To higher education institutions outside Austria, AQ Austria offers the option of voluntary accreditation of degree programmes. Accreditation is proof of compliance with requirements deriving from the European Higher Education System (EHEA) for degree programmes.
AQ Austria has laid down binding procedural rules and decision criteria: Guidelines for international accreditation of bachelor, master and PhD programmes (PDF).
The procedural rules comply with the principles of the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) (PDF), enhancing international recognition of degree programmes.
The HEI files an application documenting that all criteria are met. After AQ Austria formally verified the filed application and if necessary requested modifications, an expert panel is appointed to evaluate the institution and/or the degree programme(s). As a rule, the agency conducts an on-site visit for this purpose. During talks with representatives of all areas within the applicant institution, the expert panel members (reviewers) assure themselves of the institution's and its studies' quality and that prerequisites for accreditation are met. The reviewers subsequently write a report, which, together with the institution's comment on the review report, is the basis for the Board's decision on accreditation. In its decision, the Board is independent and not bound by any instructions. The AQ Austria subsequently publishes a report on the outcome including the Board's decision as well as the grounds for the decision and the review report. The international certification procedure in detail (PDF) (in German)
The accreditation criteria are in accordance with the substantial elements of the EHEA's degree structure, its qualification framework, ECTS, Diploma Supplements as well as the ESG and furthermore with the standards on quality assurance at HEIs and their degree programmes. They refer to qualification objectives, the concept of degree programmes, human resources, premises and equipment, as well as the HEI's internal quality management system (QMS).
Guidelines for international accreditation of bachelor, master and PhD programmes (PDF)
ECTS Users' Guide 2015 (PDF)
Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) (PDF)