Program Accreditation

O. Introduction

In general, two main options for Program accreditation procedures have to be differed:

Option I: The AHPGS carries out the procedure and the Accreditation Commission of the AHPGS takes the final decision. The main focus of these option is compliance of the study program with general, internationally-acknowledged Higher Education standards.

Option II: The AHPGS carries out the procedure and then issues a report with the recommendation for accreditation addressed to the applying Higher Education Institution. Based on national law quality assurance procedures in several European countries can be performed by quality assurance agencies in higher education, which are included in the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR). The AHPGS is listed in the “European Qualitiy Assurance Register” (EQAR) since 2009. In such case, the respective national regulations serve as base for the procedure.

I.        The University’s Self-Evaluation Report

The AHPGS verifies the sufficiency of the documents submitted by the University, namely the self-evaluation report and its corresponding annexes. These are to fulfill the assessment spheres as well as the AHPGS standards. As a result, the AHPGS produces a summary, which is subsequently made available for the expert group, together with all other documentation.

A Guideline for preparing the Self-Evaluation Report for international study programs can be found under the following link:

II.       Written review 

The main documents are reviewed by the expert group assigned by the accreditation commission of AHPGS. This is done in order to verify the compliance of the study program with the applicable accreditation criteria valid in the given country. This serves as an orientation for the On-Site Visit.

III.      On-site visit (peer-review)

The experts carry out an external on-site visit at the University. During this visit discussions are held with members of the University, which include University and department management, study program management, teachers and students.

This provides the expert group with details about the study program beyond the written documents. The task of the experts during the on-site visit is to verify and evaluate the objectives of the program and its projected study results, its structure, staff, material resources, course of studies and methods of assessment (selection of students, assessment of achievements, students‘ support), as well as of the program management (program administration, external assurance of study quality).

Following the on-site visit, the expert group issues the expert report. This report is based on the results of the visit, the written review of the study programs, and the documents submitted by the University. Finally, the report is made available to the University so that it can issue a response opinion.

The expert report as well as the University’s response opinion – together with the provided documents – is submitted to the accreditation commission of the AHPGS.

IV.     The Accreditation Criteria

Regarding the Criteria for Program Accreditation, two main options have to be differed:

Option I: The AHPGS carries out the procedure and the Accreditation Commission of the AHPGS takes the final decision.

In this case, the Accreditation Criteria developed by the AHPGS are used. These criteria have been developed in close accordance with the existing criteria and requirements valid in the Federal Republic of Germany and based on the “Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area” (Version of May 2015), established by the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA).

The Criteria can be found here.

Eine deutschsprachige Übersetzung der Kriterien findet sich hier.

Option II: The AHPGS carries out the procedure and then issues a report with the recommendation for accreditation addressed to the applying Higher Education Institution:

Based on national law quality assurance procedures in several European countries can be performed by quality assurance agencies in higher education, which are included in the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR). The AHPGS is listed in the “European Qualitiy Assurance Register” (EQAR) since 2009. In such case, the respective national criteria serve as base for the procedure.

V. The Accreditation Decision

In each of the above mentioned cases, the Accreditation Commission of the AHPGS examines the documentation made available in the process of application, namely the University’s Self-Evaluation Report, its annexes, the summary comprised by the AHPGS, the expert report, as well as the University’s response opinion. These documents represent the basis for the commission’s decision regarding the (recommendation for) accreditation of the study program.

Taking into account the „Rules for the Accreditation of Study Programmes and for System Accreditation“ (GAC), the accreditation decision can lead to the following outcomes:

  • The accreditation of a study program will be granted if the quality requirements are fulfilled.
  • The accreditation will be granted with conditions if there are defects, which can most likely be remedied within nine months.
  • The accreditation will be rejected if there are defects, which most likely cannot be remedied within nine months.

Consequently, the decision – together with all other documentation – is forwarded to the University or to the responsible national authority for it to reach a final decision regarding the accreditation of the study program.

According to the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG), the Reports will be published.

Please find here an overview of the Program Accreditation Procedure.

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List of relevant documents: