Information on the Bologna Process (an Overview)

The Bologna Process is the instrument for realising a European Higher Education Area. Seen from an Austrian perspective this process promotes the Europeanization and Internationalization of the tertiary education sector and strengthens its competitiveness. The striving of the Austrian higher education system towards internationalization has been given new impetus in the present implementation phase (Source: BM.Wfa).

With the signing of the Bologna Declaration by the government representatives of 29 European countries in May 1999 the fundamental reform process was launched.




 General Information

 Reasons for the Study Reform
 
Idea of a Single Higher Education Area
 
Stations or Core Areas resp. of the Study Reform (Brief Chronology)
 
Main Objectives of the Study Reform
 PhD-Study Programmes

 Progress of the Implementation of the Bologna Declaration at the University of Innsbruck

 Study Programme Structure  
 
Diploma Supplement
 
European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)
 
Mobility


General Information

Reasons for the Study Reform

In the education area increasing tensions between the national systems and the advancing Europeanization or internationalization resp. were observed. These tensions caused problems (on the national level) for opening up the European / international job market.

(Example: Degrees are awarded/accredited/recognised on a “national” level, but increasingly used for the European / international job market.)

Experiences with big mobility programmes revealed serious problems for the recognition of study programmes or achievements resp.

Too long study times and high drop-out rates were increasingly constraining the further development of the higher education area.

The national study programmes’ difficult legibility, comparability and visibility resp. made European higher education institutions less attractive for students from outside of Europe.


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Idea of a Single Higher Education Area

Already in the run-up to the study reform the idea of a single higher education area emerged. This was expressed with the “Lisbon Convention” or better in the agreement on the recognition of qualifications in the higher education area in the European Union.


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Stations or Core Areas resp. of the Study Reform (Brief Chronology)

Within the scope of the Bologna Process regular minister meetings have taken place since 1999. Within the scope of these meetings it is officially determined which core areas on the way to a single higher education area are dealt with in the (two) upcoming years. At the same time the ministers are responsible for the implementation of the different concepts on the national levels.

The ministers are supported by a task group on a European level, the Bologna Follow-Up Group (BFUG) and national committees, the national Bologna groups.

1999 Bologna

  • Introduction of a system of more comparable and coherent degrees
  • Creation of a two-cycle system of study
  • Introduction of a credit system for the assessment of study performance
  • Promoting a maximum degree of mobility
  • Encouraging cooperation in quality assurance
  • Promoting of the European dimension in the higher education area

  Bologna-Kommuniqué

2001 Prague

  • Stocktaking and decision on further actions for implementing the partial goals of the Bologna Declaration
  • Accreditation and quality assurance
  • Questions of recognition (ECTS)
  • Development of joint degrees
  • Social dimension (factors limiting mobility)
  • Lifelong learning
  • Involvement of students

 Prag-Kommuniqué

2003 Berlin

  • Stocktaking
  • Quality assurance
  • Two-cycle study system
  • Recognition of degrees and study parts (automatic and free Diploma Supplement in a widely-used European language”)
  • PhD education as third cycle of the study system
  • Structural expansion  

 Berlin-Kommuniqué

2005 Bergen

  • Stocktaking and benchmarking
  • Structure of the studies
  • Quality assurance
  • Recognition of degrees
  • National qualification framework
  • Awarding and recognizing of joint degrees
  • Creation of flexible learning offers in the higher education area incl. processes for recognising earlier acquired knowledge

 Bergen-Kommuniqué

2007 London

  • Stocktaking
  • Recognition (improvement potential)
  • Qualification framework (efforts must be made)
  • Lifelong learning (systematic development is missing)
  • Mobility
  • Social dimension
  • Data collection
  • Employability
  • Use of synergetic effects between the European higher education area and the European research area

 London-Kommuniqué

2009 Leuven

  • Stocktaking - consolidation
  • Social dimension
  • Lifelong learning
  • Employability
  • Focus on students
  • Relationship of teaching and research
  • Mobility
  • Data collection, transparency
  • Financing

 Leuven-Kommuniqué

2010 Wien - Budapest / Ten Years Bologna Process

The conference took place on the occasion of the finalisation of the first phase of the creation of a European Higher Education Area. The conference focused on criticism (from students) and the discussion of an assessment of the Bologna Process made by an independent research group.

Furthermore the direction of the Bologna-Follow-Up for the coming years that was determined at the minister conference in Leuven was adjusted.

 Wien/Budapest-Kommunqué


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Main Objectives of the Study Reform

The implementation of the following main objectives should make the creation of a single European Higher Education Area possible.

  • Creation of a system of more coherent and comparable degrees
  • Introduction of a study system that is primarily based on two main cycles
  • Introduction of ECTS-credits and modules
  • Promoting of mobility
  • Promoting of cooperation in quality assurance
  • Promoting of the European dimension in the higher education area
  • Expansion of lifelong learning (LLL)
  • Involvement of the higher education institutions and the students
  • International competitiveness and attractiveness
  • PhD-study programmes as third cycle of the study reform

The integration of the social dimension should be understood as overall and implicit measures resp.



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PhD-Study Programmes

(Bologna-aim: PhD-study programmes as third cycle of the study reform)

PhD-study programmes at the University of Innsbruck


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Progress of the Implementation of the Bologna Declaration at the University of Innsbruck

The restructuring of the study programmes with a simultaneously continuously rising number of students is an enormous organisational challenge for the University of Innsbruck. Moreover the University of Innsbruck (like other universities) is forced to implement this study reform against the background of inadequate resources. All involved must be aware that thus the results can not always be perfect.


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Study Programme Structure

(Bologna-objectives: creation of a system of more coherent and comparable degrees, transparency, introduction of a study system based primarily on two main cycles)

The switchover to the Bologna architecture has been largely finalised at the University of Innsbruck.

 Information on the course or the chronology of the decreeing and changing of curricula at the University of Innsbruck. resp.


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Diploma Supplement

(Bologna-objective: comparability, transparency)

The template for the Diploma Supplement was jointly developed by the European Commission, the Council of Europe and UNESCO/CEPES. The Diploma Supplement aims at providing sufficient data for facilitating international transparency and improving adequate academic and professional recognition of qualifications. The Diploma Supplement contains information on the qualification, its level and function, the contents and degree gained by the person specified in the original document who has successfully completed their studies. The original document must be added to the Diploma Supplement.

With the receipt of the Diploma Supplement Labels (period of validity 2011 - 2014) the University of Innsbruck has taken a further step towards “transparency and comparability”. Within the scope of the efforts for getting the label structural problems were identified and solution strategies initiated.

Diploma Supplement at the University of Innsbruck


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European Credit Transfer and Accumulation System (ECTS)

(Bologna-objectives: introduction of ECTS-credits, modularisation, international competitiveness and attractiveness)

The ECTS-guidelines offer orientation help for implementing the European System for transfer and accumulation of study achievements.

 Information on Recognition and allocation of ECTS-Credits

Specifications Part of the Statutes of "Study-Law Regulations " (Excerpts)

„(…) The degree programmes and continuing education courses created in accordance with UA § 54 is be divided into modules (…). Modules are thematic units that consist of 2.5 or preferably 5 ECTS-Credits or a multiple thereof (…). A module typically covers a semester; in certain cases it may cover several semesters.

(…)

(…) Module name, length, content and a short description of the learning objectives are to be specified in the curricula.

(…) Modules are to consist of several courses. In justifiable cases, a module may consist of only one course.

(…) Title, type and length of courses are to be specified in curricula, with ECTS-Credits allocated in increments of 1, in justifiable cases in increments of 0.5 (…).“

statute section on "study-law regulations"

Recommendations of the National Bologna Follow Up Group (Excerpts)

„(…) The European average for modules or their size resp. is approx. 6 or 5 ECTS-credits, this means per semester 5 x 6 = 30 ECTS-credits (…)“

Recommendations of the National Bologna Follow Up Group


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Mobility

(Bologna-objectives: encouraging mobility, promoting the European dimension in the higher education area)

One of the many objectives of the Bologna Process is the promoting of mobility. The credit system in combination with suitable description of (modular) learning outcomes is a suitable means for promoting student mobility.

In case of an agreed mobility of a student the three concerned parties – the home institution, the guest institution and the student – should sign a mobility agreement before the start of the exchange period (details on the information pages of the International Relation Office). In these cases the ECTS-credits are automatically recognised by the home institution if the conditions determined in the agreement are met.

The recognition of ECTS-credits within the scope of joint studies or study programmes is specified in the respective curricula. For joint studies or study programmes an agreement is obsolete, since with adhering to the rules of these studies and the fulfilment of the respective conditions, the ECTS-credits achieved at the partner institution are automatically recognised.


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