University of Gothenburg

Programme evaluation with external assessment

The Faculty of Social Sciences conducts annual programme evaluations with external assessment. The purpose of these evaluations is to review and improve the quality of the courses and study programmes offered at the Faculty.


All study programmes at the Faculty of Social Sciences undergo evaluation with external assessment. The evaluation is carried out in accordance with the University of Gothenburg’s policy for quality assurance and quality improvement. The Faculty Board of Social Sciences has the ultimate responsibility for ensuring that the Faculty’s courses and study programmes are of high quality. The Board therefore systematically follows up on how the departments are working to address the areas for development identified in the programme evaluations.

The purpose of the evaluations

The overarching aim of the evaluations is to contribute to improving the quality of the University’s study programmes. The focus of the evaluations is on the departments’ conditions for delivering good quality education, rather than the content of the subject areas per se. In addition, the evaluations function as a checkpoint for ensuring that the University’s internal quality work is effective and that the study programmes are meeting the identified quality criteria.

Assessment panel

The evaluations are carried out by at least two experienced referees with research/artistic and teaching expertise from a higher education institution other than the University of Gothenburg, as well as at least one undergraduate/doctoral student representative.

The task of the assessment panels is to highlight the strengths and weaknesses of the programmes. To assist them, they have various forms of written material from the department concerned, and the assessment panel also conducts interviews with representatives and undergraduate/doctoral students from the study programmes.

Quality criteria

In their work to highlight strengths and weaknesses, the assessment panel is to base their assessment on the following quality criteria. These criteria have been developed by the University of Gothenburg to make it possible to determine whether the quality of a study programme is good or not.

Quality criteria
  1. The achieved learning outcomes correspond to the intended learning outcomes and the qualitative targets listed in Sweden’s Higher Education Ordinance.
  2. The undergraduate/doctoral students’ learning is central in the teaching of the programme.
  3. The content and type of instruction are based on an academic or artistic principles and on proven experience.
  4. The teachers have current and appropriate competencies in the subject area, teaching and learning in higher education, and subject didactics, and that the number of teaching staff is proportional to the scope and content of the study programme.
  5. The study programme is relevant to the needs of the undergraduate/doctoral students and the wider community.
  6. The undergraduate/doctoral students have an influence on the planning, implementation and follow-up of the study programme.
  7. There is a study and learning environment that is accessible and functional for all undergraduate/doctoral students.
  8. There is continuous follow-up and improvement of the study programme.

For third-cycle programmes, there are two additional criteria:

  1. The doctoral students are to have access to an active research environment with sufficient subject area depth, breadth and scope.
  2. The study programme also includes opportunities for doctoral students to collaborate with researchers nationally and internationally and with the wider community.

Assessment panel report and action plan

After having read the documentation and interviewed representatives of the study programmes, the assessment panel summarises their impressions in a report. The department is then asked to produce an action plan in response to the report. The action plan is to show how the department plans to address the weaknesses identified by the assessment panel.

Action plan

Department of Political Science:
European Studies Programme. Master in European Studies. Executive Master Programme in European Studies.

Department of Journalism, Media and Communication:
Journalism programme. Master Programme in Investigative journalism + other freestanding courses.

Doctoral studies: the subjects Journalism, Media and Communication.

Department of Global Studies & Department of Social Work:
Master’s programme in Human Rights. Master’s Programme in Social Work and Human Rights.


Department of Social Work:
Bachelor of Science in Sociology + other freestanding courses in social work.

Doctoral studies: Social Work.

Department of Psychology & Department of Social Work:
Master’s programme in Psychotherapy.

Department of Psychology:
Programme for Master of Science in Psychology + freestanding courses at first- and second-cycle level.

School of Global Studies:
Bachelor’s programme in Social Anthropology

External assessment - RED19

Our research activities have been the subject of external assessment as part of the RED19 process, which covered all levels at the entire University. Each department and the Faculty management wrote action plans during the autumn of 2019 and the Faculty has begun its own follow-up process on the basis of these. Within this process, each unit has filled in a follow-up plan listing the 3–5 highest priority strategic development issues for the period from 2020 to 2023, when the RED19 process is concluded. These plans have been approved by the Faculty Board. The idea is that this process will become part of regular quality management within the BFF, alongside doctoral education.
As part of the RED19 process, the Faculty will hold annual thematic seminars on issues that are common to many of the departments.