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Business master — Law and Computer Science at the University of Copenhagen are a part of a new pilot scheme where bachelor students with fixed employment can do their master’s in four years. At Computer Science, they hope to be able to have their first part-time students starting already this autumn.
The Ministry for Higher Education and Research published 31st January a list of 13 education programmes which from the autumn of 2018 or 2019 may introduce a 4-year business master (or part-time master’s programme) in a pilot project. At the University of Copenhagen (UCPH) the programmes are Computer Science and Law.
To be admitted to the programme, students need a bachelor’s degree and a permanent job of at least 25 hours a week ‘based on their bachelor’s degree programme’ (read more about the requirements here).
In this way, one of the most criticized elements of the Danish Study Progress Reform will soon be a thing of the past – although initially only for students in the selected pilot programmes: That you can now take a master’s in more than the standard two years if you have a permanent job.
Many bachelor students dream of returning and taking their master’s at a later date. Now they have the opportunity.
The tough requirements of the Study Progress Reform have made it impossible for many students to combine their master’s degree with full-time or part-time studies. Where they previously could postpone exams and courses to fit their daily schedules, after the reform they have either had to drop their jobs, or drop university and miss out on their master’s in the process.
In this way – critics have said – the reform has directly counteracted the recent governments’ policies of linking universities and businesses closer together and trying to avoid universities training students for unemployment.
At Computer Science, the pilot scheme is welcomed by Deputy Head of Department Martin Lillholm, who will try to get the new scheme ready for the autumn.
“We are really happy about being allowed to set up a business master’s in computer science. As you probably know, IT specialists are in high demand. According to one projection there will be a shortfall of 19,000 IT specialists in the year 2030. And we need to find good ways to educate them. Most of our students have student jobs, and many end up, already as a bachelor, in a full-time job. This leads to a strange catch-22 situation, because the labour market is in dire need of highly educated IT specialists – but if they employ them in permanent positions before we can finish them as master’s students, it will be hard to live up to this demand.”
THE 13 SELECTED programmes
Here, students will be able to take a master’s degree over a four-year part-time course as part of a pilot project.
New Business Master programmes in 2018:
Business Administration and Ebusiness (CBS)
Computer Science (UCPH)
Computer Science (SDU)
Engineer in Construction Engineering (DTU)
Engineer in Information Technology (DTU)
Software Engineer (SDU)
New Business Master programmes in 2019:
Architect (Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts, School of Architecture, Design and Conservation)
Architect (Aarhus School of Architecture)
Business Economics (CBS)
Business Economics (SDU)
Computer Science (IT University)
Digital Innovation and Management (IT University)
Design (Kolding Design School)
The business master will not only be able to solve a problem for employers, but also for the computer science students, Martin Lillholm believes:
“Many bachelor graduates have a dream of returning and taking their master’s at a later date – but then having settled down with fixed income and family, it is not easy to return to a full-time study programme. Now they have the opportunity to pursue this dream. And just graduated bachelor students will from the outset be able to take an active decision and continue on the business master’s programme.”
The scheme also has another positive effect, according to Martin Lillholm:
“We should not underestimate that it also provides another opportunity for collaboration with companies, where students can choose courses on what they are working with, and in this way write business projects. From the point of view of society, we get a more direct and dynamic interaction between working life and education.”
The scheme states that students in part-time master’s programmes must uphold a minimum of 25 hours of weekly work. And computer science is known as a tough study programme. Is there enough time for students on the business master?
“Yes, when they do their master in four years instead of two, then there is time.”
But will employers offer 25 hours-a-week positions? Is it not likely that they are most interested in recruiting full-time employees – and that the students therefore need to take their part-time master’s degree on top of their full-time employment?
“Now we are in the privileged situation that it is largely an employees’ market in computer science, so I think the students will be able to get positions that fit the scheme. But it is important to emphasize that it is a pilot project and that everyone will become the wiser. We will determine if the offering and structure of the model are appropriate. That is why we are doing a pilot: Is this going to take off?”
According to the Ministry for Higher Education and Research, there is room for an additional seven programmes in the pilot scheme. The eduation programmes need to – if interested – apply to participate in the scheme before 1st September 2018.
The University Post is awaiting a response from the ministry on when other programmes up and beyond the 20 selected (the 13 existing ones and the seven that are forthcoming) will be able to create business master’s programmes if the scheme is made permanent.