The institutions’ authorisation to accredit and recognise study programmes

Higher education institutions and tertiary vocational colleges have been granted authorisation to accredit study programmes and establish tertiary vocational education.

All accreditation of higher education shall take place in accordance with the requirements of the Academic Supervision Regulations and the Regulations on Quality Assurance in Higher Education.

All recognition of tertiary vocational education shall take place in accordance with the requirements of the Regulations on Supervision of Tertiary Vocational Education and the Regulations on Quality Assurance in Higher Education.

Purpose of accreditation and recognition

Accreditation and recognition shall help to ensure that all new study programmes and tertiary vocational education meet national quality requirements. The University and University Colleges Act and the Tertiary Vocational Education Act provide legal authority for NOKUT to authorise the institutions to accredit study programmes or recognise tertiary vocational education.

Chapter 2 of the Academic Supervision Regulations, the Regulations on Quality Assurance in Higher Education and Chapter 3 of the Regulations on Supervision of Tertiary Vocational Education, as well as other pertaining acts and regulations, set requirements for accreditation and recognition. The requirements are designed to ensure that there is a basis for offering high quality education. This is an academic assessment, and institutions granted authorisation by NOKUT to accredit or recognise education must carry out a satisfactory assessment of whether the requirements are met.

Self-accreditation or recognition

Universities are authorised to accredit new study programmes themselves at all levels.

Specialised university institutions and accredited university colleges may also accredit study programmes at the bachelor’s degree level, in addition to all levels in subjects in which they have been granted the right to award doctoral degrees. Over and above the doctoral degree subject areas, these institutions must apply to NOKUT for accreditation of new master’s degree and PhD study programmes.

Tertiary vocational education providers who have been granted subject area recognition are authorised to recognise tertiary vocational programmes in this limited subject area.

When accreditation or recognition has been granted, it is valid until NOKUT revokes, or the institution itself withdraws, the accreditation as a result of a supervision that finds that the quality does not meet the requirements of the Academic Supervision Regulations or the Regulations on Quality Assurance in Higher Education. The institution may also withdraw the accreditation without a supervision having been carried out.

The accreditation and recognition process

Each institution must have procedures in place to ensure that the requirements are met. The institutions’ accreditation and recognition processes have some common characteristics, also with NOKUT’s processes. Important elements in the process include the programme description, the assessment of how the programme meets the requirements of the Academic Supervision Regulations and the Regulations on Quality Assurance in Higher Education, in addition to the decision.

Self-accreditation process

Documenting the basis for quality

It must be documented how the study programme meets the requirements for accreditation or recognition.

Assessment

The assessment must ensure that all the requirements of applicable laws and regulations are met. A good assessment provides clear answers to whether and how the requirements are met, and what should and/or must be changed in order for the programme to achieve sufficient quality.

Adjustments

The academic assessment will point out changes that must be made while also identifying possibilities for improvement. The procedures should therefore include steps describing how to make such adjustments, and the extent to which the established programme may deviate from the original documented plan.

Decision

The authorisation to accredit or recognise new study programmes is granted to the board of the institution. The board can delegate this authority, but is responsible for the decisions.