MOTIVES FOR CHOOSING A DOUBLE DEGREE PROGRAMME. A CASE STUDY IN ENGINEERING AND EDUCATION
In Sweden, as in many other western countries, student interest and performance in STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) has been declining during the last decades. In Sweden, to make it worse, there is presently a severe shortage of teachers in these subjects in secondary and upper secondary school. In an effort to increase students’ interest in becoming teachers, a double degree programme in engineering and education called Master of Science in Engineering and in Education was started at KTH Royal Institute of Technology in 2002. The programme is given in cooperation with Stockholm University and prepares for three roles: The pedagogical engineer, the upper secondary teacher with the engineering perspective, and the researcher in technology and learning.
The contribution of teachers to the upper secondary school from this double degree programme is significant. According to a study by the trade union “Lärarförbundet”, half of those taking a degree in Sweden from a five years teacher programme in the spring 2014 in the subjects physics, chemistry, biology and technology, graduated from this programme. During the last four years there has been around 500 applicants to the programme. 60 students are admitted yearly. According to a yearly exit survey, sent out within 12 months from graduation, about 30% of the graduates indicate that they work as teachers in upper secondary school.
This study investigates what motives are expressed in the exit survey for having chosen this double degree programme in engineering and education. Data are available from 48 respondents. The material is analysed in an exploratory approach using content analysis, including manifest as well as latent content (Graneheim & Lundman, 2004). Codes were generated from the data.
The findings identify two major types of motives:
• Students chose this programme because they found the combination of STEM-subjects and pedagogics attractive (expressed 40 times). They express that the different parts reinforce each other and that this combination match their personal interests.
• Students also chose this programme because they were uncertain of career choices and identity, afraid of choosing other specific alternatives, or they had a desire for security (expressed 37 times).
Several minor types of motives are also identified. Some graduates express that status was a motive for choosing this programme (6 times), some had strategic motives (5 times), and some express that this programme was their second choice (3 times).
When these motives are compared with motives for choosing other engineering programmes at KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Östling, 2016), there are similarities as well as differences. One conclusion is that the programme seems to have fulfilled the ambition to make more students interested in a degree in education.