FAQ Programme accreditation according to the FIBAA quality standards


How long does a programme accreditation process take?


The programme accreditation process usually takes six months from the submission of the self-evaluation report of the higher education institution to a decision taken by the FIBAA Accreditation and Certification Committee (F-ACC). After the conclusion of the contract, FIBAA will contact you to agree upon a suitable schedule with you.

What standards are used in the programme accreditation process?


These are summarised in the FIBAA Assessment Guide for accreditation of study programmes in law, social sciences and economics (April 2020) as well as in the FIBAA Assessment Guide for doctoral programmes (June 2013) for postgraduate study programmes.

How should we produce our self-evaluation report?

For a Programme accreditation in accordance with the FIBAA quality standards the self-evaluation report should be produced on the basis of the FIBAA Assessment Guide for FIBAA accreditation of study programmes in law, social sciences and economics (April 2020) or the FIBAA Assessment Guide for doctoral programmes (June 2013). The documents contain all relevant quality standards in the form of questions and definitions for the benchmarks.

By when should the self-evaluation report be submitted to FIBAA?

Submit your self-evaluation no later than one year after signing the contract. You will discuss a schedule with the programme accreditation department manager after the contract has been concluded.

How many copies of the self-evaluation report should a HEI send to FIBAA?

FIBAA requires a copy in digital form.

What happens after the HEI has submitted its self-evaluation report?

After submission of the self-documentation, FIBAA will appoint a project manager who will coordinate the procedure and be available to you as a contact person for the duration of the entire procedure. The project manager will schedule the review in consultation with you. Afterwards, the relevant expert committee appoints a team of experts. After the self-evaluation report has been checked for completeness by FIBAA, the review panel will check it for consistency, plausibility and conformity with the respective guidelines and specifications. This is followed by the assessment.

How are the FIBAA Experts chosen?

The assessment of study programmes follows along the lines of the "Peer-Review" process proven in the academic field: Independent Expert Teams selected according to professional criteria check and assess the objective facts and circumstances with the HEI "on an equal footing". A strict FIBAA criteria system ensures impartial and reasonable expertise at all times.

In principle, an Expert Team consists of at least four people, two of them from science (university or technical college professors), one from professional practice (company representative) and one student member. Depending on the subject of assessment, these may be expanded to include certain expertise.

FIBAA has a pool of more than 750 recognised experts.

FIBAA bases the appointment of Expert Teams on a number of requirements, which also include knowledge of accreditation processes. FIBAA therefore regularly offers training courses and seminars for its pool of experts.

You will be informed of the composition of the Expert Team in due time. In order to ensure the impartiality of the Expert Team, FIBAA gives you the opportunity to make a reasoned objection. However, the higher education institution has no right of proposal or veto.

How is the assessment organised?

The assessment takes place at the higher education institution site, digitally or a mix of the two, over 1,5 to 2 days by arrangement depending on the number of study programmes to be accredited and the space available.

The Expert Team obtains a comprehensive picture of the study programme of the higher education institution and the involvement of all those involved through discussions with the higher education institution management, the teaching staff, the students, the graduates and the administrative staff.

The Expert Team then prepares an assessment report with a decision recommendation. This assessment report is the basis for the decision of the FIBAA Accreditation and Certification Committee (F-ACC).

Which decisions can the FIBAA Accreditation and Certification Committee (F-ACC) make?

FIBAA Accreditation and Certification Committee may decide upon either

  • accreditation without conditions,

  • accreditation with conditions, or

  • refusal of accreditation.

On the basis of the report, the decision recommendation of the review panel and by taking into account your statement on the report, the FIBAA Accreditation and Certification Committee will decide on your application for accreditation.

For how long are the study programmes being accredited?

Programme Accreditation:

  • National FIBAA seal

    • Accreditation in conjunction with the AR seal (Legal basis from 01.01.2018): eight years

    • Initial accreditation: five years

    • Re-accreditation: seven years

  • International FIBAA seal:

    • Initial accreditation: five years

    • Re-accreditation: seven years

In the case of accreditation with conditions, the duration of the accreditation may be shortened.

What happens after a positive accreditation decision?

After a positive accreditation according to the FIBAA quality standards, you will receive the FIBAA quality seal for accredited programmes. The accreditation results, the names of the assessors involved as well as the complete reports (taking into account the data protection requirements) are published on the FIBAA homepage ( ->)

What happens after a negative accreditation decision?

If the accreditation of a study programme is denied, a new accreditation may be applied for after a blocking period of one year.

What happens in the case of an accreditation with conditions?

Within the deadline set by the FIBAA Committee (usually 9 months), you must provide evidence of compliance with the agreed condition (s) by email to auflagen[at]fibaa.org. When fulfilling conditions, please note the handout on fulfilling conditions, which we will be happy to send you with the decision of the FIBAA Committee and upon request.

Your submitted evidence will be checked directly by the assessors in the case of content-related requirements, and in the FIBAA office in the case of formal requirements. On the basis of the opinion of the Assessor Team and/or the office, the FIBAA Committee decides on the fulfilment of the condition (s).

If the fulfilment of the requirement cannot be proven on time, you may, in justified cases, request a one-time extension of the deadline (max. 6 months). Otherwise, FIBAA is obliged to withdraw the accreditation for the study programme after issuing a reminder and setting a reasonable grace period.

In which case does FIBAA award the FIBAA Premium Seal?

FIBAA awards the FIBAA Premium Seal to study programmes that have already established themselves on the market and that demonstrate excellent quality in study and teaching as part of an accreditation process in accordance with the international quality standards of FIBAA. This award confirms that a study programme is of outstanding quality overall. It gives prospective students, students, graduates, higher education institutions, continuing education institutions and the job market reliable orientation about the quality of the study programme.

Information on the principles for awarding the FIBAA Premium Seal can be found here:

Can changes be made to an already accredited course?

Changes to a accredited study programme are possible and are expressly desired as continuous improvement and updating.

If these changes are of a significant nature (e.g. new university location, new specialisation, change in the name of the study programme) and affect the conception or profile of a study programme, they must be disclosed to FIBAA.

FIBAA then checks whether the changes could reduce the quality and whether a new assessment would then be necessary. FIBAA decides whether the process may be shortened in individual cases and e.g. a telephone conference with the higher education institution or an assessment based on written documents is also possible.

If you are unsure whether a change needs to be disclosed, FIBAA will be happy to answer any questions you may have at info@fibaa.org.

Can the accreditation be withdrawn? If so, in which cases?

In some cases, FIBAA is obliged to withdraw the accreditation (after issuing a reminder and setting a deadline). This is the case,

  • if the higher education institution does not meet the requirements within the specified period or

  • the higher education institution does not notify the accreditation agency of notifiable changes, although these substantially affect the basis of the original accreditation.

How often do the FIBAA Accreditation and Certification Committee meet?

The FIBAA Accreditation and Certification Committee meets approximately four times a year at intervals of about three months. The dates are announced here on the FIBAA homepage. As a general rule, we already agree with you on the desired date for referral to the FIBAA Accreditation and Certification Committee when you submit your self-evaluation report.

 


FAQ Programme accreditation according to the requirements of the German Accreditation Council


How long does a programme accreditation process take?


The implementation of a programme accreditation procedure usually takes six months from the submission of the self-evaluation of the higher education institution to the submission of the final report for submission. For an initial accreditation, reference should be made to the urgency of the situation.

What standards are used in the programme accreditation process?


  • State Treaty on the Organisation of a Joint Accreditation System for Quality Assurance in Studies and Teaching at German Higher Education Institutions, entered into force on 01.01.2018
  • Decrees issued according to the law of each federal state (Länderrechtsverordnungen, LRVO)

According to which specifications should we create the self-evaluation?

For Programme accreditation according to the requirements of the German Accreditation Council from 01.01.2018  create your self-evaluation based on the grid of the Accreditation Council Foundation:

  • Programme accreditation Type - Individual process (PDF) (Word)

  • Programme accreditation Type - Bundled process (PDF) (Word)

  • Programme accreditation Type - Combination study programme (PDF) (Word)

  • System Accreditation Type (PDF) (Word)

By when do we have to submit the self-evaluation to FIBAA?

Submit your self-evaluation no later than one year after signing the contract.

 

How many copies of the self-evaluation should we submit to FIBAA?

FIBAA requires a copy in electronic form (on CD-ROM, DVD, USB stick, etc.). If the project manager or a member of the Assessor Team needs the self-evaluation in paper form, you will be asked to send them a hard copy.

What happens after submitting our self-evaluation?

After submitting the self-evaluation, FIBAA will appoint a project manager who will take over the coordination of the process and will be available to you as a contact person for the duration of the entire process. The project manager will schedule the assessment in consultation with you. The Expert Committee then appoints an Expert Team.

After the self-evaluation has been checked for completeness by FIBAA, it is checked by the Expert Team for consistency, plausibility and conformity with the respective guidelines and specifications. This is followed by the assessment.

How are the reviewers selected?

The assessment of study programmes is based on the "Peer Review Process" customary in the academic field: Independent Expert Teams selected according to professional criteria examine and evaluate the issues with the higher education institution "on an equal footing". A strict FIBAA criteria system ensures impartial and reasonable expertise at all times.

In principle, an Expert Team consists of at least four people, two of them from science (university or technical college professors), one from professional practice (company representative) and one student member. Depending on the subject of assessment, these may be expanded to include certain expertises.

FIBAA has a pool of more than 750 recognised Experts.

FIBAA bases the appointment of Experts on a number of requirements, which also include knowledge of accreditation processes. FIBAA therefore regularly offers training courses and seminars for its pool of Experts.

You will be informed of the composition of the Expert Team in due time. In order to ensure the impartiality of the Expert Team, FIBAA gives you the opportunity to make a reasoned objection. However, the higher education institution has no right of proposal or veto.

 

How is the assessment organised?

The assessment takes place at the site, digitally or a mix of the two, over 1 to 2 days by arrangement depending on the number of study programmes to be accredited and the space available.

The Expert Team obtains a comprehensive picture of the study programme (s) and the involvement of all those involved through discussions with the higher education institution management, the teaching staff, the students, the graduates and the administrative staff.

The Expert Team then issues an accreditation report with a decision recommendation. This accreditation report is the basis for the decision of the Accreditation Council.

 


FAQ Certification of Continuing Education Courses


How long does a certification process take?

The certification process usually takes four to six months from the submission of the self-evaluation to the decision of the FIBAA Certification Committee for Continuing Education Courses (F-CC CERT). After the conclusion of the contract, FIBAA will contact you to agree upon a suitable schedule with you.

What standards are used in the programme accreditation and certification processes?

These are summarised in the FIBAA Assessment Guide for the certification of scientific continuing education and certificate courses (August 2013).

 

What are the requirements for FIBAA Certification?

The FIBAA certification is aimed at higher education institution and non-higher education institution providers of continuing education. Relevant eligibility criteria are:

  • the continuing education course to be certified is at level 5 to 8 of the European Qualification Framework for Lifelong Learning (EQF) or the corresponding level of your national qualification framework and 

  • the principle of modularisation has been implemented (see ECTS guidelines).

According to which specifications should we create the self-evaluation?

For certification of continuing education courses, create your self-evaluation based on the FIBAA Assessment Guide for the certification of scientific continuing education and certificate courses (August 2013). This document contains all relevant quality standards in the form of questions and benchmarks.

By when should the self-evaluation report be submitted to FIBAA? 

Submit your self-evaluation no later than one year after signing the contract.

How many copies of the self-evaluation should we submit to FIBAA?

FIBAA requires a copy in electronic form (on CD-ROM, DVD, USB stick, etc.). If the project manager or a member of the Assessor Team needs the self-evaluation in paper form, you will be asked to send them a hard copy.

What happens after submitting our self-evaluation?

After submitting the self-evaluation, FIBAA will appoint a project manager who will take over the coordination of the process and will be available to you as a contact partner for the duration of the entire process. The project manager will schedule the assessment in consultation with you. The relevant FIBAA Panel Appointing Committee appoints an Assessor Team.

After the self-evaluation has been checked for completeness by FIBAA, the review panel will check it for consistency, plausibility and conformity with the respective guidelines and specifications. This is followed by the assessment.

How are the Assessors chosen?

The assessment of continuing education courses follows along the lines of the "Peer-Review" process proven in the academic field: Independent reviewers, selected in accordance with disciplinary criteria, check and assess the objective facts and circumstances with you as equals. A strict FIBAA Criteria System hereby assures unbiased and comprehensible expertise at all times.

In principle, the review panel consists of at least four people, two of them from science (university or technical college professors), one from professional practice (company representative) and one student member. Depending on the subject of assessment, these may be expanded to include certain expertises.

FIBAA has a pool of more than 750 recognised assessors.

FIBAA bases the appointment of Assessor Teams on a number of requirements, which also include knowledge of accreditation processes. FIBAA therefore regularly offers training courses and seminars for its pool of assessors.

You will be informed of the composition of the Assessor Team in due time. In order to ensure the impartiality of the Assessor Team, FIBAA gives you the opportunity to make a reasoned objection. However, the higher education institution has no right of proposal or veto.

How is the assessment organised?

The assessment takes place at the higher education institution or continuing education site, digitally or a mix of the two, over 1 to 2 days by arrangement depending on the number of continuing education courses to be certified and the space available.

The review panel obtains a comprehensive picture of the continuing education course(s) and the involvement of all those involved through discussions with the higher education institution management, the teaching staff, the students, the graduates and the administrative staff.

The Assessor Team then prepares an assessment report with a decision recommendation. This report is the basis for the decision of the FIBAA Certification Committee for Continuing Education Courses.

How often do the FIBAA Committees meet?

The FIBAA Certification Committee for Continuing Education Courses meets approximately twice a year, depending on requirements. The dates will be announced here on the FIBAA homepage. As a rule, when submitting the self-evaluation, we agree with you on the desired time to refer the matter to the FIBAA Certification Committee for Continuing Education Courses.

What decisions can the FIBAA Certification Committee take? 

The FIBAA Certification Committee can either decide to: 

  • certify the continuing education course without any condition, 

  • certification with conditions, or

  • refuse the certification. 

Before the decision of the FIBAA Committees, you will receive the assessment report without the assessor decision recommendation. All decisions of the FIBAA Committees are made on the basis of your opinion.

For what duration are the continuing education courses certified?

  • Initial certification: five years

  • Re-certification: seven years

In the case of certification with conditions, the duration of the certification may be shortened.

What happens after a positive certification decision?

After a positive certification according to the FIBAA quality standards, you will receive the FIBAA quality seal for the continuing education courses. The certification results, the names of the assessors involved and the complete reports (taking into account the data protection requirements) are published on the FIBAA homepage (certified continuing education courses).

What happens after a negative certification decision?

If certification of a continuing education course is denied, a new certification can be applied for after a blocking period of one year.

What happens in the case of an certification with conditions?

Within the deadline set by the FIBAA Committee (usually 9 months), you must provide evidence of compliance with the agreed condition(s) by email to auflagen[at]fibaa.org. When fulfilling conditions, please note the handout on fulfilling conditions, which we will be happy to send you with the decision of the FIBAA Committee and upon request.

Your submitted evidence will be checked directly by the assessors in the case of content-related requirements, and in the FIBAA office in the case of formal requirements. On the basis of the opinion of the assessors and/or the office, the responsible FIBAA Committee decides on the fulfilment of the condition (s).

If the fulfilment of the requirement cannot be proven on time, you may, in justified cases, request a one-time extension of the deadline (max. 6 months). Otherwise, FIBAA is obliged to withdraw the certification for the continuing education course after issuing a reminder and setting a reasonable grace period.

In which case does FIBAA award the FIBAA Premium Seal?

FIBAA awards the FIBAA Premium Seal to continuing education courses that have already established themselves on the market and that demonstrate excellent quality in study and teaching as part of a certification process in accordance with the international quality standards of FIBAA. This award confirms that a continuing education course is of outstanding quality overall. It gives prospective students, students, graduates, higher education institutions, continuing education institutions and the job market reliable orientation about the quality of the continuing education course.

Information on the principles for awarding the FIBAA Premium Seal can be found here:

Can changes be made to a continuing education course that has already been certified?

Changes to a certified continuing education course are possible and are expressly desired as continuous improvement and updating.

If these changes are of a significant nature (e.g. new higher education institution / institution location, new specialisation, change in the name of the continuing education course) and affect the conception or profile of a continuing education course, they must be disclosed to FIBAA.

FIBAA then checks whether the changes could reduce the quality and whether a new assessment would then be necessary. FIBAA decides whether the process may be shortened in individual cases and e.g. a telephone conference with the higher education institution / continuing education institution or an assessment based on written documents is also possible.

If you are unsure whether a change needs to be disclosed, FIBAA will be happy to answer any questions you may have at info@fibaa.org.

Can the accreditation be withdrawn? If so, in which cases?

In some cases, FIBAA is obliged to withdraw the certification (after issuing a reminder and setting a deadline). This is the case,

  • if the higher education institution / continuing education institution does not meet the requirements within the specified period or

  • the higher education institution / continuing education institution does not notify the accreditation agency of notifiable changes, although these substantially affect the basis of the original accreditation.