The design of the procedures of academic accreditation of programmes of study in HEIs by the HQA is in development. The following text contains answers to frequently asked questions regarding the implementation of the procedures and will be continuously enriched as the procedures progress.

  • Is the process of evaluating academic units being abolished with the introduction of the accreditation procedures?

    As defined by law (article 66, Law 4409) accreditation is a procedure for external evaluation based on specific, pre-established internationally accepted and previously published quantitative and qualitative criteria and indicators. The purpose of accreditation is external quality assurance in higher education as well the effective and transparent operation of HEIs as a whole. Academic accreditation is a development and continuation of the evaluation procedure, as applied during its first cycle of implementation. It is based on the same procedures as internal and external evaluation, which in the case of accreditation focuses on the programme of study and comes to a specific decision.
  • How is the evaluation of a department connected to the accreditation of the programmes of study that it offers?

    In Greek HEIs each department corresponds uniquely to a specific undergraduate programme of study (in some cases, with more than one related concentration). The accreditation of the undergraduate programme of study is effectively based on the same criteria as the evaluation of the academic units. Moreover, all the programmes (each separately) of the second and third cycles (Masters and doctorate) offered by the Department are subject to academic accreditation.
  • What is the difference between Accreditation and Evaluation?

    Accreditation is the evaluation (it includes the internal evaluation of the programme of study and the external evaluation by a committee of experts) which produces a specific and justifying recommendation by the external evaluation committee (positive, positive with conditions, negative). The entire procedure focuses on the quality and effectiveness of programmes of study and, in a way, shifts the centre of the evaluation’s attention from the evaluation of “inflows” to the evaluation of the qualitative results of the “outflows” (achievement of the goals and the learning outcomes of the programme).
  • Which programmes of study are accredited?

    In accordance with Law 4009 all the programmes of study (and of the three higher education cycles) that are offered by the academic units during the passing of the law are considered accredited. As such, every new programme of study (independent of level) must go through the process of academic accreditation. Priority will be given to the new programmes of study of the academic units that were created or were given a new content or structure with the ATHENA Plan.
  • When is a programme of study considered new?

    Aside from the obvious cases, when there are changes in the orientation and goals of the programme of study or changes in its structures, such as the creation of new concentrations or extensive changes to its contents, the need for accreditation of the programme studies is the responsibility of the HEI through its internal procedures. Accreditation is not required for revisions to specific parts of the programmes (71.2 Law 4009).
  • Will the existing programmes of study be accredited?

    The programmes of study of academic units that have not completed the first cycle of evaluation (internal and external evaluation) by the end date of the first cycle will go through the procedure of academic accreditation, which also constitutes their external evaluation. In addition, the procedure for academic accreditation will be applied to the programmes of study of academic units which completed their evaluation procedure on an invitation from the HQA and in reasonable time, as a continuation of the evaluation procedure and now in the form of the accreditation of the programme of study.
  • How will the procedures for academic accreditation be carried out?

    For new programmes of study that have not completed the first cycle of operations, in two phases: preliminary accreditation (preferably to groups of related academic units where this is possible, without an on-the-spot visit) and full accreditation with an on-the-spot visit from the expert committee. For programmes of study in academic units that have already completed the evaluation procedure, on an invitation from the HQA and in reasonable time, as a continuation of the evaluation procedure, now in the form of the accreditation of the programme of study.
  • Does the process of internal evaluation (e.g. annual collated reports) continue?

    Certainly, and they will continue in the same way (preparation of annual collated reports) as the documentation of data is essential for quality assurance and improving the work of the academic units. As the data that is needed for the preparation of the proposals for accreditation of academic programmes of study will be produced by the annual collated reports, they will be oriented towards the spirit of the needs of academic accreditation of the programmes of study. In addition, the data from the annual collated reports is essential for the internal quality assurance system of each HEI and the identification of weaknesses and, subsequently, actions for improvements on the level of the academic unit and institution. As such, they must also cover the needs for the evaluation of the institution and, finally, accreditation of its system of quality assurance.
  • In the case of a programme of studies with concentrations is it possible to evaluate each concentration separately?

    The programme of studies is evaluated as a unified whole since it offers a unified degree. The introduction and operation of concentrations is evaluated under the criterion of the structure of the programme of study.
  • Can an academic unit request the accreditation of its programmes of study by another accreditation agency from abroad?

    To be included on the Register of Accredited Programmes of Study which will be held by the Ministry of Education (71.6 Law 4009) and on the basis of the legislative framework, the academic unit may request the accreditation of programmes of study by another agency as long as that specific accreditation agency is accredited by the HQA for the accreditation of programmes of study in Greek HEIs.
  • How are the external evaluation committees for the accreditation of a programme of study composed?

    The committees are appointed in a similar manner as in the case of external evaluation (from the relevant Register of the HQA) and – especially in the case of the quality accreditation of programmes of study that lead to the practice of a legally regulated profession – will include one member from the corresponding academic or professional union or the chamber that it appoints, while for all programmes of study a representative of the corresponding professional/academic body will be invited. In general, the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) consider imperative the participation of social partners in the evaluation and accreditation procedures.
  • If an undergraduate programme of study is changed so extensively that it is considered to be a new programme of study, what is the procedure to be followed?

    The programme of study is approved on the basis of the procedures foreseen in the legislation, the organisational and internal regulations and the internal quality assurance system of the HEI. During the compilation of the programme of study it is important to take into consideration the analytical criteria for academic accreditation of programmes that have been published by the HQA. Subsequently, the complete proposal, on the basis of the template that has been sent by the HQA to the QAU of the HEI, is submitted to the HQA during its first year of operation. The accreditation procedure takes place in two phases: preliminary accreditation and full accreditation with an on-the-spot visit when the first cycle has been completed.
  • How are Masters programmes accredited?

    With the same procedure. Each Masters programme is accredited separately. There is no point in grouping together Masters programmes given that they focus on specialised areas. Moreover, Masters programmes are not directly connected with professions. The HQA is already is in the process of producing similar guidelines that will be adapted to the needs and criteria of Masters studies.
  • How will existing Masters programmes be accredited? After the deadline of their Government Gazette or the extension that was given?

    The Masters programmes that existed during the passing of Law 4009/11 either with the original Government Gazette or the extension that was given, are considered accredited. The need for accreditation will arise after the deadline of their FAQ or its extension. This matter comes under the responsibilities of the Ministry of Education.
  • When must a new Masters programme be submitted to the HQA for accreditation?

    The HQA believes that for a Government Gazette to be issued for a Masters programme, the programme must be accredited. In order to facilitate the process and not to place obstacles and possible delays in its way, the HQA poses that there be a preliminary accreditation procedure on the basis of which the Government Gazette will be issued and the accreditation with the evaluation of the educational process will be done once the Masters programme is up and running and has completed a first cycle.
  • How are the preconditions for the ratification of a new Masters programme created, after the changes in the legislative framework?

    This is a matter for the Ministry of Education. The HQA believes that once the institution of accreditation has been introduced the answer will be the same as that given to the previous question.
  • Beyond the specialisation of the general criteria that are foreseen in the law, will there be further criteria?

    The HQA is proceeding with the analysis and specialisation of the general criteria that are mentioned in the law and their completion, as foreseen by the legislation, in the case of programmes of the first cycle. Beyond the general criteria there will be specialised criteria on a case-by-case basis, in particular for programmes of study leading to legally established professions. These special criteria will be put forward by committees established by the HQA. Also among the general criteria there will be possible differentiations as concerns the second and third cycles.
  • How will the further special criteria be developed?

    The special criteria are developed per group of related academic units. The HQA believes that the establishment of special criteria be done with the substantive participation of the corresponding academic units and proposes the following procedure:
    1. Grouping of related university academic units and, similarly, related TEI academic units in order to shorten the procedure through economies of scale as well as to ensure additional advantages (e.g. to achieve basic compatibility among similar programmes study).
    2. Gradual creation of committees to develop criteria and indicators per group as above.
    3. Members to be invited:
      -The head of the academic units of the group or their representatives elected by the competent organ of the academic unit.
      -A member from each related professional chamber/union/body or academic association or related agency, to be proposed by the academic units.
      -The corresponding member of the HQA, who presides over the committee.
      -Two foreign experts.
      -A student representative.
      The above committees are invited to contribute to shaping the special criteria so as to ensure that these programmes of study respond effectively to the demands of today and of the foreseeable future in their related professions and sectors of employment of their graduates.