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Glossary of terms - Higher Education


A set of learning outcomes of an individual which have been assessed and which can be accumulated towards a qualification or transferred to other learning programmes or qualifications.

Credit mobility

A limited period of study or traineeship abroad  set within on-going studies at a home institution - for the purpose of gaining credits. After the mobility phase, students return to their home institution to complete their studies.

Degree mobility    

A period of study abroad aimed at acquiring a full degree or certificate in the destination country/ies.

Diploma Supplement

An annex to the official qualification documentation, which is designed to provide more detailed information on the studies completed according to an agreed format, which is internationally recognized; a document accompanying a higher education diploma, providing a standardised description of the nature, level, context, content and status of the studies completed by its holder. It is produced by higher education institutions according to standards agreed by the European Commission, the Council of Europe and UNESCO. In the context of an international joint study programme, it is recommended to deliver a "joint diploma supplement" covering the entire programme and endorsed by all the degree awarding universities. 

Double degree/multiple degree

(At least) two separate degree certificates awarded to a student upon successful completion of a joint programme. A double degree is a specific type of multiple degree. Each degree must be signed by the competent authority of the institution concerned, and recognised officially in the countries where the different awarding institutions are located.

ECHE (Erasmus Charter for Higher Education)

An accreditation granted by the European Commission giving the possibility to higher education institutions from EU Member States and third countries associated to the Programme to be eligible to apply and participate in learning mobility and cooperation activities under Erasmus+. Higher Education institutions from the Western Balkans third countries not associated to the programme can apply for and be granted an ECHE for the purposes of the Call for Proposals on the European Universities, to which they are eligible. The Charter outlines the fundamental principles an institution should adhere to in organising and implementing high quality mobility and cooperation. It states the requisites the institution agrees to comply with in order to ensure high quality services and procedures, as well as the provision of reliable and transparent information.

ECTS (European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System)

A learner-centred system for credit accumulation and transfer, based on the transparency of learning, teaching and assessment processes. Its objective is to facilitate planning, delivery and evaluation of study programmes and learner mobility through the recognition of qualifications and periods of learning. A system that helps to design, describe and deliver study programmes and award higher education qualifications. The use of ECTS, in conjunction with outcomes-based qualifications frameworks, makes study programmes and qualifications more transparent and facilitates the recognition of qualifications.

Higher education institution

Means an institution which, in accordance with national law or practice, offers recognised degrees or other recognised tertiary level qualifications, regardless of what such an establishment is called, or a comparable institution at tertiary level which is considered by the national authorities as eligible to participate in the Programme in their respective territories.

Joint degree

Single degree certificate awarded to a student upon successful completion of a joint programme. The joint degree must be signed by the competent authorities of two or more of the participating institutions jointly and recognised officially in the countries where those participating institutions are located.

Joint programmes

Higher education (study or research) programmes jointly designed, delivered and fully recognised by two or more higher education institutions. Joint programmes can be implemented at any higher education cycle, i.e. bachelor, master or doctorate or even short cycle. Joint programmes can be national (i.e. when all universities involved are from the same country) or transnational/international (i.e. when at least two different countries are represented among the higher education institutions involved).

One-cycle study programmes

Integrated/long programmes leading either to a first or a second-cycle degree and which, in some countries, can still be better characterised by duration in years rather than credits. In most of these countries, the programmes outside the Bologna first-cycle model are in the fields of medicine, dentistry, veterinary medicine, nursing and midwifery and in most cases involve 1-8 % of the student population. The typical length of integrated programmes leading to regulated professions is in general 300-360 ECTS/five-six years depending on the regulated profession in question.

Third cycle

The third cycle level in the Qualifications Framework for the European Higher Education Area agreed by the ministers responsible for higher education at their meeting in Bergen in May 2005 in the framework of the Bologna process. The descriptor of the third cycle of the QF EHEA corresponds to the learning outcomes for EQF level 8.

Tagged in:  Higher education