What are the benefits of an international accreditation?

Achieving an international accreditation certifies that the individual programme complies with the quality standards of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA). Upon successful completion of the procedure, universities will receive a certificate as well as report on the quality of the programme.

Depending on national regulations, an international accreditation may be obtained in addition to a national accreditation or it may substitute national requirements.

An international programme accreditation is also a quality enhancement tool; external reviews from experts outside the national higher education system provide expertise and guidance. The focus is thus put on quality enhancement and the further development of programmes. It may be initiated as a strategic means by the university management or may be motivated by individual institutes or programme coordinators.

An international accreditation may also increase international acceptance of degrees and foster mobility of students, staff and research activities. A positive result may have effects on the scope and composition of cooperation projects as well as on the general visibility of the higher education institution. By raising the profile of a programme an increase in student numbers and projects may be envisaged.

AQAS offers programme accreditation at Bachelor, Master and PhD-level across all disciplines.


AQAS international accreditation is based on the “Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area” (ESG) as common standards for internal and external quality assurance in learning and teaching.

The ESG have been drafted by several European associations and networks, among them ENQA (European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education), ESU (European Students’ Union), EUA (European University Association) and EURASHE (European Association of Institutions in Higher Education) and have been agreed upon by all 48 participating European states of the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).

Our criteria for programme accreditation are based on the ESG. We have translated the rather general ESG standards into concrete and transparent criteria and indicators, which are accessible for higher education institutions, experts and other stakeholders. Our criteria and indicators were defined and agreed by the AQAS Accreditation Commission for Programme Accreditation.

Find the Criteria for Programme Accreditation here!

Find the Criteria for PhD Accreditation here!


A programme accreditation is based on a multi-step procedure as outlined in the ESG:

a self-evaluation by the HEI > a peer review process including a site visit > a report summarising the results of the peer review > a follow-up.

The language of the procedure is typically English.

Our service for you:

  • We offer a complimentary consultation before starting a procedure.
  • To create transparency, we provide information and continuous feedback on all steps of the procedure.
  • We offer guidance through the procedure by providing e.g. guidelines for preparing a self-evaluation report.
  • To disseminate knowledge about external quality assurance, we offer tailor-made workshops addressing individual partners’ needs and requirements.
  • AQAS has built up a widespread network of national and international experts covering all disciplines who do not only assess the compliance of programmes with our criteria but also provide recommendations for their further development.

The composition of the panel of experts follows the ESG standard of considering various perspectives by including all stakeholders, namely professors, labour market representatives and students. Typically, a panel consists of two professors, one labour market representative and one student representative.

The detailed sequence of the procedure (including appeals and complaints) can be found here.


Upon your request we will provide you with an individual cost calculation and all relevant information on the procedure.

The costs for an international procedure depend on the kind and number of programmes to be accredited. Procedures may be carried out with one individual programme or with a cluster of affiliated programmes. Factors which affect the costs are thus the number of panel members and the number of days for the site visit.

European Approach

The accreditation of a joint degree program can also take place on the basis of the European Approach, which represents the assessment by an agency and thus replaces parallel procedures in several European countries. More information will follow