Review of study programmes in religious studies and theology: national overview
All of Sweden´s study programmes in religious studies and theology were evaluated by Högskoleverket (Swedish National Agency for Higher Education) in 2001. Since then, a new System of Qualifications has been introduced that has altered the basic requirements for such programmes.
The degree of Bachelor of Theology as a professional degree with the qualitative targets stipulated in the Higher Education Ordinance, no longer exists. This means that the Government no longer regulates the study programmes for the Church of Sweden´s trainee priests. It is the Church, itself, that makes decisions about these study programmes.
The only faculties in Sweden that have staff with the required research skills and abilities can be found in Uppsala and Lund. However, the faculties are small, so small that the faculty and department is one and the same, and there is sometimes only one staff member per subject, even at third cycle. The situation at other higher education institutions (HEIs) is no better. All HEIs have small or very small environments in terms of the number of supervisors and doctoral students. At the same time, the standard of teaching is high.
At the HEIs offering study programmes for trainee priests prior to 2007, the composition of the teaching staff was determined by the need to have skills and abilities in as many different subjects as possible within the field of theology and religious studies. At other HEIs, the recruitment of teaching staff was governed mainly by the needs of the teacher education programmes. Some of the most important subjects for teacher education are the history of religion, teaching and learning religion, faith and philosophy, and ethics.
Only a few study environments (DalarnaUniversityCollegeand third-cycle programme in ethics in Lund) have an acceptable gender balance among the teaching staff and doctoral students. Among professors, the male dominance is almost total.
It is generally difficult to find course literature written by women and the male dominance is, again, almost total. Gender relevant literature is almost impossible to find, However, exceptions are the programmes in faith and philosophy, and church and mission studies in Uppsala and Dalarna University College.
Studies in pastoral theology worth 15 HE credits can be found at the universities of Umeå, Uppsala, Karlstad, Linköping, Gothenburg and Lund. They are intended for trainee priests although they can also be studied within the framework of other study programmes.