University Post
University of Copenhagen
Independent of management


Head of Department: Our programme is a success

Response — The Cross-Cultural Studies education programme is a success, and its subjects are oriented towards a career in business. This can be seen by the fact that the Confederation of Danish Industry and the Confederation of Danish Enterprise have contributed to it. Department head responds to the criticism by a former student.

The following is Head of Department Ingolf Thuesen’s response to a criticism of the Cross-Cultural studies programme claiming that it was irrelevant to the private sector labour market. Read the criticism in the article “I thought, fuck it, I am going to study electrical engineering”.

The Department cannot comment on individuals study programmes, opinions or subsequent career opportunities in the media.

But we would like to say something about the master’s in Cross-Cultural Studies, which in recent years has evolved into one of the department’s most successful programmes.

Of the two master’s programmes, Cross-Cultural Studies is the one at the Department of Cross-Cultural and Regional Studies (ToRS) which attracts the most students. The admissions numbers have been increasing significantly over recent years.

At the same time, the unemployment rate for graduates has fallen sharply, and on the last count was 23.5 per cent, just shy of the UCPH quality requirement of 22 per cent.

Neither the students, the graduates, nor the department has an interest in having an unemployment rate of 23.5 per cent, as it means that many skilled graduates do not get the chance to use their knowledge of the subject.

But if the declining trend continues, the programme will be within the University’s quality requirements ​​next year. Unfortunately, the numbers in [the government site, ed.] have been proven incorrect, as in the case of Assyriology, and we do not therefore apply them to ToRS.

ToRS has chosen to introduce its own cap on admissions so that we do not exceed 50 students a year. This is precisely with the labour market in mind. It should be noted that the master’s programme in China studies does not exceed the requirements  ​​for graduate unemployment.

Part of globalization strategy

The Master’s programme in Cross-Cultural Studies at ToRS was set up in 2009 as a direct result of the Anders Fogh Rasmussen government’s globalization strategy, the business sector’s increasing focus on economic globalization, outsourcing and new markets (eg China), as well as the ToRS students’ interest in using their language and cultural understanding in practice.

The idea of ​​the programme is to combine regional knowledge (as in Chinese culture, language and society) with cultural analytical skills and a focus on academic professionalism in practice. Like other programmes at ToRS, it is an education programme with a global outlook.

The Cross-Cultural Studies’ success has been due to the fact that, from the very beginning, the programme was intended as education for a wider labour market and never as a programme for academic research. Developers and teachers of the Cross-Cultural Studies programme have demonstrated unusual abilities in relevant innovative thinking when it comes to increasing contact with employers.

The teaching on offer corresponds to the faculty requirement of 4 hours of weekly hours of lectures for 15 ECTS subject areas. As a semester is 30 ECTS, the students in this way receive 8 hours of teaching a week. In the BA segment the requirement is 12 hours a week.

12 hours of teaching a week

Today, there are at least 12 hours of weekly lectures on the China Studies (BA). On the 1st semester of the Master’s program, this is reflected in Tuesday and Thursday lectures, as well as teaching in smaller teams of 12 people on Fridays. In addition to the academic cultural analytical content, skills are developed in text discussion, text comprehension, feedback practice, oral presentation and writing.

In the third semester the focus is on academic professionalism in practice, and this semester is developed in close cooperation with the Confederation of Danish Industry and the Confederation of Danish Enterprise

Ingolf Thuesen, Head of Department at TORS

On the second semester, there is the so-called mobility window where students choose supplementary courses in either a Danish or foreign educational institution (in this way creating their own unique professional profile).

On the third semester the focus is on professionalism in practice, and this semester has been developed in close collaboration with the Confederation of Danish Industry and the Confederation of Danish Enterprise, which in the preliminary development work pointed out that the students’ professional skills should be to a greater degree brought into play for specific sectors of society.

Most students are therefore during the third semester directly linked to institutions in local/national government, companies in business or in civil society organizations in Denmark or abroad. This focus on professionalism in practice was after a few years also extended to innovation cooperation with companies, and to doing business dissertations.

This allowed students to set up a 60 ECTS professional relationship to an external party for the final year of the programme. For several students, this is an opportunity to create the necessary job network before graduating. A few students pursue the last 60 ECTS with a research career in mind, as it is possible to be linked to research projects at this level in education.

To ensure continuous focus on professional progression and professionalism in practice, ToRS has introduced ‘pit-stop conversations’ with students as well as compulsory study plan appraisals at the start of the master’s programme.

Finally, it should be emphasized that the terms used for the elements of the curricula in the master’s in China studies for technical reasons are called Realia A, B and C  to maintain flexibility for students, who can choose courses in, for example, modern society, history or literature. All courses are offered with a title and content, but it is up to the individual student to choose a focus.