Global University: Dual/Joint Degree Working Group


University of Wisconsin – Madison

More definitions and a new report via Europe

I was contacted by Axel Aerden, NVAO (Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands & Flanders).  He informed me that:

The European Consortium for Accreditation in Higher Education (ECA) recently published a report [The recognition of qualifications awarded by joint programmes] on the recognition of qualifications (degrees) awarded by joint programmes. That report contains an annex [pp 31-33] that explores some issues with terminology.  We also organised a survey among admission officers and credential evaluators but that report is not published yet.

He also noted this initiative (Qrossroads) which:

presents information regarding quality assured and accredited higher education in Europe. The information on Qrossroads is provided by quality assurance and accreditation agencies and specifically concerns qualifications from quality assured and accredited programmes and institutions.

Two relevant definitions from the Qrossroads Glossary are:

Joint degrees:

A degree awarded by the higher education institutions that offer a joint programme, attesting the successful completion of this joint programme.
It is a single document awarded by the higher education institutions responsible for the programme in question. The document is signed by the competent authorities (rectors, vice-chancellors, …) and replaces the individual (institutional/national) degrees.

  • Adapted from:
    ENQA, Methodological report of the Transnational European Evaluation Project II, 2006, p. 10

Joint programme:

A programme offered jointly by different higher education institutions irrespective of the degree (joint, multiple and double) awarded.

  • European Consortium for Accreditation in higher education, Principles for accreditation procedures regarding joint programmes, 2007, p. 1
  • In addition, I noted these summary points following a recent workshop in Poland:

    The following essential elements and recommendations regarding the recognition of qualifications awarded by joint programmes came up during the workshop:

    • All the higher education institutions involved in the joint programme should be appropriately recognised in the national regulatory framework;
    • The joint programme needs to be recognised (as a higher education programme and as a joint programme) in all the relevant higher education systems;
    • If a joint qualification/degree is awarded this should be done in accordance with all the national legal frameworks of the awarding institutions;
    • The joint qualification/degree should be signed by the competent authorities of the awarding institutions;
    • The Diploma Supplement should cover the totality of the joint programme.
    • The Diploma Supplement should include one single contact person (e.g. admission officer) or contact details. This contact would preferably keep the joint programme’s records and archives and can thus function as an easily reachable contact point for recognition questions.




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