Communication and Learning in STEM

​Established by the Vice President on 2019-10-14, reference number C 2019-1728. 
Latest revised on 2021-06-14, registration number CLS 2021-0032-1. 
This syllabus applies to doctoral students admitted as of 2019-10-14. 
Regarding older syllabus, please contact the first vice/vice head of department.

Transitional regulations: 
A doctoral student admitted to an older syllabus may earn a degree in accordance with this, provided that the current Appointment regulation for doctoral programmes and current Local Qualifications Framework – third cycle qualifications are followed. 

Doctoral students admitted to an older syllabus of graduate school Communication and Learning in STEM can, however, change to the current syllabus by an application to the Deputy/Vice Head of Department. The change must be documented in the individual study plan.

The graduate school is regulated by the Appointment regulation for doctoral programmes and the Local Qualifications Framework for Chalmers University of Technology – third cycle qualifications and is described in the syllabus for the graduate school. In the event of any conflict between the documents, the Appointment regulation for doctoral programmes and the Local Qualifications Framework for Chalmers University of Technology – third cycle qualifications are governing. For the most recent version of all regulatory documents referenced in this syllabus, see Chalmers’s internal website. 

1. Subject description 

Description of subject 

The graduate school Communication and Learning in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics) aims to deepen our understanding of learning processes and interaction in higher education and addresses some of the key challenges of communication within the knowledge and information society represented by engineering and the natural sciences.
 
Knowledge and information societies give rise to a close relationship between communication and learning, particularly within STEM areas. This is highlighted, for example, by the following globally recognized paradigmatic shifts:
  • The rapid and comprehensive transformation to digitalization, affecting information behavior, communication, knowledge organization, and dissemination of knowledge in virtually every sphere of society. For this reason, we need to develop the ability to access, create, integrate, evaluate and communicate technology.
  • Increased internationalization and globalization of academia and the professions – with the concomitant demands on effective and conscious academic and professional communication, and expectations regarding multilingual and intercultural competency. 
Our knowledge concerning the conditions for/effects of these ongoing societal shifts is still limited, presenting opportunities for much needed scholarly work. The graduate school in Communication and Learning in STEM addresses the need for research in these areas by focusing on communication, language and learning as central components for furthering technological understanding, digitalization, and internationalization. While the primary focus of the graduate school is on communication, language and learning in higher education STEM contexts, higher education is not a ‘closed system’. For this reason, the research and the implications stemming from it extend to numerous non-academic organizational contexts where communication, language and learning constitute preconditions for many activities. 

Description of specializations 

The graduate school offers two specializations with a specific focus on either learning connected to communication and language or learning in an engineering education context. Both specializations are firmly grounded in practice-oriented and applied research. Both specializations offer collaboration with other graduate schools within Chalmers cross-disciplinary doctoral program, enabling graduate students to combine research in engineering with research about learning and/or communication and language. 

Communication and language 
This specialization explores learning in connection to communication and language, from an academic perspective, from a discipline-specific perspective, as well as in relation to lifelong learning. Using theories and methods within, for example, applied linguistics, writing research, genre studies, educational psychology and cognitive science as a foundation, this specialization fosters investigations of communication in higher education, language use and language development in scientific and technical contexts, as well as pedagogies for teaching academic and scientific communication, against a backdrop of internationalization and globalization of academia and the industry. A research education focus within this specialization may involve the modelling and/or evaluation of – among other – the role of language and communication in the development of subject-specific literacy in STEM areas, for example studies that investigate Integrating Content and Language in Higher Education, ICLHE), the development of discipline-specific writing expertise and writing for publication, and/or how written, oral or digital genres contribute to the development, construction and assessment of disciplinary knowledge. Thus, research in this specialization may focus on aspects of learning and/or pedagogy, including self-regulation and metacognition, the ability to adapt and transfer genre and disciplinary knowledge between contexts, and critically assess knowledge and performance tied to learning objectives for an individual and/or group. Finally, research in this specialization may take an applied linguistics outlook to investigate key areas of current HE STEM-practices such as English-medium instruction, including teaching and learning in as a second language, and aspects of intercultural communication. 

Engineering education research 
This specialization emphasizes research that develops learning designs and learning experiences within engineering (STEM) education, including those subjects/disciplines which are foundational for engineering education. Research projects in this area should relate educational science with engineering science and other areas, combine theoretical and empirical perspectives, and highlight learning as a multimodal and transdisciplinary enterprise. This specialization also enables research exploring science and technology education in schools or teacher education in this area. Research in this specialization also targets organizational and/or structural and/or policy aspects of relevance for the engineering sciences, for example, syllabi, the organization of schools and universities, and collaboration between key stakeholders. Another potential research focus is the contribution of the engineering sciences to sustainable development in society. Thus, research in this area could explore how engineers and user of technology appropriate the knowledge and action competence required for a responsible transformation of society. This includes the ability to handle technology and technical systems and also requires an ability to handle complexity, uncertainties and ethical dilemmas in the context of human needs and behavior, global justice, the limitations of natural systems, and structures in society. 

2. Objectives of the doctoral program 

Objectives 

The national objectives for third cycle degrees (licentiate and doctoral degree) and local requirements are stated in the Local Qualifications Framework for Chalmers University of Technology – third cycle qualifications. 
3. Entry requirements
General entry requirements To be qualified for admission in Communication and Learning in STEM the student must have earned a degree at the second-cycle level. The orientation of the student’s degree shall also have a sufficiently close connection to the subject of the doctoral programme.

Equivalent requirements apply to individuals who have taken their first degree in a country other than Sweden. The examiner, in consultation with the principal supervisor, shall assess whether the applicant has the requisite capacity to successfully complete the doctoral programme. Other requirements for general entry are regulated in Appointment regulation for doctoral programmes. 

The following are examples of subjects that may be considered to have a sufficiently close connection to the subject of the doctoral programme:
  • Linguistics
  • English
  • Swedish
  • Psychology
  • Cognitive science
  • Pedagogy
  • Didactics
  • Educational science
  • Teaching diploma (with a specialization in STEM)
  • Teaching diploma + MSc in Engineering 

Admission

Regulations regarding admission are stated in Appointment regulation for doctoral programmes. 
4. Curriculum 
The study programme towards a doctoral degree encompasses 240 higher education credits. The study programme towards a licentiate degree encompasses at least 120 higher education credits. One year of full-time studies equals 60 credits.

For the licentiate degree programme the credits are distributed between courses and thesis work as follows: courses at least 30 credits and thesis at least 90 credits.

For the doctoral degree programme the credits are distributed between course work and thesis work as follows: courses at least 60 credits and thesis at least 180 credits.

Courses 

Courses within the graduate school include general courses that cover all doctoral programmes at Chalmers as well as courses specific for the graduate school.

General courses in Chalmers’s doctoral programmes
The general course requirements for doctoral programmes at Chalmers are regulated in Local Qualifications Framework for Chalmers University of Technology – third cycle qualifications. 

Courses specific for the Graduate school Communication and Learning in STEM 
Specific requirements apply for courses within the graduate school Communication and Learning in STEM. Such courses include mandatory courses (18 credits) as follows: Theory and research in communication and learning in science (7,5 HEC); Research methodology in communication and learning: theory and practice (7,5 HEC) and Directed-reading course on topic of choice (3 HEC), and individual custom-made courses (27 credits) designed specifically for the two specializations, and designed to accommodate the specific research focus, interest or knowledge profile of the doctoral student.

Licentiate thesis 

A licentiate thesis shall be written in English. In exceptional cases it can be written in Swedish; in such cases it shall contain a summary in English. 

The purpose of the licentiate thesis is to account for the relevant scientific results that have been attained during the thesis work and describe these in a way that is accessible outside of the scientific inner circle of researchers. A licentiate thesis can either be written as a compilation thesis or as a monograph. If the licentiate thesis is a compilation thesis it should begin with an introduction, a summarizing text, followed by the included scientific articles. The purpose of the summarizing text is to put the studies in context, and to present relevant results that for various reasons are not described within the articles.

Regardless of the type of thesis selected, the thesis should have a length corresponding to an international standard for licentiate theses. The articles should maintain such a level that they could be accepted for publication in a reputable international scientific journal or high-quality conference with a referee procedure. 

Other regulations concerning the licentiate thesis are stated in Appointment regulation for doctoral programmes. 

Doctoral thesis 

A doctoral thesis shall be written in English. In exceptional cases it can be written in Swedish; in such cases it shall contain a summary in English.

The purpose of the doctoral thesis is to account for the relevant scientific results that have been attained during the thesis work and describe these in a way that is accessible outside of the scientific inner circle of researchers. A doctoral thesis can either be written as a compilation thesis or as a monograph. If the doctoral thesis is a compilation thesis it should begin with an introduction, a summarizing text, followed by the included scientific articles. The purpose of the summarizing text is to put the studies in context, and to present relevant results that for various reasons are not described within the articles. 

Regardless of the type of thesis selected, the thesis should have a length corresponding to an international standard for doctoral theses. The articles should maintain such a level that they could be accepted for publication in a reputable international scientific journal or high-quality conference with a referee procedure. The individual articles may have been written together with the main supervisor, another supervisor or other author. In order to show that the student has attained the intended proficiency, the majority of the papers must have the student as their main author. 

Other regulations concerning the doctoral thesis are stated in Appointment regulation for doctoral programmes.

Supervision 

The Appointment regulation for doctoral programmes states that for each doctoral student at least two supervisors shall be appointed. One of them shall be appointed principal supervisor. The doctoral student has the right to supervision during the studies unless the Head of Department decides otherwise. In addition to providing guidance in relation to the research work, the supervision must also include planning and follow-up of the research work as well as a relevant support in connection with courses and other activities (e.g. publishing). 

Other regulations concerning supervision are stated in Appointment regulation for doctoral programmes. 

5. Examination

After completion of a doctoral programme a doctoral degree is awarded. A licentiate degree can be an intermediate stage in a doctoral degree. If a licentiate degree is not a part of the individual study plan, a midway seminar shall be held to denote that licentiate level has been reached. 

Examination, licentiate degree 

For a licentiate degree to be awarded, the doctoral student must have received a grade of pass for the licentiate thesis and its presentation and must also have received a grade of pass for the other elements that are included in the programme. 

Examination, doctoral degree 

For a doctoral degree to be awarded, the doctoral student must have had a doctoral thesis and its defence approved and must also have passed the other elements that are included in the programme.

Other regulations regarding examination are stated in:
  • Appointment regulation for doctoral programmes
  • Local Qualifications Framework for Chalmers University of Technology – third cycle qualification 
6. Title of degree
The title of qualification is Teknologie doktorsexamen i kommunikation och lärande inom STEM or Filosofie doktorsexamen i kommunikation och lärande inom STEM. The English translation of the title of the qualification is Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Communication and Learning in STEM. 

For a licentiate degree the title of the qualification is Teknologie licentiatexamen i kommunikation och lärande inom STEM or Filosofie licentiatexamen i kommunikation och lärande inom STEM. The English translation of the title of qualification is Degree of Licentiate of Engineering in Communication and Learning in STEM or Degree of Licentiate of Philosophy in Communication and Learning in STEM. 

The degree is given a title corresponding to the name of the faculty within which the undergraduate degree was earned. The title is determined by the Head of Department in connection with admission.

Any decision regarding exemption from use of the defined title is made by the Head of Department. In some individual cases, it is possible to use a title that does not correspond to the name of the faculty within which the undergraduate degree was earned.

Page manager Published: Thu 15 Jul 2021.