Ministers in charge of the Bologna Process met in Bergen, Norway to adopt an overarching framework for qualifications in the European Higher Education Area.
Ministers in charge of the Bologna Process met in Bergen, Norway on May 19-20 to adopt an overarching framework for qualifications in the European Higher Education Area(EHEA). The framework comprises three cycles (including, within national contexts, the possibility of intermediate qualifications) generic descriptors for each cycle based on learning outcomes and competences, and credit ranges in the first and second cycles.
The generic descriptors are the so-called Dublin descriptors, drafted by members of the Joint Quality Initiative. These descriptors will in some countries form the basis for the national qualifications frameworks foreseen in the Bergen communiqu?, and in any case they form the reference point for discussions on subject-based descriptors.
Thus, the members of the Chemistry Subject Area group in the Tuning Project, almost all of whom come from ECTN institutions, took the opportunity of a tuning meeting in Budapest to draft a set of three descriptors for chemistry graduates. These are as follows:
First cycle degrees in chemistry are awarded to students who have:
- A good grounding in the core areas of chemistry: inorganic, organic, physical, biological and analytical chemistry and the necessary background in mathematics and physics
- Basic knowledge in several other more specialised areas of chemistry
- Practical skills learnt during laboratory courses, at least in inorganic, organic and physical chemistry, in which they have worked individually or in groups as appropriate to the area
- Generic skills in the context of chemistry that are applicable in many other contexts
- A standard of knowledge and competence that will give them access to second cycle course units or degree programmes
Such graduates will have:
- The ability to gather and interpret relevant scientific data and make judgements that include reflection on relevant scientific and ethical issues
- The ability to communicate information, ideas, problems and solutions to informed audiences
- Competences that fit them for entry-level graduate employment in the general workplace, including the chemical industry
- Learning skills necessary to undertake further study with a sufficient degree of autonomy
Second cycle degrees in chemistry are awarded to students who have:
- Knowledge and understanding expanded and founded on the Bachelor’s level in chemistry, providing a basis for originality in developing and applying ideas within a research context
- Competences that fit them for employment as professional chemists in chemical and related industries or in public service
- A standard of knowledge and competence providing access to third cycle course units or degree programmes
Such graduates will be able to:
- Apply their knowledge and understanding, and problem solving abilities, in new or unfamiliar environments within broader (or multidisciplinary) contexts related to chemical sciences
- Integrate knowledge and handle complexity, and formulate judgements with incomplete or limited information, including reflection on ethical responsibilities linked to the application of their knowledge and judgement
- Communicate their conclusions, and the knowledge and rationale underpinning these, to specialist and non-specialist audiences clearly and unambiguously
- Have developed those learning skills that will allow them to continue to study in a manner that may be largely self-directed or autonomous, and to take responsibility for their own professional development
Third cycle (doctoral) degrees in chemistry are awarded to students who have:
- Demonstrated a systematic understanding of an aspect of the science of chemistry and mastery of those skills and methods of research associated with the topic of this research
- Demonstrated the ability to conceive, design, implement and develop a substantial process of research in chemical sciences with rigour and integrity
- Made a contribution through original research that extends the frontier of knowledge in chemical science by developing a substantial body of work, some of which merits national or international refereed publication
- Competences that fit them for employment as professional chemists in senior positions in chemical and related industries and in public service, or for a progression to a career in academic research
Such graduates will be capable of critical analysis, evaluation and synthesis of new and complex ideas. They will be able to communicate with their peers, with the larger scholarly community, and with society in general about their areas of expertise. They are expected to promote, within both academic and professional contexts, scientific and technological advancement in a knowledge based society.
These descriptors were drafted on 23 April 2005 during the Opening Meeting of Phase 3 of the project Tuning Educational Structures in Europe by the Chemistry Subject Area Group
Terry Mitchell, professor of chemistry at Universit?t Dortmund, Germany, is German national representative on the IUPAC Committee on Chemistry Education
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