News from the senior management team no. 13/2016

New study progress reform rules adopted at AU

Compulsory registration for exams will be abolished, and a maximum time to degree will be introduced. These are two of the key elements in a new set of joint rules implementing the new act on study progress reform at Aarhus University.

The aim is to give students the greatest possible flexibility in planning their studies without compromising quality or the students’ chances of successfully completing their degree programme. One of the main elements is the abolition of compulsory registration for all courses and examinations. Another is an active enrolment requirement, which means that students must pass at least 45 ECTS each academic year. In this respect, it is important to note that a maximum time to degree has been introduced, which means that Bachelor’s students may exceed the prescribed study period by a maximum of six to 12 months, while Master’s degree students may exceed the prescribed study period by a maximum of six months.

The adopted rules were submitted to the boards of studies, the studies administrations offices and student organisations for comments, and the feedback has been incorporated in so far as possible. 

The faculties will now decide how the new rules will be implemented in practice for the individual degree programmes. The work has the highest priority, so that students can be told as soon as possible how the new rules will impact them and their studies. The students will be informed in detail as and when the decisions on implementation are made. This will happen in the run-up to the next semester.

For Aarhus University, the study progress reform means that the average time to degree must be reduced by 4.7 months. If this does not happen, the university will face a fine of up to DKK 240 million.

Biggest talents must bed challenged at the universities

Yes please – we welcome the prospect of giving the most talented students better conditions for exploiting their potential to the full. This was the message from Pro-rector Berit Eika who, in an article in the Danish broadsheet Jyllands-Posten on 8 May, supports the Government’s recent announcement on initiatives for elite students.

The main thrust of the efforts being made at Aarhus University is a special model for elite and talent development which will, among other things, systematise talent development at an early stage of the students’ studies – based on inspiration from some of the world’s leading universities. The model will give particularly talented and motivated students the opportunity – concurrently with their ordinary study programme – to pursue an elite track with extra activities. The students will then leave the university with a special distinction on their exam certificate.

The aim is for the elite tracks to strengthen the overall quality of the degree programmes and their relevance for the labour market, and talent is defined in a broad sense. Talents can be young people with a talent for research, management, innovation or entrepreneurship. What is most important is that the university raises the academic bar for those who are not challenged sufficiently by the ordinary syllabus.

Merger imminent between business communication at Aarhus BSS and language studies at Arts

Considerable groundwork by the language environments has now resulted in a proposal to merge the business communication programmes in French, German, Spanish and English with the language and cultural studies at Arts.

The merger will create the largest language environment in the Nordic region, which in addition to strengthening the collaboration between the language subjects will also guarantee an attractive environment for students and researchers in future. Moreover, the new initiative will bolster the language competencies in the business communication programmes and their links with the labour market.

At its last meeting, the University Board gave its unanimous support to the two faculties continuing their current dialogue on the language programmes.

The idea of bringing together the language courses has been the subject of discussion for some time at Arts and Aarhus BSS. Staff at both faculties have been working together on a proposal for the content of the degree programmes, which has so far been very positively received by employers.

Specifically, the idea is to introduce a number of joint courses for the language studies and business communication programmes, but that the students will still be able to specialise, depending entirely on whether they are interested in, for example, teaching at upper secondary school level or pursuing a career in the private sector.

The proposal is now being considered by the academic bodies at Arts and Aarhus BSS. A final decision will be made by the University Board at its meeting on 14 June. If the merger is given the go-ahead, the senior management team expects to invest strategic funds in consolidating the new language environment for a transitional period.

Regatta draws students in their thousands to University Park

Last Friday, the ducks had to make way for the 20-25,000 festive students who gathered in the University Park for the annual Regatta and the contest for The Golden Bedpan.

With a mixture of pride and joy, the university made the park available for the 26th time for one of the biggest events of the year. It is a very special day, which is organised by the students themselves, who manage to bring together students from right across the university and the city as a whole. 

The first regatta was held in 1991, and was organised by medical students and odontology students. Since then, the medics have walked away with more trophies than anybody else. This year, 13 student associations were competing for The Golden Bedpan – and the psychologists won. Relive the day’s events on the regatta’s Facebook page.

Increase in Master’s degree programme applications

This year, 13,452 applications have been received for admission to a Master’s degree programme at Aarhus University, which is slightly up on 2015 when there were 13,371 applicants.

Health in particular is seeing growth this year, with a 14 per cent increase or 121 more applications, largely from medical students.

Aarhus BSS has also seen a small increase of 4 per cent, corresponding to 249 more applications than last year. Here, Political Science, Psychology and Law are largely responsible for the increase, but the language and business studies programmes are also seeing growth.

Science and Technology remains stable at just under 1,500 applications, while Arts has experienced a slight fall of around 5 per cent compared to 2015.

There has been a fall in the number of foreign applicants. This may be because Aarhus University has introduced an application fee for overseas citizens with a non-Danish Bachelor exam. However, this is not expected to impact the number of foreign students in future. On the other hand, the rule will ensure that the university focuses its admissions procedure on students who are motivated.

Number of applications for Master’s degree programmes at Aarhus University 2016: 

  • Health: 1,014 – up 14 per cent*
  • Aarhus BSS: 5,869 – up 4 per cent*
  • Science and Technology: 1,495 – same as 2015*
  • Arts: 5,074 – down 5 per cent* 

* The percentages show the increase/decrease relative to 2015.

Call for applications for EURIAS fellowships now open

The European Institutes for Advanced Study (EURIAS) Fellowship Programme offers 48 fellowships at 18 European institutes. As a member of EURIAS, AU’s Aarhus Institute of Advanced Studies (AIAS) is offering two of the 48 fellowships. The programme requires considerable mobility, and it is therefore only possible to apply for fellowships in countries other than your country of residence. The application deadline is 8 June. 


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