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.  

2007:04 R

Follow-up evaluation of programmes in journalism at higher education institutions in Sweden

The National Agency for Higher Education has been tasked by the government with the evaluation during the period 2001-2006 of all higher education programmes that lead to the award of at least a bachelor´s degree. This report forms part of this task and accounts for the results of a quality evaluation of undergraduate and graduate programmes in journalism conducted by the National Agency during 2006. The evaluation was entrusted to a panel of external assessor consisting of subject experts from Denmark, Finland, Norway and Sweden. The National Agency had previously evaluated programmes in journalism, which means that this evaluation was also intended to function as a follow-up.
The evaluation covered undergraduate programmes in journalism at Göteborg University, the University College of Kalmar, Lund University, Mid-Sweden University, Stockholm University, Södertörns University College and Umeå University as well as the undergraduate programme in press studies at Lund University. The evaluation also included graduate programmes in journalism at Göteborg University and Stockholm University.
Undergraduate programmes in journalism are mainly offered as one of two models: either as complete degree programmes or as advanced programmes for those who have already graduated. The panel of assessors was able to determine that the programmes can hold their own in an international comparison and, as in other countries, had to contend with the integration of theory and practice. The panel considers that the integration process would be improved if the programmes were linked to a greater extent with research on practical journalism. The programmes at Göteborg University and Mid-Sweden University were cited as good examples. Similarly, increased contact with the sector could in many ways enhance a mutual exchange of knowledge relating to both the theoretical and practical aspects of the programmes. Up until now academic qualifications have not enjoyed a high status in the sector but a change of attitude seems to in the offing. The panel of assessors points out that there are many different ways of becoming a professional journalist and this is how it should be. Developments in the media and in the community, however, increase the need for academic training for journalists.
One aspect of the linkage between programmes and future employment also involves the shortcomings in the way in which programmes monitor their alumni. Surveys of this kind could provide some picture of the extent to which the tasks assigned to student in the workplace match the programmes that are intended to prepare them. Göteborg University is the institution that regularly conducts this kind of follow-up.
The panel of assessors also emphasises the importance of broadening recruitment to programmes in journalism. Awareness of this issue exists at the higher education institutions but when it comes to increasing ethnic diversity, for instance, several focused measures could be adopted, possibly through collaboration between the sector and the higher education institutions. Södertörns University College has been very successful when it comes to recruiting students from ethnic backgrounds that are not Swedish.
In graduate programmes the lack of research into practical journalism is also noticeable. It is difficult to see any major differences between graduate programmes in journalism and in media and communication studies and many of the thesis projects in journalism have a clear focus on media and communication studies. The panel of assessors also points out that few students go on to graduate programmes after graduating in journalism. The panel considers that continuation to graduate studies should be encouraged to a greater extent.
On the basis of the report of the panel of assessors, the National Agency is questioning the entitlement of Umeå University to award a master´s degree in journalism.
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