April 2017


The accreditation of bachelor and master's programmes: results 2014-2016

Josep Manel Torres - Head of Quality Assessment Department

The Guide to the accreditation of recognised bachelor and Master's degrees was endorsed in November 2013. As of that moment, the eighty (80) programmes that were to undergo accreditation in 2014 began the work of reflecting on the delivery of their programmes from ex-ante accreditation (validation) onwards, which was analysed and drawn up in a self-assessment report on each programme.

Applications for accreditation

The first site visit to an institution was carried out in May 2014. From then until the end of 2016 AQU Catalunya carried out the external review of 616 programmes (312 undergraduate and 304 Masters). 567 (92%) formally applied for accreditation and out of these AQU has processed and completed 511 (90%). The University of Barcelona (UB) and the Autonomous University of Barcelona accounted for 40% of the total number of applications received.

Acreditació: sol·licituds i títols pendents

*pending: degrees taught at the institution that have still not undergone accreditation

56% of the total number of programmes running in Catalonia has already formally applied for accreditation. In the case of UAB and UIC, over 75% of the programmes have already been accredited.

Between 2014 and the end of 2016, AQU Catalunya carried out site visits to 78% of all faculties and schools at HEIs in Catalonia running undergraduate and Master's programmes (127 faculties and schools).

Administrative processing of applications

The administrative processing of applications for accreditation by AQU Catalunya has been resolved on average within 129 days, or approximately 4.3 months. All applications have been resolved within the stipulated 6-month period. The complete period of processing and resolution ranged from between 107 days for the committee dealing with Engineering to 146 days for Arts and Humanities. Following the site visit (which normally takes place prior to an application for accreditation), reports are issued on average within 208 days (7 months).

Experts and the review panels

AQU Catalunya established 169 external review panels (27 in 2014, 59 in 2015 and 83 in 2016) in which a total number of 496 different people (45% females) have participated. Approximately one third of these took part on more than one panel, in all totalling 804 people who participated in the external review panels. Around 33% of the academic experts were from the higher education system in Catalonia.

The results

In the first three years of the accreditation process, AQU Catalunya issued 511 accreditation reports. Only one undergraduate programme was not awarded accreditation (accreditation withheld). 18% of all programmes were recognised for good practices and awarded accreditation on track to excellence. Special mention is made of Master's programmes, one out of every four of which were awarded this level of accreditation.

There were problems in the case of 10% of all programmes, which were given a conditional accreditation (with prescriptions). These programmes have up to two years to resolve the issues, following which AQU monitors each programme to analyse the measures implemented and assess whether the conditions have been successfully overcome.

The following table shows the results obtained by the undergraduate and Master's degree programmes that have been reviewed.

Master's Total
Accreditation withheld 1   1
Accreditation with prescriptions (conditional) 31 22 53
Accreditation 203 162 365
Accreditation on track to excellence 35 57 92
Total 270 241 511

42% of the programmes reviewed were in Social and Legal Sciences, followed by Engineering and Architecture with 20%, 14% were in Arts and Humanities, and the various fields of study under Experimental Sciences and Health Sciences each accounted for 12% of the programmes accredited.

As far as the results according to subject area are concerned, the committee dealing with Experimental Sciences awarded the highest percentage of programmes with accreditation on track to excellence (25%), followed by Arts and Humanities and Social and Legal Sciences (20%). 16% of the programmes dealt with by the Social and Legal Sciences committee were given a conditional accreditation (with prescriptions). Between 5-9% of all programmes dealt with by the other subject-area specific committees were given a conditional accreditation (with prescriptions).

Acreditació: resultats per àrea de coneixement

The most highly rated dimension was the suitability of teaching staff on the programme, with 30% of all programmes being rated as being on track to excellence. For public information, learning support systems and outcomes, the figure was around 20%. At the other extreme, 25% were given a conditional accreditation (with prescriptions) for the efficacy of the programme's internal quality assurance system, followed by public information and teaching staff.

Acreditació: resultats per dimensió

DIM 1: the course curriculum; DIM 2: information on the degree that is made publicly available; DIM 3: the programme's system of internal quality assurance; DIM 4: the teachers; DIM 5: student support services and resources; DIM 6: the programme outcomes.


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