A degree programme is a cohesive whole of course components, aimed at achieving clearly defined exit qualifications. The degree programme includes an examination, each course component includes an interim exam. Each degree programme or group of degree programmes is managed by a programme director. One individual may be director of more than one degree programme, but may not serve as director of both a Bachelor’s and a Master's programme. The programme director is responsible for ensuring that the programme offered is actually provided and meets the applicable quality standard. He/she is accountable to the director of the College or Graduate School.
The University of Amsterdam attaches great importance to the proper functioning of the Boards of Studies (opleidingscommissies). To this end, the Executive Board has adopted Standing Regulations for Boards of Studies, in which various tasks are set out. These Standing Regulations are designed to guarantee the basic quality of the Boards of Studies, based on the premise that the better the Board of Studies, the better the degree programme.
The Programme Committee (opleidingscommissie) for each (cluster of) degree programme(s) is legally responsible for safeguarding the quality of education and is thus one of the most important advisory bodies in the quality assurance cycle. The Programme Committee comprises an equal number of students and lecturers from a (cluster of) degree programme(s). The Programme Committee is legally required to annually assess the implementation of the Teaching and Examination Regulations (OER), and to issue recommendations on the new OER.
The Programme Committee is also charged with the following tasks, ensuing from the Management and Administration Regulations:
- advising and supporting the director of the College or Graduate School;
- providing advice on degree programmes and policy development within the College or Graduate School;
- providing advice on the monitoring of degree programme quality;
- providing advice on the monitoring of student counselling quality;
- providing advice on the monitoring of coordination between the Bachelor’s programmes and designated follow-up Master’s programmes (and vice versa).
The Examinations Board plays a crucial role in monitoring degree programme quality, and is legally required to do so. The Examinations Board is responsible for assessing degree programme quality at individual student level, and ensuring the quality of (interim) exams.
The Examinations Board was assigned more substantive duties under the Administration Reinforcement Act (Wet Versterking besturing), an amendment to the Dutch Higher Education and Research Act (Wet op het Hoger Onderwijs en Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek, WHW), which took effect on 1 September 2010. ‘Independence’ and ‘expertise’ have been identified as key requirements in terms of the Examinations Board’s performance. These qualities relate to the Examinations Board’s position within the organisation, the appointment and composition of its members and its duties and powers.
Each UvA Examinations Board consists of at least two members, i.e. a chairperson and a deputy chairperson. The Examinations Board should preferably be supplemented with an external member.
In establishing the Examinations Board it is essential to determine whether it will be assured of the required level of expertise regarding subject matter and examinations. The law also specifies that at least one member of the Examinations Board must be employed as a lecturer in the degree programme or programmes for which the Board has been established. The UvA applies the principle that both the chairperson and the deputy chairperson must be attached to the degree programme or one of the degree programmes concerned.