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.  

Report 2008:42 R

Review of study programmes in philosophy: national overview

This report records the results of the review of study programmes in philosophy at first, second and third cycle conducted by Högskoleverket (Swedish National Agency for Higher Education) in 2008. Two external experts, both from Sweden, were appointed.

The external experts have used the evaluations from 2004 that were published in 2005 (2005: 16R) as their starting point, in addition to the quality aspects and criteria stipulated in the Swedish National Agency for Higher Education´s national quality assurance system for the period 2007—2012 (2007: 59R).

The report comprises two parts. The first part is the Agency´s reflections on the external experts´ views. The second part is the external experts´ report. This includes a national overview of the subject of philosophy, a description of the subject, a description of the subject at every higher education institution, impressions and recommendations. 

The external experts confirm that philosophy is still a popular minor subject. Many students only study it at level-A (as new higher education entrants) and few choose to study it at a more advanced level. This is similar to students of the history of ideas.

The adaption of course syllabi to the new System of Qualifications is insufficient. The learning outcomes and forms of assessment need to be clarified in the course syllabi.
The majority of staff is well qualified and employed until further notice. The opportunities to conduct research or to participate in continuing professional development vary.

The most obvious weakness in the study programmes is the scope of teaching that has not changed noticeably since the previous evaluation. The average performance indicator is 50—40 per cent. As few students continue to advanced studies, the number of students at level-B and level-C is small. However, a slight increase has been noted. If there are too few students, the creative and critical environment is undermined. There is a marked gender imbalance. There are neither female students nor female lecturers on some programmes.

During the period 2003- 07, a total of 61 doctoral students were accepted for research studies in practical philosophy, theoretical philosophy and philosophy. Twenty of these were female. During the same period, 43 were awarded doctoral degrees and 18 licentiate degrees in practical and theoretical philosophy. Fifteen of these were female. The number of applicants per place continues to be high. On average, fewer than one in five applicants are accepted, although there are considerable variations.

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