07 February 2013 | Report

Quality Assurance in Doctoral Education - results of the ARDE project

Joanne Byrne, Thomas Jørgensen and Tia Loukkola

Quality assurance and doctoral education have been elements of the Bologna Process since the 2003 ministerial meeting in Berlin, but until rather recently, they have been developing on two different tracks. The basic principles governing both, the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the EHEA (ESG) and the Salzburg Principles for doctoral education, date from 2005, but their development happened in very different contexts.


Quality assurance has been mostly related to universities’ teaching mission and the main focus has been on the first two cycles, while doctoral education has been closely linked to research. Within institutions, the two have typically been under different governance structures, quality assurance under the vice-rector for academic affairs and doctoral education under the vice-rector for research.

The ARDE project aimed at demonstrating how quality assurance for doctoral education has been implemented in European universities. As the Bologna Process has developed, universities have put great effort into professionalising their quality assurance as well as their doctoral education, albeit often in separate processes. However, the two processes are beginning to merge. Doctoral education is being managed more professionally through doctoral schools and institutions are giving more attention to accountability and quality enhancement. This publication describes the developments, outlines recommendations and underlines the differences between quality assurance for doctoral education and quality assurance for the first and second cycle.

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