Had to wait: Martin Sandtøren has mixed feelings about his master thesis grade – which he has received almost four months after submitting it.
Had to wait: Martin Sandtøren has mixed feelings about his master thesis grade – which he has received almost four months after submitting it.

Had to wait almost 4 months for his master thesis grade: "It's been a drag to say the least"

A master’s student at the Center for technology, innovation and culture (TIK) submitted his thesis on May 28 and had been trapped in a limbo this summer, having to wait for it to be graded. The reason for the delay? Summer break.

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A two months-long vacation is quite usual and something that comes as no surprise, so it sounds like a weak explanation.

Inge Unneberg, associate professor at BI

They are quite strict with our submitting deadlines – and so in return we also should expect that they keep theirs.

Silje Totland, former student

\"It has been such a strain. Especially when you find out on the day you were supposed to get your grade that it’s been postponed another month. I have been a bit irritated, but you feel quite powerless in a situation like this,\" Martin Sandtrøen says. He has been waiting for his grade since May.

On Thursday, almost four months after delivering his thesis, he got back the result.

\"I wish I could say ’finally!’, but the whole thing has just made me lose my excitement. I wasn’t looking forward to finding out what my grade was any more. I was just glad it was over. Now my life can begin and I should try to get on with it.\"

Unconvincing explanation

16 students who submitted their thesis in May were informed that their grade would be given latest July 23, so within about eight weeks’ time. Universitas got access to the message received by those students on July 6, saying that the results will be postponed. Sibel Thorsen, the study consultant at TIK says “a vast majority” of students got the same message, saying that the new deadline would be Aug. 20. The reason stated in the message was that it was holiday season.

Thorsen states that the Center has managed to keep the deadline.

\"The deadline for grading is eight weeks. In July I sent out the message about the summer break moving that deadline,\" she said to Universitas.

\"You can’t really expect to receive a grade within eight weeks from May 28. There will have to be a delay. Clearly it is a regretful situation that makes students wait until August.\"

Inge Unneberg, an associate professor at the Department of Law and Management at BI argues that summer vacation is not a sufficient reason for postponing results.

\"A two months-long vacation is quite usual and something that comes as no surprise, so it sounds like a weak explanation.\"

Became ill from waiting

Silje Totland is one of the students who received their grade five weeks too late. TIK had postponed the deadline twice.

\"Quite often one gets the feeling that the center is not paying attention to what is happening to the students. We feel like we’ve been forgotten, or maybe that we are not that important,\" Totland says.

\"They are quite strict with our submitting deadlines – and so in return we also should expect that they keep theirs.\"

She claims that the waiting has been difficult for her.

\"You become sick from all this waiting. It takes a toll on both your psyche and your confidence when all you can do is wait and wait.\"

More about grades: In this course, 9 out of 10 failed

Consequences for career beginnings

According to several students Universitas talked to, many employers want to see your diploma. This is especially true in the public sector. Some say their job applications have been met with refusal, but they cannot be sure to what extent that was caused by their missing diploma.

\"I have talked to one person who missed a job opportunity because of delayed results,\" Totland says.

Sibel Thorsen from TIK thinks that is a shame.

\"This is not how it should be at all. Things should be in place by August at the latest. We consider the consequences the delay has on job opportunities as extremely unfortunate. It is therefore very regrettable that things are the way they are.\"

Read more about the problems students face: 3 out of 10 suffer from serious mental conditions

Many reasons for the delay

During the summer, both Totland and Sandtrøen have received many explanations for the postponing of the grading.

\"The delay to August was due to the summer break, while the reason it was moved from August to September was that it was difficult to find a commission that would grade our work. I also heard about a person who was informed that his external examiner was sick,\" Sandtrøen says.

Thorsen admits that TIK has had some difficulties with sick leave and completing the external commission. This has extended the waiting for some students.

\"We have had a dialog with the students and informed them as well as we could about the situation. We naturally have a full understanding that this causes stress for the students. Having said that, this problem is present at many departments at UiO, and TIK is not a unique case.\"

Sandtrøen claims at the same time that TIK has an internal reputation of being bad at keeping deadlines – something that the administrative chief at TIK, Frode Løvik, is not unfamiliar with.

\"We have received some indications about this problem, yes. People come in touch with us and tell us that things have been taking too long. We have tried to take it very seriously by trying to determine the results ahead of time. It is a question of resources. We have taken in new employees in order to have a bigger professional staff.\"

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