ASIIN. Information for Universities

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1 ASIIN Akkreditierungsagentur für Studiengänge der Ingenieurwissenschaften, der Informatik, der Naturwissenschaften und der Mathematik e.v. Information for Universities Requirements and Procedural Principles for the Accreditation of Bachelor s and Master s study programs in Engineering, Informatics, Natural Sciences and Mathematics

2 Contents Page 1. Introduction The Accreditation Agency for Study Programs in Engineering, Informatics, Natural Sciences and Mathematics Accreditation Principles and Requirements of ASIIN Basic Principles Accreditation goals Object of accreditation General requirements for study programs conferring Bachelor's and Master's degrees Demand Structure and duration of the study Study program profiles, classifications and awarding of Bachelor s and Master s degrees Guiding principles and educational aims Admission requirements and transitions Modularization, credit point system, practicals, additional curricular requirements Special forms of study: Dual study options, internationally-oriented study programs, project-based study programs, distance and online study programs Institutional and organizational environment Quality assurance Requirements for study and examination regulations Subject-specific requirements Admission to careers in the higher levels of the civil administration for graduates of Master s study programs at universities of applied sciences The course of an accreditation procedure Possible results of the procedure Obligations of the applicant APPENDIX Application procedure Suggested breakdown for application documents from universities and universities of applied sciences Quantitative data accompanying suggested breakdown for application documents from universities and universities of applied sciences Form for the Module handbook Form for Personnel manual

3 Requirements and procedural principles for the accreditation of Bachelor s and Master s study programs in Engineering, Informatics, Natural Sciences and Mathematics 1. Introduction The introduction of Bachelor s and Master s study programs at German universities primarily pursues the following goals: To enhance a greater variety of study programs, ensuring their quality, and providing transparency To encourage the internationalization and international compatibility of German university-level education and to promote applications by suitably qualified foreign students or other persons from abroad who are interested in studying To support the completion of an integrated Higher Education System throughout Europe To improve the global marketability of graduates from German universities To allow a more flexible adjustment of the study programs to the requirements of the national and international market To open up additional options for further training and education as part of lifelong learning and To make a contribution towards complying with the regulations for the standard period of study. The accreditation of these study programs is intended to ensure that the quality standards with regard to specialised subject contents are met by all types of universities and to promote the further development and continuous improvement of training and education in the study programs to be accredited. In addition, a check is made to ensure that the range of courses provided can be studied within the standard period of study. On the one hand, the aim of this accreditation is to guarantee high standards of teaching and studies, together with equivalency of the education with regard to section 9 2 of the higher education framework act (HRG 1 ). On the other hand, special profiles of the individual technical universities and universities of applied sciences are to be promoted. The accreditation process is carried out by independent agencies that for their part are accredited by the Accreditation Council that has been set up in accordance with the resolution of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (Kultusministerkonferenz KMK) adopted on 3 December The Accreditation Council defines the requirements for the accreditation of these agencies and the study programs. 1 Hochschulrahmengesetz. 3

4 2. The Accreditation Agency for Study Programs in Engineering, Informatics, Natural Sciences and Mathematics The non-profit Accreditation Agency for Study Programs in Engineering, Informatics, Natural Sciences and Mathematics (ASIIN) defines the procedures and requirements for the assessment of study programs in these specialist areas on the basis of the standards set by the conference of the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (Kultusministerkonferenz KMK) and the Accreditation Council. It checks whether the accreditation standards and procedures that have been drawn up are in accord with German laws and ordinances and the relevant applicable European directives. ASIIN negotiates and concludes agreements with other national and international accreditation institutions regarding collaboration with each other and mutual recognition of the accreditation procedures and criteria, together with the accredited study programs. ASIIN was accepted as a provisional member within the Washington Accord with effect as of 11 June 2003, becoming the first non-english-speaking accreditation agency in mainland Europe to do so. Membership within the Washington Accord is a major step forward for our members and customers alike as part of our efforts over many years to obtain international recognition for accredited engineering study programs as a prerequisite for the professional mobility of German engineers. As a founding member of the European Standing Observatory for the Engineering Profession and Education (ESOEPE), ASIIN promotes in addition the goal of cross-border recognition of degrees and similar qualifications in this field and thus of professional mobility also on the European continent on the basis of these qualifications. 2 Furthermore ASIIN is working hard towards achieving comparable reciprocal recognition in the fields of the Natural Sciences, Mathematics and Informatics. The operational work on quality assurance and optimization within ASIIN is organized as follows: two independent Accreditation Commissions are set up by the Executive Board of ASIIN and are formed with a one-third parity shared out between representatives from (technical) universities, from universities of applied sciences and from business/industry as well as students and international consultants. These Accreditation Commissions define the basic principles and quality standards for the accreditation set up Technical Committees that have the same type of one-third parity as described above for - the development and continuous monitoring of field specific criteria for the accreditation - examining the accreditation reports produced by the audit teams, - formulating field specific questions for the accreditation as well as designating and training the auditors appoint experienced auditors and audit teams at the suggestion of the Technical Committees for the study programs to be accredited help to set up a pool of qualified experts and auditors 2 More information on the Washington Accord, ESOEPE and the international network of ASIIN can be found on our Webpages under International Activities. 4

5 accredit the study programs on the basis of the audit reports and the comments of the Technical Committees. Currently two Accreditation Commissions (AC I for study programs in Engineering and Informatics, AC II for the field of the Natural sciences and Mathematics) and a total of 13 Technical Committees with the following designations have been set up: 1. Mechanical Engineering/ Process Engineering 8. Agricultural and Nutritional Sciences and Landscape Preservation 2. Electrical Engineering/ Information Technology 9. Chemistry/ Technical Chemistry 3. Civil Engineering/Surveying 10 Biosciences/Pharmacology. 4. Informatics 11 Geoscience. 5. Physical Technologies, 12 Mathematics Materials and Processes. 6. Industrial Engineering 13 Physics. 7. Business Informatics The Technical Committees listed above cover all the fields of study within Engineering, Informatics, the Natural Sciences and Mathematics. The interplay between the meeting of members, the executive board, headquartes unit and the expert working level with the audit teams, technical committees and the accreditation commissions can be illustrated graphically as follows: ASIIN General Assembly ASIIN Experts ~ 400 auditors from industry, universities and scientific organisations Coordination group of German (technical) universities Coordination Industrial group federations and of German umbrella universities of organisations applied of trade unions science organisations Technical and scientific associations and professional organizations Technical Committees 1/3 representatives from universities/universities of applied science, industry respectively Auditteams Technical Committees 1/3 representatives from universities/universities of applied science, industry respectively Auditteams every member group nominates 3 representatives to the Board on appoints recommendat of TC appoints Accreditation Commission I (Engineering & Informatics) on appoints recommendati of TC appoints Accreditation Commission II (natural science & mathematics) administrates ASIIN-Board 12 Persons appoints ASIIN Headquaters (Chief Executive Office) Fig. 1: Organizational structure of ASIIN. 5

6 All the committees with ASIIN that are involved in the accreditation are formed with a onethird parity shared out between representatives from technical universities, from universities of applied sciences and from business/industry; no criteria can be agreed upon or study programs accredited if any one of these groups votes unanimously against them. 3. Accreditation Principles and Requirements of ASIIN 3.1 Basic Principles The accreditation procedure developed by ASIIN is based on the rules laid down by the higher education framework act (HRG), further accreditation-specific criteria for decision within the individual German states, the decisions of the German Rectors Conference (German Universities Association) (HRK 3, 6 July 1998) and the KMK 4 of 3 December 1998 and 5 March 1999, its Decision on the future development of quality assurance across universities and German state boundaries in Germany of 1 March 2002 and the Statute for an accreditation procedure that cuts across universities and German state boundaries in the versions of 24 May 2002 and 19 September 2002 for the introduction of accreditation procedures for Bachelor s and Master s study programs. In addition to these, the Federal State Common Structural Requirements as per section 9 of the HRG for the Accreditation of Bachelor s and Master s Study Programs are to be noted by ASIIN as well as the relevant decisions and guidelines of the Accreditation Council. Finally, the question of access to careers in the civil administration at a higher level for university graduates must also take into account the relevant decisions of the Minister of the Interior and of the KMK issued on 6 June 2002 and 24 May 2002 respectively. 5 The accreditation procedure of ASIIN is guided by the principles of quality, objectivity, transparency and validity. It not only takes into consideration the increasing differentiation and diversification of the study programs on offer at (technical) universities and universities of applied sciences, but also the quality standards demanded by the growing intensive global competition in the field of education. ASIIN lays down general and field specific requirements for the assessment of study programs in Engineering, Informatics, Natural Sciences and Mathematics, which prepare qualified graduates for working successfully in their chosen professions in these fields. The procedure focuses on setting and monitoring general and field specific input- as well as output-orientated standards that are based on the KMK recommendations and their further development by the Accreditation Council. They have been defined and further refined in dialogue with national and international scientific organizations, the conferences of deans of departments of universities and the conferences of deans of departments of universities of 3 Hochschulrektorenkonferenz. 4 Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (Kultusministerkonferenz KMK). 5 The above-mentioned documents can be found on ASIIN Website under Documents. 6

7 applied sciences, technical and trade associations, and experts from business and industry. The goal is to create as much diversity as possible in the area of higher education in Germany, while at the same time ensuring high levels of quality, transparency and comparability of the services offered, as well as the processes, resources and equipment necessary to achieve this. The accreditation procedure of ASIIN applies to different fields of study, all types of universities and all German states and is oriented towards international standards. In keeping with internationally accepted standards accreditation is granted for a limited period of time, which is currently five years. After the expiration of this term, the university must apply for re-accreditation, which entails an evaluation and a thorough check of the study program and its objectives, and how they are being implemented. The re-accreditation process inquires into whether the required educational and quality standards are being reached (output orientation) and surveys the success rate in the job market of graduates of the degree programs. 3.2 Accreditation goals The accreditation procedure of ASIIN is part of an accreditation system that: ensures that graduates of accredited study programs receive qualifications that enable them to be successful in their chosen professions, promotes the further development and ongoing improvement of the program, accepts varying educational concepts, thereby allowing a high level of diversity, supports constant innovation in education, forms the basis of ongoing quality improvement of education, ensures transparency of comparable study programs, and promotes national and international mobility. The universities and universities of applied sciences applying for accreditation are responsible for proving that their courses of study fulfil the standards set down by ASIIN and that they attain the formulated educational goals in the sense of an optimization of the program`s output. In addition, the studyability of the range of courses is examined against the background of the amount of working time available to the students. 3.3 Object of accreditation The object of an accreditation procedure, at present, covers study programs that are either offered as consecutive courses, which grant first a Bachelor s and then a Master's degree, or as individual courses, which grant either a Bachelor s or a non-consecutive or a continous education Master's degree. Furthermore, diploma study programs for which there are no (longer any) framework regulations for final examinations are also subject to accreditation. In the future doctoral study programs and courses that conclude with a state examination will also most likely be subject to accreditation in the view of the KMK. On the basis of a positive accreditation, the ministries of education of the respective state are giving authorization to the Bachelor s or Master s study program. 7

8 ASIIN accredits in response to applications from government approved public or private universities, study programs conferring degrees that qualify graduates to enter their chosen profession, compiles and publishes a list of accredited study programs, makes efforts to achieve worldwide recognition of the accredited study programs. A study program with a degree from a German university can only be accredited as a rule by ASIIN if at least half of the study had been completed at a German university and the degree is granted by the university in question. In the case of participation of this non-accredited study programs at foreign universities, ASIIN places great value on whether the foreign universities are represented in a competent form in the audit. In addition at least one peer of ASIIN must visit the partner university to gain an impression of the quality of the corresponding course of study. The titel of a study program should only be English if a substantial portion of the lectures and seminars, etc., are held in English. In case of application for accreditation from foreign universities a certificate of equivalency is issued if ASIIN quality standards are met; a separate accreditation list is kept for these study programs. This certification of substantial equivalency attests that the foreign study program satisfies ASIIN quality requirements that are applied to German universities and universities of applied sciences alike. 3.4 General requirements for study programs conferring Bachelor's and Master's degrees Demand There must be sufficient demand among the students applying for the study program to be accredited, a documented medium- and long-term demand in the job market, and specific career opportunities for the relevant graduates. The universities and universities of applied sciences are required to maintain a file of alumni and statistics on the whereabouts of their graduates so that reliable information on the success of these graduates on the labor market can be obtained as part of a re-accreditation procedure. The success of these graduates on the labor market is a central indicator for the assessment of the quality of the study program offered Structure and duration of the study The framework act for higher education (HRG) makes a basic distinction between Bachelor s and Master s study programs in accordance with section 19 of the HRG and between diploma and Master s study programs in accordance with section 18. A structural mixing of the two study programs is to be excluded in accordance with the structural requirements of the KMK, but this does not exclude a partial joint use of individual study options in the two separate systems leading to graduation. 8

9 Bachelor s and Master s study programs can be held both at universities and equivalent institutes of higher education as well as at universities of applied sciences. The setting up of a Bachelor s or Master s study program thus does not presuppose the existence of a complementary Master s or Bachelor s study program respectively. The standard period of study for Bachelor s and Master s study programs are given in section of the HRG and are a minimum of three and a maximum of four years for Bachelor s and a minimum of one and a maximum of two years for Master s courses. The variation with a seven-semester Bachelor s study program followed by an associated threesemester Master s qualification is also possible. In the case of consecutive courses of study, the total required study time at a university can not exceed five years. The KMK has furthermore stated in its structural requirements that shorter standard period of studies are possible on the basis of special organizational measures regarding the study. From the point of view of ASIIN this covers in the first instance study programs that are organized in trimesters. According to the KMK as a rule it is necessary to provide proof of having obtained a study volume of at least 180 ECTS credit points to obtain a Bachelor s degree. According to international requirements as a rule a total of 300 ECTS credit points are required to obtain the corresponding consecutive Master s degree while including the preceding course of study. Otherwise the number of ECTS credit points to be gained in the Bachelor s or Master s study programs depends on the various standard period of studies that are possible within the requirements of the framework act for higher education. The structural requirements of the KMK likewise include guidelines on the scope of the degree examination work that must be a mandatory constituent of a Bachelor s and Master s studies program: ASIIN has defined its minimum requirements as 12 credit points against the background of the stipulated corridor for the Bachelor s work set by the KMK. Regarding the scope of the work for a Master s there is as a rule a range of credit points; the specific scope of the degree examination work in the various academic cultures within the disciplines is defined in addition in the subject-specific supplementary notes Study program profiles, classifications and awarding of Bachelor s and Master s degrees Study program profiles Each university can define its specific profile through an emphasis on particular course contents or interdisciplinary approaches, through forms of teaching and learning or by the interlinking of research and teaching. According to the structural requirements of the KMK it is necessary to distinguish between a more application-oriented and a more researchoriented profile when accrediting a Master s study program. According to the KMK Bachelor s study programs must convey scientific basic principles, methodological skills and 9

10 qualifications related to the professional field in question. No allocation is made to the profile types more application-oriented and more research-oriented. 6 For ASIIN each of the profiles must be a scientific study that endows the ability to carry out scientific work using scientific methods, conveys theoretical and analytical abilities and places graduates in a position where they can tackle new conditions in an open and creative way. At the same time both profiles convey the mandatory personal key qualifications such as communicative and social skills and the ability to act on one s own responsibility in preparing oneself for professional tasks. Another factor to consider is that graduates from both profiles should have access to doctoral studies. Only the suitability of the applicant should be considered in the admissions of doctoral study programs and not whether the Master s degree had been obtained at a university or a university of applied sciences. For ASIIN the two profiles are nonetheless distinguished by their weighting of these differing components. The crucial factor for the allocation of the profile is therefore the design and composition of the curriculum which must be reviewed for the specific subject in each accreditation. In the following definitions of terms ASIIN returns, among other things, to the descriptors that the Accreditation Council has developed together with the agencies for these two study program profiles that can be applied for in equal measure by universities and universities of applied sciences. More research-oriented study programs Research-oriented study programs must be based on academic principles and fundamental- and methodology-oriented. It imparts theoretical knowledge oriented towards the current state of research in the relevant subject and the methodological and system skills that enables students to recognize and solve complex problems by themselves and thus expand the boundaries of their knowledge. The curriculum developes on a reasonably comprehensive fundamental base the competences for problem-solving in practical situations and for theory-based or application-related research. Furthermore the students gain analytical, constructive and creative skills for creating and further developing working methods and complex systems. Here the imparting of interdisciplinary knowledge and the ability to integrate scientific processes from different fields of specialization plays an important role as well. More research-oriented study programs and degrees profit overall on a long-term basis from the unification of research and teaching at the offering departments. The teaching is to be done by teachers who above all can make use of their own active research in addition to any actual working experience, depending on the subject. Ideally the students would be brought in at an early stage into ongoing research projects as part of degreerelated project or examination work. 6 See also the Federal State Common Structural Requirements as per section 9 2 of the HRG, the decision of the KMK on

11 As part of the identification of a research-oriented profile, ASIIN will take in particular as a yardstick the scientific qualifications of the staff (education, scientific publications, work as experts, patents, work in the further development of scientific research and teaching, participation in conferences, interdisciplinary and internal scientific cooperation), the extent to which they are responsible for carrying projects with third party funding and the support of recognized institutions for furthering scientific research, contacts with industrial firms as part of research and development work, the managing of research institutes and groups, etc. The universities and the various departments involved in the study program must prove adequate research resources from which students can profit and which go beyond the requirements of the actual teaching. The following are thus to be taken into consideration in the first instance: Libraries with an adequate stock of the relevant research literature, equipment for laboratories regarding larger machines and test benches, the provision of suitable computer hardware and software and if applicable, inter-institutional agreements on the use of resources at other locations as well, etc. More application-oriented study programs A more application-oriented study program must not only be based on academic principles but also be oriented to practical application. The curriculum based on reasonably comprehensive fundamentals of technical knowledge that are covered in greater detail in specific areas and a comprehensive knowledge of methodology developes the competence for problem-solving in practical situations on the basis of the current state of knowledge with regard to the various theories in science and practical needs. A more application-oriented study program imparts transferable knowledge in connection with professionally-relevant key qualifications. It is subject-oriented and aims towards a professional career field. Consequently the curriculum primarily covers the application of the knowledge for professional career-related and application-related problem-solving, using case studies and project work to support needed skills. An important factor for the teaching staff is maintaining this application knowledge by intensive contacts with companies. The degree examination is to be developed against the background of practical problems and the application orientation must be shown through actual questions that had been resolved in cooperation with industry. The following factors play a major role in the identification of an application-oriented profile: the teaching is primarily represented by teachers who in addition to their scientific qualifications have at their disposal relevant experience in the application of scientific knowledge and methods in actual practice. Of prime importance is experience gained in a career field outside the university in the implementation of scientific knowledge in actual everyday practice, a constant renewal of technical skills through scientific work (R&D projects, expert appraisal and certification work, involvement in subject-related further education and training, work with patents, etc.). The technical departments and teaching staff responsible for the study programs must prove: intensive contacts to and cooperation arrangements with companies or institutions that are professionally relevant, suitable equipment for practical work related to this field of study (workshops, laboratories, etc.), application-related teaching materials (such as models) and evidence of contacts or cooperation arrangements for practical work accompanying the course of study. 11

12 General curricular requirements of ASIIN for a Bachelor s study program The following curricular breakdown for orientation purposes provides guidelines from which it is possible to deviate in suitably justified cases (precise details and further differentiation will be given in the subject-specific supplementary notes). Mathematical-natural-scientific fundamentals (MNF): min. 20% of the whole. Subject-specific fundamentals (SSF): min. 25 % of the whole. Subject-specific deepening (SSD): min. 15 % of the whole. Interdisciplinary content (IDC): approx. 15 % of the whole. Final degree examination work: at least 12 credit points Practical project corresponding to the relevant scope stipulated in the subject-specific supplementary notes. Regarding further curricular requirements for the quality of Bachelor s programs, we refer to the following input- and output-oriented quality criteria (for the latter see 3.4.4, , etc.) and also to the subject-specific supplementary notes Classification of Master s study programs according to the structural requirements of the KMK of 10 October 2003: Consecutive, non-consecutive and continuing education Master s study programs According to the structural requirements of the KMK of 10 October 2003, it is necessary to determine (when setting up a Master s study program) as to whether this involves a consecutive, non-consecutive or continuing education study program. This allocation is to be verified as part of the accreditation. Consecutive Bachelor s and Master s study programs are courses that build on one another in terms of their contents. Usually these programs fall into the categories of a timeframe of either or years and do not exceed an overall duration of 5 years of required study time for being awarded a Master s degree (this also includes 7-semester Bachelor s and 3-semester Master s study programs). The Master s study program can be a continuation of the Bachelor s course covering the topics in greater depth or in an interdisciplinary fashion, in the latter case, as long as the subjects involved are related. Bachelor s and Master s study programs can be consecutively studied at different universities, also at different types of higher educational institutions, and also with phases of professional work in between the first and second degree. Non-consecutive Master s study programs are Master s courses that in terms of contents do not build on a preceding Bachelor s study program. They should comply with the requirements (sections 1.3 and 1.4 of the structural requirements of the KMK) for consecutive Master s study programs and lead to the same level of qualification and the same entitlements. The equivalency of the requirements is to be determined in the framework of the accreditation. Continuing education Master s study programs usually presuppose suitably qualifying professional work experience of no less than one year after graduating with a qualifying degree. The contents of the continuing education Master s study program should take into consideration and be linked to professional working experience. The university in question 12

13 must show the link between professional qualifications and the type of course being offered when drawing up a continuing education Master s study program. Continuing education Master s study programs correspond to the requirements (sections 1.3 and 1.4 of the structural requirements of the KMK) for consecutive Master s study programs and lead to the same level of qualification and the same entitlements. The equivalency of the requirements is to be determined within the accreditation. Furthermore the field specific criteria regarding the curricular requirements for Master s programs are referred to Degrees Here too the relevant KMK requirements of 10 October 2003 must be complied with. On the basis of the above, Bachelor s and Master s study programs are separate courses that lead to separate degrees being awarded. Consequently only one degree can be awarded for successfully completing a Bachelor s or Master s study program. Bachelor s and Master s degrees as per section 19 of the HRG cannot thus be awarded together with a degree or similar qualification from a diploma or a Magister study program as per section 18 of the HRG; and vice versa. According to the graduation system stipulated in section 19 of the HRG, the master s degree is awarded on the basis of a further university degree for professional qualification (section 19 3 clause 1 of the HRG). Consequently a Master s degree can only be gained if a first university degree for a professional qualification has already been obtained. This therefore excludes basic study programs that directly lead to the gaining of a Master s degree after four or five years. There is no provision for differentiating between types of Bachelor s and Master s degrees given on the basis of the length of the required study time. Thus the same degrees are awarded for three- and four-year Bachelor s study programs. The same applies to Master s degrees that are completed in one or two years. Logically, the same also applies to 7- semester Bachelor s and 3-semester Master s study programs. Bachelor s degrees with the additional title Honours (B.A. hon. ) are excluded. The differentiation between the degrees likewise does not distinguish between profile types more application-oriented and more research-oriented on the Bachelor s level. In the field of the natural sciences the titles of Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.) and Master of Science (M.Sc.) are provided in the fields of the natural sciences, mathematics, informatics, medicine, agriculture forestry and nutrition. In engineering the applicant can choose between Bachelor of Science (B.Sc.)/Master of Science (M.Sc.) and Bachelor of Engineering (B.Eng.)/Master of Engineering (M.Eng.). With regard to interdisciplinary study programs the marking of the degree depends on the subject area that is dominating within the course; in engineering and economics for this depends on the focus of the content of the study program. The guiding principle for ASIIN is: The title must correspond to the content. Additional titles for particular subjects may not be appended to the name of the degree in question. However, Master s degrees that differ from the above-listed designations may be 13

14 applied in the case of further education study programs and non-consecutive Master s study programs. The degrees may also be issued in a German version (such as Bakkalaureus ). Designations that are a mixture of terms from different languages may not be used (such as Bachelor der Wissenschaften ). Detailed information on the study program that is the basis of the degree must be included in the mandatory Diploma Supplement Guiding principles and educational aims Study courses should not only serve the purpose of knowledge transfer, but also of acquiring the skills needed for acting successfully and purposefully in one s chosen profession and for lifelong learning. The study program to be accredited should, by teaching students fundamental, specialist and interdisciplinary knowledge and skills, serve to pass on methodological and personal skills. Engineers, (natural) scientists and computer scientists are chiefly active in an international, interdisciplinary and highly competitive environment in which people, technology, companies and society interact. Therefore it is important that the degree courses develop an awareness of social and ethical responsibilities and give students the opportunity to obtain the necessary key qualifications. These include basic skills in economics, ecology, ergonomics and law as well as the ability to organize oneself and one s projects, to work in a team, and to deal properly with criticism and conflict. In addition, students must be trained to think in interdisciplinary contexts and taught to act strategically and to think in a business-like manner. In parallel to this, students must be encouraged to gain qualifications in foreign languages so that graduates can also be active within an international context. The problem-solving abilities and skills to be acquired through the study must be clearly and concisely defined. All the required skills described above must be taken into account. On the basis of the description of the skills to be acquired, it is necessary to show by what specific means within the curriculum (the contents and forms of the teaching) the above-mentioned qualifications can be gained. Since the focus of the imparting of key qualifications is the ability to deploy communicative and interdisciplinary skills, interdisciplinary project work with regular presentations by the students can function as a suitable model. In addition the university must explain for what professional field the students of a Bachelor s/master s program are being trained for (see also section 3.3.1) Admission requirements and transitions Checking the prerequisites for admission is a constituent part of every ASIIN accreditation. The admission requirements for Bachelor s degrees formulated by the university must ensure that the students selected possess the required knowledge and skills. Admission requirements can include: general/subject-specific entrance requirements for higher 7 The requirements of a Diploma Supplement on the basis of the agreed HRK example can be found on the ASIINWebsite under in the Aktuelles/Akkreditierungsdokumente section. 14

15 education/ professional qualifications; work experience; foreign language skills; aptitude tests. In the case of Master s study programs the character of the Master s degree must be emphasized as a further degree and should therefore be dependent on special admission requirements. The entrance requirement for a Master s program should be a qualifying Bachelor s degree or similar qualification. The suitability of the applicant should be taken into consideration regarding the question of admission to a Master s course, but not whether a Bachelor s degree has been obtained at a university of applied sciences or a university. While entrance examinations can be dispensed with in the case of consecutive Master s study programs, special admission requirements are needed in particular for interdisciplinary and hybrid Master s programs and as a rule for internationally-oriented degree courses for students from different cultures and countries. The program organizers must show in their application which procedures are being introduced to ensure that different levels of entry qualification are brought into line with one another. Transitions between the study programs as per section 18 of the HRG and the Bachelor s and Master s study programs as per section 19 of the HRG are possible according to the general rules on transfers of credits. Any details are to be covered in the examination regulations if they are not already part of the relevant national stipulations Modularization, credit point system, practicals, additional curricular requirements The following curriculum requirements are demanded of all study programs to be accredited: The study program must fulfil the academic, fundamental and application-oriented requirements. The courses, research and development and practicals must be well coordinated. The study program should promote the international exchange of students. Important preconditions to achieve this goal are the modularization of degrees, the introduction of a credit point system, international cooperation schemes, etc Modularization of the study program It is necessary to provide proof as part of the accreditation of a Bachelor s or Master s study program that the course of study has been modularized and has a credit point system. This is intended to promote the national and international mobility of students. Modularization means the splitting up of the study contents on a topic and time basis into testable units that are complete in themselves and are given credit points. The contents of a module are to be scaled in such a way that as a rule they can be taught within one semester or one year. In principle, modules are to be terminated with examinations. The size of a module should be between 4 and 8 credit points; exceptions can be made if they can be justified. With regard to the decision of the KMK Overall structural requirements for the introduction of credit point systems and the modularization of study programs of , ASIIN requires for each module proof which knowledge and methodological skills are being attained by the student and why the selected teaching method can efficiently ensure this increase in skills. The university department making the application must describe the contents and 15

16 time-frame of the modules in the form of a so-called module handbook on the basis of the following scheme (see also the document in the Appendix, section 9.4). a) Designation of the module and any associated teaching as well as the persons responsible for the module and the teaching (see the Appendix) b) Definition of the learning goals (knowledge and skills that the students should be able to exhibit on successfully completing the module and actions that they should be in a position to carry out). The learning and qualification goals are to be oriented towards an overall qualification that is to be defined. c) Teaching contents with a listing of the primary recommended literature and the aims of the modules. What technical, methodological, practical and interdisciplinary contents are to be conveyed so that these learning goals are attained? d) Form of the knowledge transfer, (e.g. lecture, tutorial, seminar, independent study, homework, project work, etc.) In principle, various forms of teaching should contribute towards reaching the target qualification. e) Conditions for participation (e.g. by stipulating background reading material, knowledge, skills or prior modules). What knowledge, skills and abilities are required for successful participation, what modules must have successfully been completed already? f) Purpose within the university degree course system (i.e. where does the module fit within its designated subject and how does it fit together with the modules in other subjects) g) Criteria for proof of academic achievement for the module (e.g. oral or written examination, test, interview, presentation) h) Scope of the module and how often it is available (e.g. every semester, every year, only on demand) i) Amount of work required: The total amount of work required and the number of credit points to be gained must be stated for each module. Credit points as certification of a study work load and grades as proof of academic achievement are to be listed separately Introduction of a credit point system The existence of a credit point system is an absolute necessity for successful accreditation. Credit points are a way to measure the average amount of work that is expected from students, which assumes a work load of 30 hours for the student in order to gain a credit point on the basis of the decision of the KMK of According to the KMK, the total work load to be expected may not exceed 900 hours per semester and 1800 hours per academic year, including studies in the recess period. This gives a figure of 30 credit points per semester. The working time is made up of both compulsory attendance and self-study time. Compulsory attendance means being present at a lecture, an exercise, a seminar or a practical. Projects and examination work also require to a certain extent compulsory attendance. Self-study includes preparation time, time to solve the problems set and for assessment afterwards, learning the material and exercising various skills. Depending on the type of module, compulsory attendance and self-study time have a varying relationship to one another. Teaching sessions lasting for 45 minutes are counted as a full hour, since it can be assumed that a time of around 60 minutes is required by the students due to the timetable for the teaching in question, changing the room, and asking the lecturers 16

17 questions. 8 A credit point system must be institutionalized on the basis of the modularization that fulfils the following characteristics that are embedded within the examination and study regulations: a) The credit point system must be an accumulation system. This means that credit points must be defined and given for all modules and that intermediate and final examinations are substantially replaced by accumulating the credit points stipulated in the examination and study regulations. It is permissible to have individual additional examinations on the materials in several modules. b) The credit point system must also be a transfer system to simplify a transfer to other universities inside and outside Germany. For that reason the calculation of the credits per module must be done on the basis of simple and transparent rules as per the ECTS. This also ensures that the work load for the students remains within acceptable limits. c) The examination required to gain credit points must be done as part of the studies and checked as a test of performance in accordance with the criteria set out in the examination regulations. This also means that the examination must take place close in time to the attendance of the respective module. d) Grades for credit points can be composed of the results of intermediate examinations and an examination that concludes the module. The weighting is to be made known before beginning the module. e) In the event of failure to meet the criteria for awarding the credit points in question regulations concerning repeating examinations (number of attempts, time allowed) must be laid out in the examination regulations. f) It is necessary to stipulate when a student must register for proof of academic achievement of credit points and until when a registration is possible. g) It is necessary to stipulate by when the results of all the proof of academic achievement for a module must be made known. This deadline must be such that sufficient time is given for preparation for retaking the examination. h) Practicals supervised by the university are an integral part of the BA/MA degree course (as opposed to pre-degree practicals) and therefore have to be taken into account in the credit point system. In this context however, preconditions for the awarding of credit points such as tutoring by a university teacher, precise integration into the curriculum, and proof of the individual capabilities of the student in a manner that can be tested are to be considered. i) The Bachelor or Master s degree course must be completed by a final thesis for which credit points are awarded in accordance with the time period stipulated (see above). 8 Working on the basis of 24 credit hours per semester for sake of argument, a teaching session for 4 credit hours is given 5 credit points (4 credit hours * 30 credit points/24 credit hours = 5 credit points). However, this simple calculation can only be used for an initial orientation, because there are specific considerations regarding the work load to be expected for each individual taught course. 17

18 Additional curricular requirements for Bachelor s and Master s study programs The following points must be complied with for a successful accreditation: Mandatory teaching sessions and examinations must be offered in a rhythm that is close to the timing for the admission of students so as to prevent the time required for the study from being unduly prolonged. Mandatory lectures must be supplemented by a reasonable number of exercises, seminars, laboratory sessions, projects, etc. There must a sufficient number of opportunities for exercises in small groups and also for contacts vis a vis a practical environment. The work load from mandatory and optional compulsory teaching sessions must be set such that the students concerned have sufficient time available for additional studies at their own initiative. Adjustment and link programs for foreign students and for students from other study programs must be offered when necessary. Foreign-language teaching must be offered A sufficient choice of subjects must be offered for every optional compulsory field of study Special forms of study: Dual study options, internationally-oriented study programs, project-based study programs, distance and online study programs Dual study options In the case of accreditation of dual study programs, the relative weighting of theoretical education and practicals is of crucial importance for an ASIIN accreditation. If the amount of theoretical education is reduced excessively to below the critical limit of six semesters, international recognition of the Bachelor s degree in question is placed at risk and the distinction between training as an engineer and as a technician is blurred. For that reason many of our foreign cooperation partners do not count these practicals towards the credit points. ASIIN takes a differentiated position and makes the crediting of practicals dependent on the quality of the (university) tutoring and the meaningful integration of the practicals into the curriculum Internationally-oriented study programs In the case of internationally-oriented study programs, in which a high percentage of foreign students is enrolled and in which English is used frequently, ASIIN devotes special attention within the accreditation process to intensive tutoring of the students and to the quality of the linguistic knowledge, and looks in particular for strict admission requirements and a technical homogeneity of the student clientele in terms of the subject Project-based study programs The corresponding arrangements of the ECTS system that have been suitably adapted are applied for the accreditation of study programs that are primarily based on the method of problem-based learning and on projects. 18

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