University Science Education

University Science Education

University Science Education

The members of the research group are

The following are attached to the group

  • PhD student Camilla Falk Rønne Nissen (Department of Nordic Studies and Linguistics, UCPH)
  • PhD student Rie Hjørnegaard Malm (Department of Geosciences, Oslo University)


The research group of University Science Education carry out research and development in relation to teaching and learning in university science programmes. A particular focus is on the interaction between the students, the staff, the curricula and the teaching and learning cultures at university. This has been studied in relation to the transition and retention of students through the entire university programme and the students’ constructions of identities in this process, in relation to university science teaching development, to PhD supervision and to interdisciplinarity. A large part of the research activities relate to the following themes:

  1. Transition and retention of students:This theme includes projects studying the transition of students into university science programmes and how the students cope and negotiate their experiences at the programme. Further, there are projects studying the transition of students after the bachelor degree, including the into a Master’s programme, and from the Master’s degree and into the labour market
  2. University science teaching development:A series of studies concern the effect and impact of teaching development programmes and the participants’ experience of development within and outside the programme. A particular focus is on the two programmes for new teachers offered by the Department of Science Education. Other studies focus on teaching and learning processes in relation to PhD supervision, both in the local UCPH setting and in relation to capacity building of academics at universities in Ghana, Tanzania, Kenya, and Uganda. A recurrent theme across studies is the role of teaching and teaching qualifications in local university culture and politics.
  3. Disciplines and interdisciplinarity:Some research projects address the role of disciplines through the lens of the concept of ‘talent’ or by studying particular teaching and learning activities within specific disciplines. Here, research of the specific learning cultures in different departments and sections are central. The disciplines are also studied in relation to the development of interdisciplinary teaching and learning activities related to interdisciplinary research

Research approches

The research group has extended experience with qualitative methodologies e.g. narrative interviews, timeline interviews, longitudinal studies, and further apply a wide range of qualitative analytical frameworks as discourse analysis, thematic analysis using narrative psychology. The group also apply mixed-methods approaches.

Some of the research in the group is linked to the pedagogical development projects launched by the University of Copenhagen. This includes projects about the use of portfolio as documentation of pedagogic competences, about interdisciplinary courses and study programmes, and improving the first-year experience of students.

Furthermore, members of the research group are also involved in research concerning upper-secondary school, particularly related to geoscience, inquiry-based science education, transition into upper-secondary school and non-traditional students.

Examples of research questions

  • How do students experience the transition to university, how does the curriculum affect this experience, how do the students cope with their experiences and what implications does this have for the retention?
  • How are teaching competences included and assessed in the academic development of university staff?
  • In what ways does engagement influence students’ interactions with learning situations on spatial thinking skills?
  • In what ways are scientific knowledge production negotiated between the Global South and the Global North in academic research capacity building projects in West-Africa.
  • How does the culture at different science study programmes interact with students’ transition to work life?