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by Peter Damaschke, MPA of the CSALL master's programme

Note: this is a draft, some details might change.


Close connection to research is a strength of CSALL, but currently the course system is not optimally suited for that:

  • MSc students can use a special course code (DAT235 at Chalmers) for taking a PhD level course, but every student can use it at most once, which has sometimes caused problems. Ambitious students may want to specialize more in one field but they don't get credits.
  • Several teachers are eager to offer special courses, but usually it is done ad-hoc and without payment from teaching funds, moreover, it can be difficult to reach enough interested students.


  • The plan is to have several course codes for research-oriented special courses from 2015/16 on, each with a fairly general course plan but dedicated to a specific area of study. This gives every student the possibility to register on one special course per area. These courses are elective in CSALL. The already existing special course code is kept, too.
  • Examiners should be teachers from the respective areas. The set of areas is not static and may be adjusted if the need arises. Also, several course instances may be run under the same code.
  • Proposed areas for now correspond to the teaching teams (clusters): formal methods, functional programming, programming language technology, security, logic, algorithms.
  • Every teacher who intends to give a special course should inform the MPA (masterprogramansvarig) well in advance, and the plan and administrative details will be discussed. Specifically that means: For a course in the following(!) academic year, approach the MPA before August. (This is August 2014 for courses in 2015/16.) Reasons for the early deadline: The budget must be decided, the course must be advertised in the same way as a regular course, students must be able to plan which courses they take, and the course itself needs some planning, too.
  • When you think about special courses, bear in mind that the regular courses always have priority when it comes to assigning teachers.
  • Each special course instance should have a course-memo describing learning outcomes and examination requirements.
  • Period 1 or 2 is strongly recommended for special courses, the best placement can still be decided on a case-by-case basis.
  • Teacher and MPA decide from year to year whether the special course will be given again. Very attractive special courses may also be turned into new regular courses later on, if they fit in the programme.
  • The teacher takes care of the course administration: room booking, and so on.

Expected effects

  • More fun, more diversity, more renewal, agile development, a playground for trying new ideas on a small scale.
  • Maybe the student numbers decrease somewhat in other courses, or maybe not. (CSALL students can take four arbitrary elective courses anyway!)
  • On the other hand, the programme may become even more attractive by such opportunities, and this can increase the student numbers in general and the level of the students coming here.


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Page last modified on June 11, 2014, at 05:54 AM