When joint programme students obtain their degree, their qualifications will need to be recognised in the countries where they want to pursue further studies or find employment.
Key messages for practitioners
- Multidisciplinarity can cause challenges for national recognition. Therefore, consult the national ENIC-NARIC office, and if necessary, the national education ministries:
- a. when drafting the joint diploma and Diploma Supplement, and
- b. on rights to professions and access to further studies.
- HEIs are advised to consult the Guidelines on Good Practice on awarding Joint Degrees by ECA, mentioned below.
The Lisbon Convention
The Lisbon Recognition Convention (LRC) – in full: the Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region – came into existence in 1997, and is a convention of the Council of Europe and UNESCO. It has been ratified by 47 member states of the Council of Europe, except for Greece and Monaco. Outside of Europe, Canada and the Unites States have not ratified the LRC either. The LRC is a binding international treaty and serves as the foundation of recognition in the European region. Several subsidiary texts have been adopted since. The most relevant ones, in the context of this publication, are the:
- Recommendations on Criteria and Procedures (2001);
- Recommendation on the Recognition of Joint Degrees (2004).
One of the fundamental principles of the LRC is that 'foreign qualifications shall be recognised unless there is a substantial difference between the foreign qualification for which recognition is sought and the corresponding qualification in the host country'. In short, substantial differences are differences considered so severe that they most likely will prevent students from succeeding in getting their qualifications recognised. The burden of proof to determine a substantial difference lies with the competent recognition authority. Transparent procedures and information provision are guaranteed to students and graduates.