Joint Programmes are study programmes which are jointly developed and offered by higher education institutions in at least two different countries. On principle, students spend time at two or more partner institutions, that is, student mobility is a core feature of joint programmes. Graduates receive either a joint degree awarded by all partners together, or a double (or multiple) degree. There is usually a written cooperation agreement regulating central quality-relevant aspects as e.g. student admission and selection, examination and assessment, monitoring and quality assurance etc.
Accreditation of Joint Programmes based on the Rules of the German Accreditation Council
If a German university awards a degree at the completion of a joint programme, it must be accredited according to the rules of the German Accreditation Council. As a large number of formal requirements must be fulfilled, this can constitute a real challenge for higher education institutions.
Sometimes, universities may not be sure whether the procedural rules for Joint Programmes apply to their programme at all. Also, they wish to avoid undergoing multiple costly accreditation procedures to satisfy national requirements in different countries.
In such cases, ZEvA offers consulting and advice to higher education institutions in order to find solutions for formal and practical challenges at an early stage.
If required, the self-report of the consortium, the on-site talks and the accreditation report may be partly or completely in English.
European Approach for the Accreditation of Joint Progammes
In October 2015, the German Accreditation Council opened the way for the German QA agencies to apply the newly developed “European Approach” in the accreditation of joint programmes.
The European Approach was developed by a panel of experts within the Bologna Follow-Up Group and was approved by the EHEA ministers at their conference in Yerevan in May 2015.
The design of the procedure and the assessment criteria are fundamentally based on the ESG. Most importantly, the European Approach does not account for special national regulations concerning the formal structure of study programmes, examination procedures etc, in order to simplify the procedure of accreditation for all parties involved in a joint programme.
If you are not sure whether the European Approach is applicable to your study programme, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice!