Aarhus University Seal / Aarhus Universitets segl

Good grades for Health's degree programmes

Low dropout, fine completion times, good coherence with the research environments and insignificant unemployment. On the vast majority of indicators, things look good in Health's degree programme report. But there are no roses without thorns, and the report also highlights areas where improvements are needed.

2020.12.10 | Simon Byrial Fischel

Health's degree programmes perform well on the vast majority of parameters. This is shown in the annual degree programme report, which has just landed. Photo: Lars Kruse, AU Photo.

Overall, things are going well across the faculty's degree programmes. This is the main conclusion of the annual degree programme report, which was released at the end of November. The report assesses the quality of the faculty's degree programmes, with each being individually assessed based on ten indicators, including dropout, completion time, academic and social well-being, unemployment after graduation, and the students' own evaluation of the teaching.

An overview of the results shows that the faculty meets 80 per cent of the indicators measured, while there is scope for improvement in just over 18 per cent, and actual problems in two per cent.

The majority of the challenges identified by this year's degree programme report are already well-known. That is to say, conditions which the faculty is already aware of – although the year has also thrown up completely new and unforeseen tasks.

Lukewarm study assessments
Among the recurring problems in the degree programme report are the students' teaching assessments, which are conducted after each semester. Unfortunately, they continue to feature low response rates and low levels of satisfaction. Since 2018, the faculty has worked to streamline the evaluation processes and has introduced a joint procedure to ensure that more students respond, and that there is a proper follow-up on the evaluations, so they have real consequences. But we are not there yet.

In the spring, a new measurement will be taken once a new study environment survey is complete. This should provide a more topical insight into how the teaching is perceived and assessed by both students and teaching staff.

"Only when we see the results of this survey can we really know whether we are on the right track, or whether new initiatives are required. We’re determined to reach our goal with the study evaluations now," says Vice-dean for Education Lise Wogensen Bach, while also stressing that it is important to take into account that the responses were collected during a time with both a total and partial shutdown of the university.

Good job opportunities for most graduates
Another of the key indicators in the degree programme report is employment. Historically, Health has been in fine shape here. And even though the survey’s unemployment rate of 3.7 per cent is relatively high for graduates from Health, it is still lower than the other AU faculties.

However, there are significant differences in the unemployment rate among the individual degree programmes at Health. For example, only 1.3 per cent of graduates of the Master's degree programme in Medicine are unemployed two years after graduation, while for Sport Science the figure is 12.8 per cent and for Public Health Science 13.2 per cent. This is an issue that the study boards regularly work with.

"There are many causes in play when we look at the unemployment rate for the public health science graduates," says Associate Professor Ulrika Enemark. She is chair of the board of studies at the public health science degree programme and goes on to explain:

We need to strengthen students' relation to employers
"Compared with degree programmes such as medicine and odontology, public health science is partly less profession-oriented, and partly a much more recent degree programme here at AU, with the first students graduating in 2016. So ever since the degree programme was introduced, we’ve been working with business-orientated projects and similar, where the students have the opportunity to spend two-thirds of a semester on, for example, fieldwork in private companies, regions or municipalities," she says.

As a new initiative, it is now possible to write a 60 ECTS Master's thesis on the Master’s degree programme in public health science. This will provide students with better opportunities to build-up a network already during the final semesters of their Master's in the form of a Master's thesis collaboration with a potential employer.

"It's important that we give our students a clear academic profile that makes it easy for the outside world to understand the competences they can bring with them to a workplace. This is precisely what we have sought to do in the recent revision of the Master’s degree programme, where we have also involved the employer panel for the degree programme," says Ulrika Enemark.

An atypical year – perhaps especially on the education front
During 2020, work to strengthen Health's degree programmes has taken place under special conditions. The move to online teaching and exams has been the paramount priority, and this has naturally shifted focus from some of the initiatives that the faculty has worked on over a number of years.

If you ask Lise Wogensen Bach, despite the many conundrums brought about by the pandemic, there are also things to be pleased about:

"If we look at the figures from the summer exam 2020, they show that our students have maintained the same impressive pass rate of over 90 per cent, and that the number of students who have been absent from exams is actually slightly lower than for the summer exams in recent years. This is due to a huge effort on the part of both students and teaching staff," she says.

As a supplement to the degree programme report, the university has this time round also commissioned an external survey of the digital teaching and exams, which will help underpin future management decisions on planning teaching activities online. Lise Wogensen Bach emphasises that once the pandemic is over, digital teaching will remain as a supplement to in-person teaching: "We want to take all the best elements we’ve learned about digital teaching with us and use them in future. The most important message in the quality assurance of the degree programmes and our experience with online teaching in 2020 is the importance of physical presence for social and academic integration. AU will therefore continue to be a campus university," she concludes.

About the degree programme report
The degree programme report is part of AU's quality assurance system for the degree programmes and it is the system which is assessed by the Accreditation Council in connection with the institutional accreditation.

Health's report has been reviewed and approved by the Academic Council, Health's Forum for Education and the faculty management team at Health. It will now be sent to the Education Committee, which collates all faculty reports in a single cross-organisational degree programme report for AU.

Read the full degree programme report here (PDF in Danish only).


Vice-dean for Education Lise Wogensen Bach
Email: lwb@au.dk
Mobile: (+45) 2548 8522

Associate Professor and Chair of the board of studies Ulrika Enemark
Email: ue@ph.au.dk
Tel.: (+45) 8716 8549

 [SBF1]Link til rapporten

Education, Administration (Academic), Academic staff, Health, Health, Technical / administrative staff, PhD students