The Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) has just completed its most comprehensive ever evaluation of degree programmes. The quality of over 300 technology and engineering degrees have been evaluated. Each degree has then been given one of three grades: very high quality, high quality or inadequate quality.
Chalmers attains unique position
According to UKÄ, Chalmers attained a unique position with such positive results. Six of the 19 Swedish 5 years engineering degrees (“civilingenjör”) that were graded very high quality, are at Chalmers.
“One likely reason for this success is that Chalmers University of Technology has taken a very clear eyed approach to the Bologna process and consistently adapted its courses to these parameters,” wrote the chairs of the six UKÄ inspection groups in a debate piece in the Göteborgs-Posten newspaper.
Of the Swedish engineering degrees evaluated, 14 percent were graded as of very high quality and 56 percent high quality, while 30 percent were of inadequate quality. The corresponding figures for Chalmers were 36 percent very high quality, 60 percent high quality and 4 percent inadequate quality.
Clever students, committed teachers
Maria Knutson Wedel, Vice President of undergraduate and masters education at Chalmers, said it was very pleasing that Chalmers attracts so many clever students, and so many enthusiastic teachers that help them achieve their degree goals. She also highlighted a number of positive results in the subtotals that helped make up the gradings.
“One of the programmes that stands out in this fantastic flora of results is our five-year Chemical engineering programme. There, the Bachelor's, Master's and professional degrees are all classed as of very high quality. This is particularly pleasing, as the job market is promising for these groups and we need to educate more chemical engineers in Sweden. I hope these results persuade more students to choose a degree in chemical engineering,” said Maria Knutson Wedel.
Professional programmes hit targets
Other favourable subtotal results she named is that all professional programmes at Chalmers achieved their goals, and that the very newest bachelor of engineering programme is adjudged to be of very high quality – the degree programme in Economics and production engineering has only been available for a few years.
Two degrees at Chalmers have been graded as inadequate: masters degrees in Computer engineering and Information technology.
“When you look at the results in detail, you can see how difficult it actually is to implement the Bologna reform,” explained Maria Knutson Wedel. “In other words, structuring a five-year programme leading to three different degrees. Having said that, it is worth noting that the bachelor's and professional engineering degrees were graded as being of high or very high quality. Which is why we are in no doubts that we can get the masters parts into shape. We can also draw inspiration from other Chalmers programmes that have succeeded on every level.
“We are now going to start analysing the results in detail, and then take any steps necessary. The universities have one year to address degrees graded to be of inadequate quality.”
Text: Johanna Wilde
Photos: Oscar Mattsson, Peter Widing and Jan-Olof Yxell
Illustration: Karin Ekman
About the evaluation
The Swedish Higher Education Authority inspects all degree programmes based on how well students, and therefore their courses, attain the degree targets formulated in the Higher Education Ordinance. The inspections are always performed by peer review, with representatives from academia, enterprise and students. Around 200 assessors have participated in the review of 364 engineering courses at 24 universities, of which half are professors. Over 4,000 degree theses have been reviewed.
Courses that are graded of inadequate quality can have their degree licences revoked. The universities and colleges in question have twelve months to take corrective action. If the 12 month review also grades a course as inadequate, the universities will lose its degree licence.