Survey

General
  • id
  • username
  • 2009-06-15
  • Sweden
  • Stockholm University
  • Institute for Interpretation and Translation Studies
  • Birgitta Englund Dimitrova
  • Professor
  • Yves Gambier
  • Some to the institute only, some to Sweden as a whole
Structure
  • Sweden does not have any PhD program in Translation Studies. This means that our institute, in contrast to most departments at Stockholm University, does not have any PhD program of its own. We have courses and training at BA and MA level.
  • In general in Sweden, PhD programs are supposed to be completed in 4 years. If students have already done some of the course work, for instance at MA level, time can be somewhat shorter. But, actually, in humanities, PhD students usually take longer than 4 years to complete their study.
  • Probably, but they do not seem to be very common.
Admission
  • BA = 3 years, + at least one year on MA level, including a paper/thesis of at least 15 ECTS.
  • Since there is no TS doctoral program, students with an interest in TS go into a doctoral program in another area, e g English, French, Linguistics, Comparative Literature, Film Studies, etc. Which area a specific student will apply for, largely depends upon his/her prior studies. For instance, to get into the PhD program in English, you are supposed to have a BA in English, and an MA in English, (or with very close relevance for English).
  • The student applies to the department where the program he/she is interested in is given. When applying, the student is supposed to submit a research plan, on a topic of his/her choosing. In practice, a student will be recommended to choose a topic which is in some respect in the area of expertise of the given department, in order to ensure competent supervision. The proposal is accepted or rejected by the group of senior researchers/supervisors at the given department.
  • The student submits an application, with a project/research proposal (cf. above), any earlier student papers, published papers, etc. Plus CV etc. Among the applicants who formally fulfill the criteria for admission, the group mentioned above will select the or those student/s/ who they deem have the best potential for achieving the goal of the program.
  • No fees, only an obligatory membership of the student union. All PhD students must be “financed”, which means that they must either receive a monthly salary from the department, or a scholarship, or be able to show that they have the means to support themselves, e g by working half-time (and that they are likely to continue doing so…). The salary from the department can be taken either from the means of the department as granted by state authorities, or be provided by external funding for research. The mandatory financing means that no student can come and say: I don’t care about the money, just accept me!! I.e., it is mandatory for the department to show that the student they want to accept can either be paid a salary by the department, or has indeed credible own means of living.
Programme
  • Course part usually comprises 90-120 ECTS, dissertation part the rest. (But variation in course part size between different departments.) Among the courses, there is a basic compulsory part, and there is the possibility of optional modules. If you do a PhD in French, e g, you may have to take French historical linguistics etc, even if you want to write about modern translation.
  • Yes, all courses are theoretical at this level. It is recommended that students start with at least some of the courses, but they can do dissertation work alongside. Since they are supposed to have submitted quite a detailed research plan when applying, they can usually start their research work straight away as well.
  • All students are encouraged to participate in seminars etc in other departments, according to their own interest. There is a Nordic network for TS scholars, with quite a few PhD students as members. There is no national research school focusing on TS.
  • Length 150-200 pages; recommended in an “international” language, but dissertation in the area of Swedish/Nordic languages will be in Swedish; time limit for completion: 2-2,5 years; in humanities either a monograph or based on articles.
  • Yes, there are scholarships to be applied for.
Supervision
  • As a rule, the supervisor will be someone from the department where the PhD student is studying – TS people are at an immediate disadvantage here, since there is no such program, cf. above. Formal qualification: senior researcher. Supervisor from other department, university, or country: usually only within the framework of joint supervision. As for definitions of the role of supervisors, there are such attempts, both at local level, and at national level. There are also courses for supervisors.
  • Usually one-two. Joint supervision is quite common, becoming even more so, a recommended practice.
  • This is probably different with every student – supervisor dyads. But I think that there is more and more of structuring going on. The student is every year supposed to fill in and update an individual plan of study, which is handed in to the faculty. Here, progress is closely monitored.
Assessment
  • Dissertation is defended at a public defense, with an opponent appointed by the faculty. A committee of usually three members decides on pass or fail – opponent will take part in these discussions, but not in the decision. There is no external assessment before the public defense. However, if a committee member finds before the defense that he/she will not be able to give the dissertation the pass grade, he/she is supposed to (at least in Stockholm) contact the university beforehand, so that the defense could be stopped.
  • Yes, dissertation must be published not later than three weeks before the defense. In humanities, at least, there must be a book (even if the dissertation is a collection of articles), printed in at least a small number of copies.
Other
  • Strength: traditionally, very good quality of most dissertations, thanks to the fact that they are published.
    Weaknesses: of course the fact that there is no PhD program in TS… And the financing problem mentioned above. It can take quite a lot of work (done by senior researchers!) to find funding for the salary for the PhD candidate, to be able to accept a promising candidate. And if a candidate is accepted on “his/her own funding” (i e having a work outside academia), you as supervisor will feel constantly pressed to try and find funding for the student to enable him/her to finish the PhD faster.