Communication and Learning in STEM

Established by the Vice President on 2019-10-12, reference number C 2019-1728.

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 others—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 shall have obtained a degree at an advanced level of at least 240 higher education credits (according to the Swedish university-level credits system). The orientation of the student’s degree shall also have a sufficiently close connection to the subject of the doctoral programme. 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
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 Rules of Procedure – Doctoral Programmes.

Admission

Regulations regarding admission are stated in Rules of Procedure – Doctoral Programmes.

4. Curriculum

The study programme towards a doctoral degree encompasses 240 higher education credits. The study programme towards a licentiate degree encompasses 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 30 credits and thesis 90 credits.
 
For the doctoral degree programme the credits are distributed between course work and thesis work as follows: courses 60 credits and thesis 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 within 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.
 
A licentiate thesis can either be written as a compilation thesis or as a monograph. A compilation thesis for a licentiate degree shall include scientific articles that are published or deemed publishable as well as a summarising chapter that states the overall scientific contribution constituted by 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 Rules of Procedure – Doctoral Programmes.

Dissertation

A dissertation shall be written in English. In exceptional cases it can be written in Swedish; in such cases it shall contain a summary in English.
 
A dissertation can either be written as a compilation thesis or as a monograph. A compilation thesis for a doctoral degree shall include scientific articles that are published or deemed publishable as well as a summarising chapter that states the overall scientific contribution constituted by 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 dissertation are stated in Rules of Procedure – Doctoral Programmes.

Supervision

The Rules of Procedure – 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 Rules of Procedure – 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, an interim seminar shall be held to denote hat 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 dissertation 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:
• Rules of Procedure – Doctoral Programmes
• Local Qualifications Framework for Chalmers University of Technology – third cycle qualifications
 

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 (PhD) 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

 
If the foundation qualification was earned in a faculty other than the Faculty of Engineering or Philosophy, the degree is given a designation corresponding to the faculty in which the foundation qualification was earned. The designation is determined by the department upon admission and is used in the degree. Deviations from the predetermined designation must be approved by the department in an individual waiver. In certain individual cases another designation than the designation that corresponds to the faculty where the foundation qualification was earned can be used.

Published: Fri 08 May 2020.