Principles for accreditation procedures regarding joint programmes

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Joint programmes are programmes offered jointly by different higher education institutions irrespective of the degree (joint, multiple and double) awarded. Joint programmes could be subject to accreditation procedures by different accreditation organisations in each of the states where the joint programme is offered. These distinct accreditation jurisdictions imply the potential involvement of several accreditation organisations and therefore the execution of different accreditation procedures. The members of ECA however agree that the Code of Good Practice applies to all accreditation organisations including their procedures regarding joint programmes. The principles set out below could be an integral part of a mutual recognition agreement. This implies that accreditation decisions regarding joint programmes are/should be subject to the relevant mutual recognition of accreditation decisions agreements. In order to increase mutual trust and transparency, the members of ECA concur that accreditation procedures regarding joint programmes should take into account the following principles.

Principles for the accreditation of joint programmes

Information sharing and transparency

The composition of the expert panel

  • There should be particular emphasis on the inclusion of experts with relevant international experience and knowledge.

The assessment process

  • The submitted documentation must include comprehensive information on the totality of the joint programme and not just the single contribution (national and/or institutional);
  • The panel has to determine site visit(s) requirements;
  • Any site visit(s) must include representatives of the programme who are able to present the totality of the joint programme across all sites (even if there are not representatives from all sites);
  • The panel makes its assessment on the totality of the joint programme, including taking into account the learning outcomes aimed for by the joint programme irrespective of the individual study pathways;
  • The assessment process should, where possible, include at least one observer from another relevant accreditation organisation.

The accreditation decision

Principles for the quality assurance of joint programmes through institutional accreditation

The principles below can be seen in the light of an institution undergoing institutional accreditation for the first time or an institution getting renewal of its institutional accreditation.

Information sharing and transparency

The composition of the expert panel

  • There should be particular emphasis on the inclusion of experts with relevant international experience and knowledge.

The assessment process

The accreditation decision

The introduction of new joint programmes

  • Accreditation organisations should inform accredited institutions that they are expected to quality assure any new joint programme(s) with a rigour equivalent to that which provided the basis of the institution’s accreditation.


ECA Principles for accreditation procedures regarding joint programmes