Example 1 - Accredited joint programme

An applicant submits a master’s degree in European Studies awarded by a consortium of seven higher education institutions. The degree was awarded prior to the adoption of the European Approach, but in the Diploma Supplement (see chapter 14, ‘Diploma Supplement (and other information tools)') it is explained that the joint programme is accredited by the national accreditation organisation of one of the countries represented in the consortium. The admissions officer verifies the accreditation status of the joint programme and continues the evaluation of the qualification without having to check the status of all seven consortium members.

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Example 2 - Qualification obtained after studying at recognised/ accredited institutions

A competent recognition authority receives for assessment a joint master’s degree issued by five institutions. Four of them are officially recognized/accredited higher education institutions and the fifth institution is a private consulting company. The transcript shows that the holder of the qualification has studied at two recognized/accredited institutions. In this case the credential evaluator should take into account the status of the higher education institutions and assess the joint master’s degree as any foreign qualification.

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Example 3 – One of the providers is not a recognised/ accredited institution

An applicant submits a master’s degree for recognition. According to the information in the Diploma Supplement, the programme was offered jointly by three institutions. Two of them are officially recognised/accredited institutions authorised to provide master’s programmes. The third one is a post-secondary institution not authorised to offer higher education programmes. The holder of the degree studied at two institutions, of which only one was recognised. In this case the competent recognition authority may decide not to recognise the degree or to recognise only the credits earned at the recognised/accredited institution.

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Example 4 - Taking into account the learning outcomes of the joint programme

An applicant is seeking access to Ph.D. studies for which a research-based masters degree is required.

The applicant holds a joint master qualification (joint degree) awarded after the completion of a joint programme provided by two institutions from two countries. The joint degree is signed by the competent authorities from both countries. Both institutions are recognised in their home countries. One of the institutions providing the joint programme is authorised to provide research-based master programmes giving access to Ph.D. studies and the other one only professionally-oriented masters programmes not giving direct access to Ph.D. studies.

In this case the competent recognition authority should base the assessment on the learning outcomes of the joint qualification and whether the methodology of scientific research was included in the learning outcomes of the joint programme. If this is the case, full recognition should be granted in spite of the fact that one of the HEIs only offers professionally-oriented master programmes, which do not give direct access to Ph.D. programmes.

If, however, the methodology of scientific research is lacking in the joint programme, this can be considered as a substantial difference and may lead to an alternative form of recognition, such as the offer of a bridging programme.

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