Agčncia per a la Qualitat del Sistema Universitari de Catalunya

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AQU Catalunya publishes the methodology for the accreditation of doctoral (PhD) programmes


At its meeting on 11 January, AQU's Institutional and Programme Review Commission (CAIP) endorsed the Agency's Guide to the accreditation of recognised doctoral (PhD) programmes. The guidebook includes the dimensions and criteria for review, the relevant indicators and recommendations for drawing up the accreditation self-assessment report. The Agency worked together with the universities in Catalonia to produce the guidebook, for which an open consultation was held during July and October 2017.

The objective of accreditation is to ensure that programmes of study comply with the formal requirements laid down in the prevailing regulations and that actual levels of student achievement conform to the level certified by the institution. The aspects covered by assessment for accreditation are as follows:

  • Compliance with the legal requirements laid down by the competent authority (name of the degree/qualification, structure, admission requirements and criteria, etc.).
  • As regards intended learning outcomes, the proposed academic programme complies with the stipulations of the Qualifications Framework in Spain (QF - EHEA in Spain) for the level of the qualification, together with the current nature and relevance of the knowledge that underpins the discipline.
  • The programme has been delivered using adequate resources for teaching staff, learning support services, infrastructure and physical resources.
  • Qualification grades conform to relevant and appropriate procedures for the assessment of student learning outcomes, which in turn demonstrate the required level of quality.
  • The academic background of doctoral degree holders, in terms of advancement, graduation and employability, matches the characteristics of doctoral/PhD students and the potential of the labour market.
  • Internal quality assurance mechanisms ensure a regular analysis of the learning process and continuous improvement of the training of doctoral/PhD students.