The aim of the following paper is to show how the structure and characteristics of the Swedish university system, particularly the Linköping university, can be useful for the Bologna reform that will be applied to Swiss universities over the next few years.
Linköping university, which was founded in 1975, offers various courses in different areas. In addition to the classical disciplines new forms of so-called "Tema-instituts" have been added (Child Studies, Communication Studies, Gender Studies, Technology and Social Change, Water and Environmental Studies, Aging and the Elderly, Ethnic Studies) that guarantee transdisciplinary research and science.
In 2000, the philology departments organized a postgraduate-school that offers advanced students the possibility to study for four or five years. The doctoral students are employed at the university and earn enough money to live on. The structure of the postgraduate study programme includes not only the writing of the dissertation that has to be defended at the end of the programme but also the visiting of courses and the individual presentation of work in progress to the research colloquium of the department. Additionally, they have to present their work at an international congress or to write an essay in a professional journal.
The postgraduate school operates like every Swedish university programme on a point system, which helps to transform the performance of the students into a measurable criterion: It has nothing to do with the quality of the student's work; it is more a way of gauging the learning efficiency of the students; a procedure that allows the university system to calculate the progress of students to the level of "Magister" and PhD as accurately and cost-effectively as possible. A second characteristic of the Swedish university system is the employee structure. There are not many professors, but a lot of lecturers, people who have finished their PhD and teach at the university without ambitions to become professors. The fluctuations of scientific assistants, which we are familiar in Switzerland, don't occur in Sweden. This is a central factor that guarantees the stability of the staff, which is not only appreciated by the students but also contributes to the identity of the institute.