Validation (ex-ante assessment)
Proposals for new recognised degrees have to undergo a process of ex-ante accreditation, known as validation. In this process the quality assurance agency issues an evaluation report that is binding for the Universities Council, the national body responsible for validation.
AQU Catalunya has full legal authority and the technical expertise to issue ex-ante accreditation reports for the validation of recognised degree courses in Catalonia. Once a degree course has been validated, authorisation by the Government of Catalonia (Generalitat de Catalunya) is necessary in order for it to be introduced, in accordance with programming criteria and funding availability. The final stage is official recognition by the Council of Ministers, following which the degree is entered in the Register of Higher Education Institutions and Degrees (RUCT).
Preparation of proposals for validation
Proposals for new recognised degree courses must be produced according to the Guide to the formulation and validation of proposals for recognised bachelor and master's degree programmes [Spanish] and the Guide to the formulation and validation of proposals for recognised doctorate programmes [Spanish] which are an aid for academic coordinators to produce proposals for new courses that also facilitates the internal review of proposals by the institution itself and serves as the instrument used for the independent external review by the Agency. These guides include all the guidelines laid down in the current legal provisions regarding the formulation of proposals for new recognised degrees.
Proposals can be submitted at any time throughout the year to the Universities Council using the online application programme (website of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport). The deadline for a ruling on an application is six months from the time a proposal is submitted, in accordance with article 25.7, Royal Decree 1393/2007, 29 October, which may be extended by up to three months in accordance with the provisions of article 42.5.c), Law 30/1992, 26 November, on the Legal Procedural System for Public Administration and Common Administrative Procedure.
Evaluation, results and hallmark
PDF Diagram of the evaluation procedure [ca]
The university submits the proposal using the online submission procedure to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. The Universities Council reviews the enclosed documentation and, where necessary, requests any amendments (the universities have a maximum of ten days to do this). The definitive proposals are sent to AQU Catalunya and assigned to one of a group of special review panels according to subject area. The review panels issue an ex-ante validation report that is sent to the university, which can then present any supporting arguments. The programme coordinators can interact with the review panel through their secretary. The panel assesses the supporting arguments and issues a definitive report for validation. This report is then referred to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and the Universities Council and a copy sent to the university itself. The Universities Council subsequently issues the corresponding resolution with the outcome of the validation process.
The university has one month to appeal the outcome of the validation process from the time of notification, all appeals being made to the chair of the Universities Council. If leave to appeal is accepted, it must be referred by the Universities Council to AQU Catalunya within three months. The claim is assessed by the AQU Appeals Committee, which must issue the corresponding report within one month, which is in turn referred back to the Universities Council. The assessment of the appeal is based exclusively on the university's proposed programme specification and the documentation enclosed in the dossier. No other additional information is taken into account, aside from possible clarifications.
Once it has received the report on the appeal, the Universities Council has two months to issue a definitive resolution, which exhausts all available administrative remedies. Notification is sent to the university, the regional (Autonomous Community) authorities and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. Non-resolution during this period of time leads to the rejection of an appeal.
This hallmark distinguishes study programmes that have passed the preliminary process for the assessment of their study plan and which have received authorisation to be implemented.
Background: recognised postgraduate programmes