EVALUATION OF THE PHD STUDENTS’ ENGLISH LEVEL
PURPOSE: To evaluate the need to have a suitable English level to obtain a PhD degree
In order to obtain the bachelor in Pharmacy in the syllabus of 1973, English was one of the subjects that students learned in their first year and its duration was 120 hours. This subject received many students’ objections. For this reason, that subject disappeared and in 1998 English was not in the syllabus.
According to Bologna´s declaration in 1999 each University should adapt its syllabus to the European Area for Higher Education. This fact involves that English could be a fundamental subject but any University includes it in their syllabus.
Pupils have the responsibility to guide their own learning; therefore they should increase their knowledge in the main disciplines. Because of this, most of them think over that English is fundamental in their education and they are conscious of their low level.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
A group of 25 pupils were selected to evaluate their English level and their development during PhD student period.
This development does not only take into account reading and writing but also listening and speaking, that is, the four language skills that we should consider in the learning of any language.
Those 25 people were equally distributed in PhD sutudents and Master’s degree students and the study comprehends a ten-year period.
A survey was carried out with several question about their English knowledge acquiered during four or five years in their attendance to classes and their period in laboratory where they are trained in experimental procedures. In this questionnaire pupils answered questions about their training stay abroad and their knowledge in other languages.
There are significant differences in English knowledge self-evaluated by students. Before students started their PhD, that is at that very moment they finish their bachelor in Pharmacy, their English level was self-evaluated with a 5,84 mark. Two years later, when they finished PhD this mark increase 11%. This is due to the fact that the pharmaceutical information that they needed to consult is written in English.
Most of them signed up to an English Academy and when they finished PhD, three years later, their English level had significantly improved and they self-evaluated it with a 7,6 mark.
To obtain the PhD degree, 90 per cent of young researchers would like to go abroad for three and six months. In the survey, they selected the country according to several reasons. The head of project chooses the country according to the research of the group; however PhD students have selected the country because of the language. The USA has been the most chosen country (51,43 per cent); the second position was the United Kingdom (20 per cent). Italy and Ireland obtained 8,57 per cent each and Germany and Canada 5,71 per cent each.
The reasons to justify this selection were the language with 46,15%, research group 38,46%, the proximity of the country to Spain 10,26% and knowing people or relatives in the target country 5,13%.
PhD students are conscious of the importance of English in the pharmaceutical research area. As the main responsible of their own learning, PhD students make an effort to improve their English level although this subject is not included in the current syllabus.
Pupils give more priority to the language spoken in a country to the fact that the research group has got less quality.