EUA : European University Association

Moving towards the Bologna Ministerial meeting: New study maps development and future of Master programmes in Europe

A new EUA study published this week gives a detailed overview of the development of Master degrees in Europe. Based on a wide-ranging survey of European students, universities (leaders and academics) and employers, it specifically looks at how Master programmes in Europe have developed a decade after the Bologna process was launched.

As a result of Bologna, the overall degree structure of many European countries has been fundamentally changed with the implementation of three degree cycles (Bachelor, Master and Doctorate) that are defined in terms of learning outcomes and credit ranges. The results of the study show that a Bologna Master ‘template’ is developing across Europe albeit in three distinctive forms of course provision: taught Master with a strong professional development application; the research-intensive Master which functions as a pre-doctoral degree; and courses delivered to learners returning to education from the workplace.

While nearly all 46 of the Bologna signatory countries have implemented a Master cycle into their national higher education systems, the study shows that there is still much work to be done in terms of making the Master cycle more transparent and readable across national borders – to help facilitate recognition of degrees, mobility and exchanges between institutions.

The new EUA report
provides a detailed mapping of the Master degrees in Europe – including a country by country overview of how the Master cycle has been adopted into national higher education systems and how students enter the 2nd cycle. It also shows how the Bologna process has been enshrined in national legislations. The study concludes that no one system has been aligned with Bologna long enough for it to be embedded but instead systems are in varying degrees of transition.

The study also addresses the issue of student mobility. It concludes that the Master degree will play a crucial role in the future, particularly as vertical mobility (students completing the Bachelor in one country and the Master in another) will certainly grow, as has been the case notably in the UK. However, the report also highlights that there are still too many barriers to all types of mobility (within programmes and between degree cycles) – notably due to difficulties in terms of recognition of prior learning and qualifications.

According to the study, the Master is the most ‘marketised’ of the three degree cycles despite a wide diversity in terms of how students have access to Master programmes, and in terms of tuition fees. Looking to the future, the report predicts that the number of Master programmes will continue to grow – particularly in terms of English-taught programmes and joint degrees.

It also stresses that the provision of Master programmes needs to be more flexible, if it is to satisfy labour market needs, and underlines that employers, in particular, need to be more involved in curriculum development. The author is positive, however, that the European Master will become more readable as national qualification frameworks are gradually put in place. “As the Master provision becomes more flexible and integrated into national systems, it will help develop the high level of skills required by Europe to respond to the current economic crisis,” he notes.

The results of EUA’s work will be presented to the 46 ministers of education who will attend the Bologna process Ministerial Summit in Belgium on 28/29 April.

Please click here to download the full study. This project was supported by the European Commission’s Lifelong Learning programme.

Call for host – 5th European Quality Assurance Forum, November 2010

The European Quality Assurance Forum (EQAF) is an annual European conference on quality assurance in higher education that brings together the main stakeholders in the field - higher education institutions, quality assurance agencies, students and researchers.

Co-organised by EUA, the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), the European Students Union (ESU), and the European Association of Institutions in Higher Education (EURASHE), the event provides a unique European platform to discuss QA developments.

EUA is currently looking for member institutions willing to host the Fifth Forum that will take place in November 2010 and would like to encourage institutions to submit a declaration of interest. Please read this document for further details.

Registrations open for the Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP)

EUA is pleased to announce that the registration period for the next round of the Institutional Evaluation Programme (IEP) is now open until 30 June 2009.

The Institutional Evaluation Programme is designed for universities interested in developing a strategic response to challenges they are currently facing and increasing their ability to anticipate, shape and respond to future challenges. The evaluation takes place over a whole academic year and includes a self-evaluation phase, two site-visits and a final report that includes specific recommendations.

For further information and registration form, please visit the IEP website. By returning the registration form to Violeta Atanassova by 30 June 2009, you will ensure your invitation to a preparatory seminar for all participating institutions, which will be held in Brussels in October 2009. Any further questions about the IEP may be addressed to Violeta Atanassova.

EU-Asia Higher Education Platform (EAHEP) Round table: the Bologna process and Europe-Asia dialogue, Brussels, Belgium (1-3 July 2009)

The Bologna process and the European Higher Education Area are generating increasing interest and attention from universities and governments around the world. In Asia, higher education reform is increasingly discussed in a regional setting and proposals to create tools for recognition and mobility have already been tabled. The Bologna process is certainly a reference point, and the interest to cooperate with Europe on such reforms is high.

As a result, EUA is organising a Round table event under the European Commission-funded project 'EU-Asia Higher Education Platform (EAHEP)' that will take place in Brussels on 1-3 July 2009. This two-day event will gather 80-100 participants - senior leadership and management from Asian and European higher education institutions, organisations and government agencies. It will analyse some of the Bologna issues in more detail, in order to get a better understanding of the overall reform process and its relevance and importance to Europe’s cooperation with the rest of the world, and specifically Asia. Equal attention will be paid to evolving regional reform process in Asia, and the implications they may have on European-Asia higher education and research cooperation.

The event will include a pre-programme 'information visit' to the European Commission and a post-programme visit to the city of Ghent and Ghent University. More information on the event, the programme and the EAHEP project can be found on the EAHEP website.

Please note that participation for this event will be by invitation only. To register your interest in this event, please contact

Last reminder: 2nd Annual Meeting of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education (4-5 June 2009)

Registration is still open for the 2nd Annual Meeting of the EUA Council for Doctoral Education (EUA-CDE) that will take place in Lausanne, Switzerland on 4-5 June 2009.

For further information about the event and registrations please visit the event website. Please note the registration deadline is 4 May 2009.

Six QA agencies join European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR)

Nine quality assurance agencies, active in twelve European countries, now feature on the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR). Three agencies (ANECA, Spain; AQU Catalunya, Spain and NVAO, Flanders and the Netherlands) have already been listed on the Register since December 2008. The following six agencies have now been added, following approval of their applications by the Register Committee on 4-5 April 2009:

•    Accreditation, Certification and Quality Assurance Institute (ACQUIN, Germany)

•    Akkreditierungsagentur für Studiengänge der Ingenieur-wissenschaften, der Informatik, der Mathematik und der Naturwissenschaften (ASIIN, Germany)

•    Foundation for International Business Administration Accreditation (FIBAA, Germany)

•    Central Evaluation and Accreditation Agency (ZEvA, Germany)

•    State Accreditation Commission (PKA, Poland)

•    Flemish Council of University Colleges (VLHORA, Belgium).

The Register with full information on included agencies is available online.

EQAR was founded by four European stakeholder bodies representing quality assurance agencies (ENQA), students (ESU), universities (EUA) and other higher education institutions (EURASHE) in March 2008 in the context of the Bologna process. To be included, quality assurance agencies have to provide evidence that they work in line with agreed European principles, set out in the European Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance (ESG). EQAR’s Register Committee, an independent body consisting of quality assurance experts, nominated by the European stakeholder organisations, decides on applications for inclusion.

A Communiqué from the Chair of the Register Committee, with further information about EQAR's application process, is available here.

To find out more about the EQAR please visit