Quality assurance, accreditation and degrees
Through systematic and periodic comparison and evaluation, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) ensures that its educational programmes at the Bachelor’s and Master’s levels and their structure and organisation meet national and international standards.
Peer reviews and evaluations are at the core of UvA's quality assurance, which closely involves students, academic staff, alumni and (future) graduates' employers. The way comparisons and evaluations are conducted may differ per programme, teaching institute or discipline, because the UvA aims to follow existing quality assurance systems commonly used for specific programmes and disciplines (e.g. within the medical sector). Nevertheless, all study programmes are assessed and evaluated on the following components:
- Curriculum (students, employers, organisation)
- Programme in (inter)national perspective (comparability)
- Student counselling
- Student satisfaction
- Programme effectiveness
- Developments in the labour market
The Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders (NVAO) is the official, independent body that monitors and guards the University of Amsterdam's quality assurance system.
In the Netherlands, the NVAO's duties are based on the Higher Education and Scientific Research Act (Wet Hoger Onderwijs en Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, WHW). It includes accrediting existing and new study programmes in higher education and advising on the possible extension of Master’s degree programmes in academic education.
Regarding accreditation in higher education, the Netherlands and Flanders have chosen for accreditation at the level of the study programmes. To this end, the NVAO drafted and laid down accreditation frameworks for Flanders and the Netherlands.
In the Netherlands and Flanders, accreditation is a precondition for government funding of a Bachelor’s or Master’s degree programme, for the right to award recognised diplomas and, in the Netherlands, for granting financial assistance for students. In the light of the internationalisation of education and the labour market, accreditation provides for comparable quality assurance of higher education.
The NVAO is bound by law to provide accreditation for all existing Bachelor’s and Master’s degree programmes and for new study programmes at government-funded higher education institutions as well as institutions approved (but not funded) by the Dutch government. Institutions excluded from government funding or approval can apply for accreditation of post-initial Master’s degree courses.