Wetenschap - 18 januari 1996

MSc programmes more thesis oriented

MSc programmes more thesis oriented

Programmes should enable MSc students to match the contents of the study more to their individual needs and wishes for their own professional or scientific careers. The programmes can become more thesis oriented and offer more room for free choice of subjects. This sums up the major message of a letter from the Standing Committee on Education to the Executive Board last year.


Speelman, chairman of the Standing Committee, recalls that he received positive reactions from programme directors: This is the first nice letter to come from the main building, one of them commented." Speelman explains that the Standing Committee by and large agreed with a proposal sent to them by the programme directors.

In the letter from the Standing Committee Speelman puts forward an extra argument for increasing the freedom of programme directors to decide on the composition of the programmes themselves. He states: A drastic reform of the regular postgraduate education is at hand. The desirable overlap in education between regular and MSc programmes would become even more complicated if, every time the regular programme changes, the consequences for the MSc education have to be taken into account as well."

Martha Bloemberg, MAKS programme director, has mixed feelings about this newly acquired freedom. She is happy with the fact that the programme directors have been given the possibility to make the programmes more thesis oriented and offer students more freedom of choice. However, Bloemberg is also disappointed since responsibilities remain unclear and have not been institutionally formalised. Bloemberg explains that tailor made programmes have to be approved by the exam committee, but these only exist on paper. She feels that the position of MSc education is not really taken seriously into account in the reform plans for postgraduate education at WAU.

On behalf of the Committee Speelman advises further that the programme directors should consult and discuss with departments which could offer and supervise subjects for theses. If a department is to supervise students in their thesis writing, then these same departments will have to offer preparatory and related subjects in English as well.

Henk Udo, programme director for Animal Science, discloses that he has already introduced certain changes with regard to making the programme more flexible for students. In his opinion, however, one only can speak of partial creation of free choice, since the amount of subjects offered in English is still limited.

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