Startpage for Swedish National Agency for Higher Education

Please note! The Swedish National Agency for Higher Education was closed down on 31 December 2012. Instead two new agencies have been established: the Swedish Council for Higher Education and the Swedish Higher Education Authority. This website will continue to operate as the new agencies will have links to information it contains.  

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Evaluation of the postgraduate programme in science and technology studies at Göteborg University

The National Agency for Higher Education is able to determine that the postgraduate programme in science and technology studies at Göteborg University meets the standards required for higher education. This evaluation will be followed up in three years.

The decision in this matter has been made by the University Chancellor Sigbrit Franke on the basis of a presentation by the evaluator Gunilla Jacobsson in the presence of Clas-Uno Frykholm, Principal Administrative Officer, and Lennart Ståhle, Administrative Director.

The reflections of the National Agency for Higher Education

The National Agency expresses its gratitude to the panel of assessors for the excellent work they have performed. It is the Agency´s hope that the report and recommendations of the panel will contribute to continued development of the quality of the postgraduate programme in science and technology studies at Göteborg University.

This evaluation forms part of the National Agency´s evaluation of all the subjects and programmes leading to general degrees or vocational qualifications.  This evaluation differs from the majority of the subject and programme evaluations as it comprises one postgraduate programme at only one higher education institution. This is because the subject is only offered at Göteborg University and at the moment there is no undergraduate teaching.

Undergraduate teaching in technology and science studies has been incorporated since the autumn semester of 2005 with the other undergraduate programmes offered by the Department of Sociology. In this context the National Agency would like to stress how important it is to take the progressivity of this subject in undergraduate courses into consideration to provide an assured basis for its postgraduate programme.

The opinion of the panel of assessor is that the subject area is of great interest and it has formed the impression that the teachers display great commitment. A number of criticisms are also expressed and improvements suggested.

Greater transparency is needed in the aims of the postgraduate programme and its conditions, and courses must be offered more often. Postgraduate students must be able to rely on equal treatment. This is an observation from the panel that the National Agency would particularly like to endorse.

It is also important for a postgraduate programme in a small setting to take advantage of all resources. More of the section´s researchers should be involved in postgraduate teaching.

The National Agency finds that here, as in many other evaluations, the small setting gives rise to difficulties for the programme. The panel of assessors recommends concentration of the selection of subjects and their application and the Agency agrees with this. Concentration should make it easier to attract external funding which would enable a much needed expansion of the number of postgraduate students.

In a number of contexts the National Agency has also drawn attention to shortcomings in the way the higher education institutions monitor adaptation of their programmes to labour market needs. This also applies, of course, to postgraduate programmes. The observation of the panel of assessors that postgraduate programmes should not solely be defined as offering preparation for research careers is relevant in this context.

Like the panel, the National Agency considers that the recent establishment of the Center for Public Learning and Understanding of Science offers the section the possibility of adopting a meaningful profile as well as new stimuli and contacts.

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