19 May 2016

Our doctoral studies have not been reviewed by the Swedish Higher Education Authority (UKÄ) for several years; a new round is therefore being planned. But UKÄ has jumped the gun with a pilot group to test the new evaluation model. Among those in the starting gate was the Department of Thematic Studies - Technology and Social Change.

Roger Klinth, prefekt Tema och snart även vicerektor, 2016Photo credit: Charlotte PerhammarThe unified judgement from UKÄ: high quality.
“What’s especially great is that we, as an interdisciplinary environment, got a good opinion for interdisciplinary breadth, but also for a high level of relevance in relation to more discipline-oriented fields. First of all, we have the ambition of developing a high level of interdisciplinary skill, but as our doctors choose different paths it’s important that they are also relevant within other fields,” says Roger Klinth, head of the Department of Thematic Studies.
Among other things, UKÄ said in its judgement that the education provides the doctoral students with good conditions for gaining a broad understanding and good methodological knowledge in the area. The doctoral students are also given the conditions to learn to plan and conduct research within given time frames, and to express themselves well in speech and writing in both national and international contexts.

Conditions for intellectual independence

During UKÄ’s previous evaluations, the focus was on the credits awarded to the doctoral students, but with the new evaluation model they also look at the quality and scope of doctoral education, as well as the quality work of the higher education institution.
“The assessors are very positive, and we see that the systematic quality work being carried out within doctoral education is yielding good results,” says Bo Hellgren, dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
The doctoral students’ own perspectives, and the link to working life, is also brought up in the new evaluation. Here, the judgement is that doctoral student influence is sufficient, and that all doctoral students have the conditions for reaching their qualitative targets.
As regards the link to working life, UKÄ feels that the education promotes a continued career within academia or the business world. On the other hand, support for those who wish to choose a path such as entrepreneur needs to be strengthened.