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Joint Programmes and Joint Degrees

A joint programme is an integrated curriculum coordinated and offered jointly by different higher education institutions and leading to a double, multiple, or joint degree. Qualification(s) from a joint programme differ(s) from foreign national qualifications because they are considered as either belonging to more than one national system or not fully belonging to any single national system.

After the completion of a joint programme the graduate may be awarded a single national qualification, several separate qualifications referred to as a double or multiple qualification, and/or a single document awarding a joint degree.

Quality assurance agencies are advocating that accreditation of a joint programme by one reliable organisation should be sufficient evidence for their quality. 

Joint degrees should be recognised at least as favourably as other qualifications from the education system from which they originate.

In the case of joint programmes and joint degrees it is particularly important that the Diploma Supplement (and more in general the certification relative to the joint qualification) clearly describes the various components of the corresponding national degrees in relation to the education systems within which they have been earned.

In May 2015, European ministers responsible for higher education adopted the European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes in order to ease the external quality assurance of these programmes. The European Approach sets a framework for joint quality assurance of joint programmes by providing an application mechanism and standards that are based on the agreed tools of the EHEA without applying additional national criteria.

Further information:

European Approach for Quality Assurance of Joint Programmes (EQAR, The European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education)

European Approach Online Toolkit - guide for those wanting to use the EA

Recommendation on the Recognition of Joint Degrees and Explanatory Memorandum, June 2004, revised February 2016 (Documents adopted by the Lisbon Recognition Convention Committee)