Joint programme explanation
The term joint programme is widely used but not clearly defined. The European University Association’s Guidelines for quality enhancement in European joint master programmes refers to joint programmes as:
- “Programmes which are developed and implemented jointly by several institutions in different countries.”
This definition focuses on development and implementation. It doesn’t focus on the programme as included in the definitions above. If we look at the definition of a programme included in the Lisbon Recognition Convention, there seem to be three essential elements that make up a programme: (1) a higher education curriculum with (2) co-ordinated elements (courses) which (3) leads to a degree. A joint programme is a programme of which the curriculum is coordinated and offered jointly by two or more institutions and which leads to a degree. That puts the focus on the joint offering or delivery and not necessarily on the development and implementation. In its Principles for Accreditation Procedures regarding Joint Programmes the European Consortium for Accreditation in higher education puts forward the following definition:
- “A joint programme is a programme offered jointly by different higher education institutions irrespective of the degree awarded.”
This definition is quite uncomplicated and seems to suit the reality of the European Higher Education Area. But it is perhaps too straightforward to capture the complex reality. A better definition for a joint programme can therefore be formulated. A joint programme is defined as follows:
- “An integrated curriculum coordinated and offered jointly by different higher education institutions and leading to a (double/multiple or joint) degree.”
- Aerden, A., Reczulska, H., 2013. Guidelines for Good Practice for Awarding Joint Degrees. ECA Occasional Paper. The Hague. p. 35.
- European University Association. 2006. EMNEM - Guidelines for quality enhancement in European joint master programmes.
- European Consortium for Accreditation in higher education. 2007. Principles for accreditation procedures regarding joint programmes. p. 1
- Aerden, A., Reczulska, H., 2013. Guidelines for Good Practice for Awarding Joint Degrees. ECA Occasional Paper. The Hague. p. 11.