The UT waste management system enables sorting trash – biowaste, paper and cardboard, plastic packages and domestic waste. In order to reduce the consumption of paper, printing out e-documents is avoided.

19.4. Good opportunities to reach the university buildings with environmentally friendly transport are guaranteed (first and foremost by a smart and well organised bicycle use system). Long work-related car rides are replaced by virtual meetings. In collaboration with the local government, the pedestrians’ and cyclists’ interests are made into a priority on the university’s premises.

19.5. The green spaces surrounding the university’s buildings are favourable to biodiversity and economical.

19.6. In the university’s buildings and at its events food is served in reusable dishes. The food offered is healthy and diverse, with the smallest ecological footprint possible.

19.7. The university’s members are knowledgeable about the green university’s principles and behave environmentally sustainably in their everyday life.

The University of Tartu is an academic organisation that is managed inclusively, transparently and strategically.

20.1. The management of the university is in accordance with the values agreed upon in UT. The university’s traditions and symbols are important and uniform for the university’s members. But if an activity or tradition is no longer fulfilling its objective, it should be redefined, updated or given up.

20.2. The strategic management of the university is done with a long-term view on the development and needs of the society. The strategic decisions that are made within the context of the university’s development plan, draw upon what is useful to the society in the long term, when selecting the focuses and objectives. 

20.3. The university budget’s management originates from the strategic direction chosen. The university’s budget is distributed according to the university’s chosen long-term strategy, focuses and objectives. 

20.4. Management is valued in the university and in addition to a career in research and studies, it is possible to have a career in management. Management is a clearly expressed part of the university’s organisation culture, attention is paid to it and good management practices are recognised. There exists a targeting of management and assessing results according to the set objectives, also the workload of managing is taken into account during the assessment of research work or studies.

20.4.1. In order to develop management skills, there exists and functions a system of sharing good practices of management.

20.4.2. There exists and functions a systemic and well-considered training program for the persons carrying out management tasks. This kind of program is a natural part of the process of becoming a leader. 

20.4.3. In order to carry out management tasks, the manager involves an executive team and academic decision making bodies, based on the organisation’s (or unit’s) strategy and organisation culture and has information of the unit’s internal affairs.

20.4.4. In management, focus is put on implementing the strategy, managing and adjusting the structure, managing and developing the budget and human resources, internal and external communications.

20.5. Complaints about the unequal treatment of the members of the university and dishonourable actions are processed according to the specific procedural rules and transparently. The information on the existence, objective and functioning of the given system is accessible to all parties and applicable in reality. If important or similarly natured problems emerge in the area of unequal treatment of the members of the university or dishonourable actions, proposals will be made to correct the university’s activities. If problem areas emerge in the functioning of the processing system, the system will be corrected purposefully.

Enlighti kaasatuse konkurss

University of Tartu students welcome to apply for ENLIGHT Inclusion Award 2024

Pilt Tartu Ülikooli Üliõpilasesindusest 2023. aasta sügisel.

2024/2025 Student Representatives

Pilt Tartu Ülikooli üliõpilasesindusest 2023. aastal.

Student representatives