General Information

Some of the reasons why the Process now known as the Bologna Process was launched were the growing tensions between EU countries that were manifesting themselves in the education sector with the continuing Europeanisation and internationalization. These tensions were causing problems for the development of a European / international job market, with degrees being granted or accredited “nationally”, but being increasingly put to use on the European/ international job market. Additionally the experiences gathered with larger mobility programs showed problems with the recognition of course achievements. Long study periods and high drop-out rates pose further obstacles to the development of higher education. The low level of comparability of national studies reduces the attractiveness of European universities for non-European students and scientists.

The Idea of a European Higher Education Area

The idea of a common higher education area gained ground even before the academic reform was initiated. The idea was stated in the Lisbon Recognition Convention (officially Convention on the Recognition of Qualifications concerning Higher Education in the European Region).

Chronology of Developments

There have been regular ministerial meetings concerning the Bologna Process since 1999. It is at these meetings that the Ministers define focal points on the way towards creating a common higher education area within the following two years. At the same time the Ministers are responsible for implementing the various concepts on a national level. 

1999 Bologna

  • Introduction of a system of easily understandable and comparable degrees
  • Creation of a two tier study system
  • Introduction of a credit points system
  • Promotion of mobility
  • Promotion of cooperation in quality management
  • Promotion of a european dimension in the higher education sector
  • Bologna-Communiqué

2001 Prague

  • Stocktaking and and discussion of further procedures with reegard to the implementation of the Bologna goals
  • Accrediting and quality assurance
  • Issues concerning recognition(ECTS)
  • Development of common degrees
  • Social Dimension (Obstacles to mobility)
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Inclusion of students in the process
  • Prag-Communiqué

2003 Berlin

  • Stocktaking
  • Quality Management
  • Two-tier study programmes
  • Recognition of degrees and section of study programmes (Diploma Supplement is awarded automatically and free of charge in a “common European language“)
  • PhD training as third cycle
  • Structural expansion
  • Berlin-Communiqué

2005 Bergen

  • Academic structure
  • Quality Management
  • Recognition of Degrees
  • National qualification frameworks
  • Awarding and Recognition of common Degrees
  • Creation of flexible learning programmes in the higher education area including procedures for the recognition of prior learning outcomes
  • Bergen-Communiqué

2007 London

  • Stocktaking
  • Recognition of Degrees (potential for improvement)
  • Qualification framework (new efforts need to be taken)
  • Life Long Learning (systemic expansion missing)
  • Mobility
  • Social Dimension
  • Data ascertainment
  • Employability
  • Utilization of synergy effects between the European Higher Education and the European Research Area
  • London Communiqué

2009 Leuven

  • Stocktaking–Consolidation
  • Social Dimension
  • Lifelong Learning
  • Employability
  • Teaching-Research Relationship
  • Mobility
  • Data ascertainment
  • Financing
  • Leuven-Communiqué

2010 Vienna-Budapest/Ten Years Bologna-process

The conference took place after the conclusion of the first phase of the creation of a European Higher Education Area. The main themes at the conference were the students’ criticism concerning the implementation of the Bologna process and discussions related to the evaluation of the Bologna process.The new orientation of the Bologna-Follow-Up process was adapted for the following years at the 2009 ministerial conference in Leuven.

2012 Bukarest

  • Developing of the social dimension of higher education
  • Promote the student-centred learning in higher education
  • Quality assurance (ESG)
  • Developing of the qualifications frameworks
  • Widening access to higher education
  • Raising of the completion rates and enhancement of the employability
  • Meaningful implementation of learning outcomes

Bukarest Communiqué


2015 Yerevan

  • Automatic recognition of qualifications
  • Mutual trust in the national higher education systems
  • Universities as Engines for a society based on the principles of democratic values and human rights
  • Universities train to citizens of a European society for innovation and the labor market
  • Students are full-fledged members in the management of the autonomous universities



Goals of the Academic Reform

  • The implementation of the following goals is supposed to advance the creation of a common Higher Education Area.
  • Creation of a system of comprehensible and comparable degrees
  • Introduction of a academic system that is built on two cycles
  • Introduction of ECTS-credits
  • Promotion of Mobility
  • Promotion of cooperation in quality assurance
  • Promotion of the European dimension in the higher education sector
  • Development of Lifelong Learning (LLL)
  • Inclusion of universities and students
  • International competitiveness
  • Doctoral Programmes as third cycle of the academic reform

The integration of the social dimension is supposed to be understood as a comprehensive and implicit measure. 

Doctoral programmes

Bologna-Goal:Doctoral programmes as third cycle of the academic reform

Doctoral programmes at the University of Innsbruck

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