The Bachelor’s programme in Biology and the Master’s programmes in Mathematics and Mathematical Statistics at the University of Gothenburg are of very high quality, according to the Swedish Higher Education Authority’s evaluation.
‘I think the main reason for the high quality is that we are continuously trying to develop the programme and that we have competent and engaged teachers,’ says Stefan Lemurell, coordinator of the Master’s programme in Mathematics.
One unique feature of mathematics in Gothenburg is the large number of courses offered, increasing the options available to students. The reason for the great variety is that the Department of Mathematical Sciences is integrated between the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers. About ten students get a Master’s in Mathematics each year.
Overall in the country, the evaluation identified a relatively large number of high-quality programmes in Mathematics.
‘Since math instructors generally teach a lot, a lot of development activities are arranged for them. We also work actively with course development. But we also have a lot of good students,’ says Lemurell.
Damiano Ognissanti is in the second year of the Master’s programme in Mathematics and agrees it’s a good programme.
‘It’s really tough, but tough in a good way – it’s hard enough to make it high quality, but not so hard you can’t do it.’
Although Ognissanti has always been good at math, coming to the University was a bit of a shock.
‘For the first time in my life, I had to actually pick up the books and study math. It had always come naturally to me. But new students get great support from the Department, such as special mentors.’
Kristina ‘Snuttan’ Sundell, is in charge of the education at the Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences and was happy to see the results of the evaluation.
‘It means a lot to both teachers and students to see that our constant development efforts are working.’
The Bachelor’s programme in Biology has about 40 new students each year. But many students also choose to design their own programmes by taking freestanding courses that can be combined into a Bachelor’s degree in Biology. The Bachelor’s programme in Biology was revised and updated in 2000 and has been subject to continuous development work ever since. Another major revision was made in 2012.
‘There needs to be a sense of progressiveness in the education, that we ensure that courses don’t overlap and that we can offer recommended study paths. The Bachelor’s programme also includes a unique section on transferable knowledge such as presentation techniques, ethics, analysis and critical thinking,’ says Sundell.
Although sundell is pleased with the results of the evaluation, she’s a bit hesitant to the way it is designed.
‘The Swedish Higher Education Authority is supposed to evaluate how well study programmes correspond to national aims. But the evaluation focuses too much on degree projects. Fulfilment of all the national aims cannot possibly be assessed by only looking at degree projects,’ she says.
The Swedish Higher Education Authority oversees the quality of Swedish higher education programmes. The programmes are assessed based on how well they correspond to the requirements set forth in the Swedish Higher Education Act and related provisions. Thus, the Swedish Higher Education Authority monitors the extent to which students’ demonstrated performance corresponds to their expected performance. The evaluations are carried out from 2011 to 2014.