A new Swedish model for evaluating doctoral education proposed

UKÄ (Swedish Higher Education Authority) has proposed a new model for evaluating doctoral education. The proposal has been submitted to Swedish Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) and other stakeholder groups for comments.

The proposal comprises all disciplines, including fine arts. The last time a national review of the doctoral programmes was conducted in Sweden was in 2001-2007. The evaluation of doctoral education constitutes part of the proposal for a new Swedish national quality assurance (QA) system for higher education.

The proposed model focuses on how HEIs work to ensure that PhD students achieve the learning outcomes specified in the Higher Education Ordninance. The institution’s internal QA work will also be included as an integral part of the evaluation. In addition, the breadth and quality of the research that is linked to the doctoral education environment, and thus benefit the doctoral students, will be included in the evaluation.

The evaluation will contain three main components:

  1. doctoral students’ achievement of learning outcomes,
  2. breadth and quality of research linked to the educational environment, and
  3. internal quality work of HEIs.

Doctoral dissertations will not be included in the evaluation. Instead, the evaluation will be based on:

  1. self-evaluations
  2. general and individual study plans, and
  3. interviews.

Two-grade assessment

The evaluation will result in a two-grade assessment as to whether the evaluated programme is of high quality. The expert panels will consist of experts, representatives from the labour market and doctoral student representatives.

A pilot round

The Swedish Higher Education Authority will commence the evaluations during the spring of 2015 with a pilot round. In the pilot phase, a small number of doctoral programmes will be evaluated as part of the continued methodological development.

During the autumn of 2016 the evaluations will start on a larger scale.