Let a student do the work

Let a student do the work

More and more companies, municipalities and organisations are realising the advantages of involving students in their activities. A student has new research-based knowledge and can often come with new approaches, solve problems and develop the organisation.

All students do an independent project towards the end of their studies. This is called a degree project and is an independent project or essay, depending on the specialisation and tradition of the subject. The degree project may be based on a suggestion from an employer, but it can also be a study on the student’s own initiative. For the student, the degree project is an opportunity to test their knowledge under supervision.

There must be one supervisor from the University and one from the company. When the student and the company have agreed on the degree project, the supervisor from the University must give consent for the work to start.

The degree project comprises 10 or 20 weeks of full-time studies. The work is to be carried out on a disciplinary foundation, which means briefly that there are scientific sources on which the work is based, that there is a theoretical model as a basis for the analysis, and that information is collected in and analysed systematically.

The work shall lead to a report or essay which will then be discussed during a seminar which is open for anyone to come and listen to. At the seminar an examiner will decide whether the work can be deemed to be satisfactory.

Get help from the University to develop your organisation

The degree project may be based on a suggestion from an employer, but it can also be a study on the student’s own initiative. For the student, the degree project is an opportunity to test their knowledge under supervision. A student has new research-based knowledge and can often come with a new approach to solve problems and develop the organisation.

Advantages of letting a student carrying out their degree project with you:

  • As the commissioner of the work you will gain valuable knowledge and the student will be better equipped for working life.
  • The student is used to taking initiatives, working independently and critically reviewing information. The student has fresh knowledge which is based on current research, which can develop your organisation.
  • The student can come with new ideas, solve problems or highlight a question.
  • The student is a prospective colleague. Having a degree project worker is a good way to market your organisation for recruitment purposes.
  • A student with new research-based knowledge can often come with a new approach to solve problems and develop the organisation.

How do I formulate a good project proposal?

For the student it’s not so important what the actual workplace looks like. How the student is received and is treated counts more. The degree project must also be an intellectual challenge for the student and relate to their studies.

Tips on how you and the student work out a project proposal

  • As the employer you are the one who owns the question, identifies the problem and knows what you want to get out of the degree project. It is you who decides the direction, but of course it will be easier to attain a good result if you and the student together go through your needs and expectations. This is to avoid unrealistic expectations.
  • The student must abide by the academic requirements laid down for the degree project. When you design the degree project you can limit the work in an efficient way. Tell the student what you at the company already know about the problem, what solutions you have tested before and what you believe could be possible. If you devote time to this at the beginning, the student will gain a deeper insight into the area and thus have better conditions for achieving a good result.

What should I provide at the company?

The student is to work independently and without being influenced. What s/he needs from the company is good conditions for being able to collect information and material for their work. This means for example that the staff concerned agree to being interviewed and being allowed to set aside their work duties during this time. It can also mean that the student takes part in meetings or other activities and also gains access to material that is necessary for carrying out the degree project. In some cases the student may need a workplace of their own or a place to carry out tests or experiments.

It is important that the supervisor is personally interested in acting as such. A thorough briefing with the supervisor before the student comes is necessary. Part of the supervisor’s most important tasks is to guide the student and offer assistance when the student asks for help.

Can anyone get information about the results?

A degree project is a part of the education and can be compared with a decisive test that must be carried out and deemed to be satisfactory. Therefore the degree project must be presented to the University in a given formal form, most often as a written report. The report or essay that the student writes will be available at the University. There anyone at all who is interested may read it.

The principle of public access to information

HEIs (higher education institutions) have limited possibilities to classify degree projects as secret documents since they are subject to the Swedish principle of public access to information. Therefore it is important that the student and you yourself plan for whether the degree project will contain sensitive information that the organisation wishes to classify as secret. This can often be solved, for example by the information that the company does not wish to be made public being black-marked in the report, or placed in a separate attachment which is not included in the copy submitted to the University for archiving. One alternative is to write two versions of the degree project, one which is submitted to the University and one that is submitted to the company.

Before the degree project is started, you and the student should plan for how the results of the degree project are to be presented. One suggestion is that the student holds a presentation for the company. It is positive for the student if the results are brought to attention in some way in the organisation.

How do I get in touch with a suitable student?

In exjobbsdatabasen you yourself as an employer can advertise suggestions for degree projects. Another way is to take part in one of the University’s exjobbsdagar, where you can look for students directly on the site, or to participate in the Student Union’s labour market day, Högvarv.

Does it cost anything to have a degree project student?

Most HEIs have the policy that the student does not receive a salary during the period the degree project is being done. However, students may, on their own initiative, request to have a salary and then it becomes a question between the employer and the student. On the other hand, it is usual for the employer to bear the costs of for example distribution and travel.

The more you involve the student in the company, the greater the chance is that the student remembers your company as a positive workplace. Therefore some companies try to invite the student to participate in trade fairs, customer visits and other things that can be felt to be an extra ”bonus”.

If you wish to know more about degree projects or to have examples of suitable projects or subjects, please contact karriärtorget