Accreditation Process in general
The accreditation of university curricula (study programs) is well organized in most European countries at the Bachelor and Master levels. Moreover, several transnational and European-level initiatives demonstrate a trend to adopt uniform or comparable criteria as a consequence of the Bologna agreements and the increased student’s mobility.
At the PhD or Doctoral level, there are no such formal regulations. This can be explained by two factors:
- Doctoral Schools, doctoral programs, and the requirements for PhD students to acquire ECTS credits during the course of their PhD are relatively recent. Even more, this is not yet formally implemented in several European universities.
- In most cases, a doctoral program is not a fixed study program. It is usually a coherent set of courses among which a PhD student can select those that are the most appropriate for his PhD. Even more, some ECTS credits can be collected outside of this program, for instance in another university.
As a consequence, the accreditation of PhD courses is more performed on an individual (course to course) basis, and is mainly organized by each university according to local rules or practices.
An interesting approach for according the qualification standards through Europe is given by the European Qualification Framework (EQF) described here above. Eight reference levels are defined, the doctoral level being defined as level 8. A class is defined by its “learning outcomes” (which is rather a “potential learning outcome”), based on the teachers qualifications (knowledge, skills, competence).
Starting from this definition, some accreditation agencies such as the NVAO have proposed a set of criteria upon which the courses are to be judged by the evaluation panel. These are:
- Intended – or potential – learning outcomes (courses and teachers levels)
- Teaching-learning environment (facilities, organization)
- Achieved learning outcomes (assessment after the course delivery)
These criteria are already included in the EURO-DOTS Eligibility Criteria defined above. They can however be more precisely defined based on the EQF and NVAO definitions and recommendations.
Accreditation Process for EURO-DOTS courses
The accreditation of courses that are candidate for the EURO-DOTS portfolio is the duty of the Academic Committee. The Academic Committee is responsible for its own organization.
For each course submitted to EURO-DOTS for accreditation, the application should address each of the Eligibility Criteria detailed above.
Moreover, based on the analysis of national and European initiatives for accreditation of courses at the PhD level, the criterion on Quality and Scientific level will be analyzed according to the following items:
- Intended – or potential – learning outcomes
Course quality: state-of-the art level, coherence
Teachers qualifications (knowledge, skills, competences)
Sound evaluation questionnaire
Exam/test after course completion
- Teaching/learning environment
Facilities, staff, overall organization quality, enabling students to achieve the intended learning outcome
- Achieved learning of courses based on student’s assessment
This point can only be addressed after the first edition of a course. It is based both on the student’s evaluation/assessment and on the result of their exam/test.
After completing the assessment of a proposed course, the Academic Committee delivers its recommendation to the EURO-DOTS Steering Committee, including the related comments. A negative decision should particularly be commented and justified, in order to return to the course provider with a feedback on the weaknesses of the application and the items to be improved.
The motivated decision is officially forwarded to the course provider by the Steering Committee.
A positive decision qualifies the course to wear the EURO-DOTS Quality Label.
Important message to the PhD students interested in a EURO-DOTS scholarship!!!
Unfortunately today, on January 15 2015, the EURO-DOTS project has come to an end and no more scholarships can be granted for the time being.
Status EURO-DOTS on 15 January 2015
The EURO-DOTS-2 project has come to an end on 31 December 2014. At this moment there is no prospect about a possible continuation of this initiative, in spite of the huge success of the project and the ambition of the consortium to continue on this path. The success of the past actions cannot be better reflected than by the more than 220 testimonials (Testimonials) of students whom were granted a EURO-DOTS scholarship in the past 4 years. In these 4 years of EURO-DOTS, 132 course modules have been organized on 61 relevant topics/themes, by 20 course providers from 11 countries. More than 250 lecturers have been involved. More than 300 PhD students, from 19 European countries, have successfully applied for a scholarship. In 2014 40 Courses have been scheduled. The calendar and information on all past courses can be found on Courses. For more up-to-date information on the realizations and conclusions of EURO-DOTS, please go to “EURO-DOTS Conclusions” on Final Reports. The consortium is considering possible actions to keep the EURO-DOTS mission alive and hopefully see the start of a next phase of EURO-DOTS.
EURO-DOTS Testimonials by students
More than 170 testimonials by students can be found on Testimonials of students. We invite you to read through these messages and by these be convinced of the benefit to PhD students of an initiative and project like EURO-DOTS!
EURO-DOTS Testimonials by Course Providers
Five Course Providers share their enthusiasm on the EURO-DOTS initiative and explain why they decided to contribute and be part of the game. You can find their testimonial on Testimonial of Course Providers
EURO-DOTS flyer and poster
The latest version of the EURO-DOTS flyer and poster can be downloaded from the PR and Dissemination section.