To higher education institutions outside Austria, AQ Austria offers the option of voluntary accreditation at institutional level or of degree programmes. Accreditation demonstrates compliance with widespread requirements for HEI in terms of structure, profile and governance or 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 and AQ Austria agree on a contract that stipulates the rules and procedures and the duties of both parties. The HEI files a self-assessment report documenting that all criteria are met. After AQ Austria formally verified the filed documentation and if necessary requested modifications, an expert panel is appointed. 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 HEI's or 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 widespread standards for HEIs and with 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)