National Report Germany

Realizing the goals of the Bologna Declaration in Germany

Present situation and follow-up until the conference in Berlin 2003

(Joint report by KMK, HRK and BMBF)

 as of 25 April 2002

I.     Present situation

In the Sorbonne Declaration signed on 25 May 1998, the ministers responsible for higher education in France, Germany, the United Kingdom and Italy committed themselves to encouraging a common frame of reference for higher education in order to improve external recognition of degrees and facilitate student mobility. The joint declaration on "The European Higher Education Area" adopted by 29 European education ministers in Bologna on 19 June 1999[1] lists the objectives which the European education ministers consider to be of primary relevance in order to establish the European area of higher education and to promote the European system of higher education worldwide. On 18 and 19 May 2001 the first Bologna follow-up conference was held in Prague. The ministers participating noted that the goals laid down in the Bologna Declaration had been widely accepted and used as a base for the development of higher education by most signatories as well as by unversities and other higher education institutions. The Prague Communique[2] reaffirmed the goals of the Bologna Declaration and emphasized the importance of mobility, quality assurance and accreditation as well as the significance of the European dimension in education, of lifelong learning and involvement of universities and students in the creation of the European Higher Education Area. In addition to the 30 signatory states of the Bologna Declaration (Liechtenstein was retroactively declared signatory state), another three states – Croatia, Cyprus and Turkey – were accepted as new members of the Bologna process in Prague. The conference in Prague has also led to a reorganization of the groups and the procedure of preparing ministerial meetings of the Bologna process. The Bologna Follow-up Group is now composed of representatives of all signatories. It is chaired by the EU Presidency at the time. The European Commission is now a full member of the Group. This is to ensure better interlinkage with education activities in EU bodies. The Preparatory Group is composed of representatives of the countries hosting the previous ministerial meetings and the next ministerial meeting, the EU Presidency at the time as well as another two EU member states (the preceding and the following EU Presidency) and two non-EU member states (Poland and Hungary). The European Commission participates in Group meetings as a full member; in addition, there are four observers (EUA, ESIB, EURASHE and Council of Europe). Until the next ministerial meeting, which is scheduled to take place in Berlin on 18 and 19 September 2003, the Preparatory Group is chaired by Germany. The Federal Government and the Länder have agreed to co-chair the Group.[3]

 In preparation for the Bologna follow-up conference in Prague, the signatory states prepared reports about the measures taken by the individual countries to implement the Bologna process[4]. It has been planned to update these country reports in preparation for the Berlin conference in 2003.

In many signatory states, a large number of conferences, seminars and other events have been organized dealing with the Bologna Declaration. Special mention should be made of the following two: the European University Convention in March 2001, where about 5000 institutions of higher education discussed the process and formulated the hopes they placed in the Prague conference[5], and the conference of European students in Gothenburg in March, which commented the process from its point of view[6].

The Council of Europe has joined the Bologna process as observer and is organizing among other things a seminar from 11 to 12 April 2002 entitled "From Lisbon to the European Higher Education Area - Recognition Issues in the Bologna-Process". Also on the global level, governments and universities are increasingly becoming aware of the Bologna process. The contacts between European universities and university associations in Latin America and the Asian/Pacific region in connection with the Bologna process[7], which are maintained mainly by the European University Association founded in Salamanca in March 2001, have been continued.

The situation in Germany is as follows:

The objectives of the Bologna Declaration correspond to the goals which the Federal Government and the Länder developed in recent years for modernizing higher education in Germany and enhancing the country's international attractiveness. For detailed information please refer to the report and joint declaration of the Federal Government and the Länder concerning enhancement of Germany's international competitiveness in the field of higher education of 16 December 1999[8] and to the follow-up report of 6 December 2001[9].

German higher education institutions too welcomed the reform objectives in a joint declaration[10]. In addition, with support from the BMBF, the HRK organized a conference in Berlin on 5 and 6 October 2000 which was entitled "From Bologna to Prague" and where the reform process in Germany was presented to and discussed with the European conference participants[11].

As regards the individual aspects of the Bologna Declaration, the situation is as follows:

 1.    Adoption of a system of easily readable and comparable degrees, also through the implementation of the Diploma Supplement

Bologna Declaration:      Adoption of a system of easily readable and comparable degrees, also through the implementation of the Diploma Supplement, in order to promote European citizens' employability and the international competitiveness of the European higher education system.

In their joint report concerning enhancement of Germany's international competitiveness in the field of higher education, the Federal Government and the Länder pointed out that the introduction of the new graduation system with Bachelor's and Master's degrees (see para 2 below) must be accompanied by measures which promote acceptance of these degrees by industry and society and open up to graduates new opportunities on the labour market. In Germany, the new graduation system supplements the traditional system of Diplom, Magister and Staatsexamen degrees. Against this background, the development of a Europewide standard Diploma Supplement including detailed information about the qualification obtained is of great importance. On the basis of the report of a joint working group of the European Commission, the Council of Europe and UNESCO/CEPES, the German Rectors' Conference HRK developed a "Diploma Supplement Deutschland" together with the Länder. The files are available to all institutions of higher education via the Internet[12] and have meanwhile been called up by almost all institutions. The European version of the Diploma Supplement is now also available[13].

In addition the Länder and the universities in Germany make joint efforts to develop the traditional Diplom, Magister and Staatsexamen courses further so that they fit in more easily with international structures[14].

2.    Adoption of a system essentially based on two main cycles

Bologna Declaration:      Adoption of a system essentially based on two main cycles, undergraduate and graduate. Access to the second cycle shall require successful completion of first cycle studies, lasting a minimum of three years. The degree awarded after the first cycle shall also be relevant to the European labour market as an appropriate level of qualification. The second cycle should lead to the master and/or doctorate degree as in many European countries.

As a result of the amendment of the Framework Act for Higher Education of 20 August 1998[15], a new, two-tier degree structure was introduced to supplement the traditional "one-tier" graduation system in Germany. Relevant provisions have been included in all higher education acts of the Länder. This corresponds to the objective of the Bologna Declaration that a system based on two main cycles, namely undergraduate and graduate studies, should be adopted. With its decision of 5 March 1999, last amended on 14 December 2001[16], the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs KMK has further specified the structure of the new graduation system. Like the employers in their so-called Cologne Declaration[17], the KMK emphasized in this decision that qualification for a profession is an indispensable element of the first, basic degree. The Framework Act for Higher Education (HRG) stipulates in accordance with the Bologna Declaration that the standard period of undergraduate study shall be between three and four years.

In the 2002 summer semester, 544 Bachelor courses and 367 Master courses will be offered by higher education institutions in Germany[18]. According to official statistics, a total of 18,945 students were enrolled on the new study courses in the 2000/2001 winter semester, 12,409 of them in Bachelor courses and 6,536 in Master courses. This is still a rather modest number but we have to bear in mind that many new course offerings have not yet been fully developed. 11,734 students of the total of 18,945 were in their first semester in the course on which they were enrolled.

It is to be expected that the dynamic development in the area of Bachelor and Master courses will continue and that the number of students in these study programmes will markedly increase in the coming years, particularly since some universities are currently preparing or planning for the near future the large-scale introduction of such a two-tier degree structure on the basis of the experience they have gained. Some Länder are also testing or preparing the introduction of the Bachelor/Master structure in study courses concluded with a state examination (e.g. teacher training courses).

The international orientation of the introduction of the new graduation system was supported by specific programmes, some of which are listed in the following:

-            Pilot programme "Internationally oriented study courses"[19]

-            "Master-Plus" programme, which contributes to facilitating entry into the German higher education system for foreign students who have earned a first degree

-            Programme "Binational integrated double-degree study programmes".

Under these three funding programmes, support is currently provided for about 100 internationally oriented study courses in Germany. In addition, there are special opportunities for funding within the framework of the higher education and science programme HWP[20].

In January 2000, the Science Council[21] issued a recommendation concerning the introduction of a new study and degree structure (Bachelor/Master) in Germany. The new degrees are also given much attention in the recent recommendations of the Science Council concerning the development of universities of applied sciences (Fachhochschulen) of 18 January 2002. The Science Council recommends that the new graduation system should be introduced at Fachhochschulen in a consistent approach.

With its decision of 3 December 1998[22], referring to the relevant decisions by the University Rectors' Conference HRK of 6 July 1998[23], the Conference of Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs KMK introduced an accreditation procedure for Bachelor/Bakkalaureus and Master/Magister courses (see para 5 below).

With a view to securing sufficient acceptance for the new Bachelor/Bakkalaureus and Master/Magister degrees on the labour market, the KMK defined its position regarding assignment of the degrees to certain civil service careers[24]; this position is currently being negotiated with the Conference of Länder Ministers of the Interior, which is responsible for civil service law. The KMK and the HRK[25] have advocated that all degrees awarded by German higher education institutions should offer equally good application and employment prospects. The KMK adopted a decision on 14 April 2002 concerning the academic classification of the new degrees[26].

The introduction of the new graduation system has been supported by numerous conferences, symposiums and other information events. In autumn 2001, the HRK offered to organize workshops on the Bologna process for the Länder rectors' conferences. The first such events took place at the beginning of 2002.

3.    Credit system and modularization

Bologna Declaration:      Establishment of a system of credits – such as in the ECTS system – as a proper means of promoting the most widespread student mobility. Credits could also be acquired in non-higher education contexts, including lifelong learning, provided they are recognized by the receiving universities concerned.

With German institutions of higher education participating in the large-scale pilot scheme of the European Union to develop a European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) within the framework of the Community's mobility programme SOCRATES/ERASMUS, Germany has contributed substantially to the establishment of a European system of credits which is applied all over Europe. The higher education acts of the Länder are to provide for credit systems and the modularization of study courses (cf. para 3 of Section 15 HRG). Pursuant to the structural decision of the KMK of 5 March 1999, last amended on 14 December 2001, institutions wishing to establish a new Bachelor/Bakkalaureus or Master/Magister course have to prove that the course is modularized and includes a credit system. The decision of the KMK concerning modularization and crediting must also be observed in the accreditation procedure.

Already in its first follow-up report concerning improvement of Germany's attractiveness as a place of study of 18 December 1997, the KMK advocated that the European Credit Transfer System should serve as a model for the credit system to be introduced in Germany. It is planned to develop the transfer system into a system for the accumulation of examination credits.

Mention should also be made of the modularization pilot scheme which was launched by the Federal Government and the Länder in 1998 and which is expected to contribute to specification of the structural and curricular prerequisites of modularization. On 30 October 2000, the BLK approved an interim report on the BLK's modularization pilot scheme submitted by its educational planning committee (BLK-Drucksache K 00.48)[27]. The final report is being prepared.

In September 2000, the KMK adopted general criteria for the introduction of credit systems and modularization[28]. This provides a common basis for the modularization and credit concepts of the Länder in order to ensure a uniform development approach, which is necessary for guaranteeing student mobility between institutions and Länder. In its decision of 4 July 2000, the HRK approved further development of the ECTS at German institutions of higher edcuation. It should be emphasized in this connection that the KMK, together with the HRK, defined a system for converting German marks into ECTS credits; this is already taken into account by German institutions when formulating new examination regulations. Since 1 October 2001 the Federal Government and the Länder have been supporting the new pilot scheme "Development of a system of credits at institutions of higher education"[29]. The three-year collaborative programme is endowed with approx. €7.9 million in federal and Länder funds. The six collaborations include 13 Länder and 33 projects. The programme aims to ensure comparable standards for the allocation of credits to modules on the basis of student work load, to establish an edp-based system for examination administration and to incorporate the credit system in examination and study regulations. Scientific support is provided by an evaluation group composed of representatives of the Federal Government and the Länder as well as external experts from the HRK, the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD, the HIS-GmbH and the central evaluation and accreditation ageny ZEvA in Hanover.

A survey conducted by the DAAD in December 2000 revealed that, in the academic year 2000/2001, a total of 185 German institutions of higher education, including 93 Fachhochschulen, were introducing or applying an ECTS in some 1,340 areas[30] - not only to Bachelor/Bakkalaureus and Master/Magister courses but also to traditional study courses.

4.    Promotion of mobility by overcoming obstacles to the effective exercise of free movement

Bologna Declaration:  Promotion of mobility by overcoming obstacles to the effective exercise of free movement with particular attention to

-       for students: access to study and training opportunities and to related services

-       for teachers, researchers and administrative staff: recognition and valorization of periods spent in a European context researching, teaching and training, without prejudicing their statutory rights.

With a view to strengthening the international dimension, legal conditions (including work permits) to be fulfilled by foreigners wishing to study and do research in Germany were improved in 1998 already (revision of the provisions under Sections 28 and 29 of the Aliens Act). Improvement of overall conditions is also a major line of action of the "Joint Initiative for the Promotion of Study, Research and Training in Germany"[31]. On 22 June 2001, the Joint Initiative adopted a position paper, which outlines further measures to improve the working conditions for foreign researchers and general conditions for students and junior researchers. The issue of overcoming obstacles to mobility and promoting free movement is also addressed by the report of the Independent Commission on Migration to Germany established by the Federal Minister of the Interior in September 2001 and has been included in the Federal Government's immigration bill, which is now in the legislative process.

According to the KMK, action and/or definitions are still needed with regard to

-            income and work allowed during studies and

-            the residence and work permit provisions applicable to participants in preparatory and language courses, to participants in postgraduate studies, to doctoral candidates and participants in continuing education offered by universities, and with regard to

-            securing the current legal status of foreign researchers.

The many and diverse efforts made by the Federal Government, the Länder and the institutions of higher education have already resulted in substantial improvements for foreign students and researchers at numerous higher education institutions. For example, branches of residents registration offices and of other local offices have been established on the campuses or in the vicinity of the higher education institutions; these branch offices are responsible for dealing with all registration and other issues related to the status of foreign student or visiting lecturer. Furthermore mention should be made of the broad range of programmes offered to help integrate foreign students such as free courses of German as a foreign language at different levels, special student advisers in individual departments, tutoring programmes and service packages offered by the social welfare organizations (Studentenwerke) at German universities[32].

Pursuant to the decision of the KMK of May 2000[33], no tuition fees are charged in Germany for studies leading to a degree qualifying for a profession; this may even be a second degree earned in a two-cycle programme. This principle also applies to foreign students. Some Länder charge a fee if the standard period of study is considerably exceeded.

The Länder and the institutions of higher education are making great efforts to improve social and subject-related support for foreign students at German universities. The HRK published a guide for principals and heads of department[34], which emphasizes the institutions' role as host to foreign students and teachers. An increasing number of courses taught in English also contributes to facilitating the integration of foreign students in studies in Germany.

The decision of the 190th plenary assembly of the HRK (21/22 February 2000) to recognize the so-called "TestDaF" (Test Deutsch als Fremdsprache / Test of German as a Foreign Language)[35] as a possible means for applicants from abroad to demonstrate their German language proficiency provided a basis for introduction of the TestDaF. According to the KMK, the TestDaF (level III) is equal to the Deutsches Sprachdiplom der Kultusministerkonferenz (level II)[36]. The TestDaF offers foreign applicants for studies in Germany an opportunity to have their proficiency in German tested in their home countries. The first two worldwide TestDaF examination sessions were held in 2001. In Germany, several institutions of higher education are participating in the procedure as licensed test centres, administering the TestDaF in addition to the German language proficiency test DSH. The TestDaF Institute[37], in cooperation with the departments for German as a foreign language, will support the institutions in developing criteria which will enable them to benefit from the differentiated TestDaF approach in establishing foreign candidates' language proficiency and admitting them to higher education in Germany.

5.    Promotion of European cooperation in quality assurance

Bologna Delaration:    Promotion of European cooperation in quality assurance with a view to developing comparable criteria and methodologies.

An inter-institutional system of quality assurance is emerging in the Federal Republic of Germany, supplementing quality management by individual institutions. Transnational initiatives and collaborations of universities and evaluation centres have been established or will shortly start work to ensure transnational evaluation[38]. In connection with the introduction of the new graduation system, the KMK and the HRK established an accreditation system including a cross-Länder Accreditation Council for the establishment of the new Bachelor/Bakkalaureus and Master/Magister courses. The aim of accreditation is to ensure minimum standards with regard to study contents and to assess the professional relevance of the degrees awarded. Course accreditation with regard to study contents is to be based on the provisions of the Framework Act for Higher Education and on the structural objectives defined for these courses by the KMK. Up to now, only the Bachelor/Bakkalaureus and Master/Magister courses pursuant to Section 19 HRG have been included in the accreditation procedure.

The accreditation procedure is mainly implemented by different agencies (regional agencies and agencies focusing on specific fields). Accreditation refers to individual, peer-reviewed study courses. A central, cross-Länder Accreditation Council[39] accredits the agencies and in exceptional cases also study courses. On 30 November 1999 the Council adopted minimum standards and criteria[40] for accreditation. The Accreditation Council is composed of representatives of the institutions of higher education, of the Länder and of professional practice. Up to now, the Accreditation Council has accredited 7 agencies. The Accreditation Council and the agencies, some of which only started work in 2000, have so far accredited 81 study courses. A considerably larger number is still in the accreditation process. An updated list of accredited agencies and accredited courses is presented on the Internet by the Accreditation Council[41].

In autumn 2001, two years after they started work, the Accreditation Council and its Secretariat were evaluated by an international panel of experts. In their final report of October 2001, the experts concluded the following:

"With the establishment of a cross-Länder Accreditation Council and the implementation of the accreditation procedure in a variety of different agencies, Germany has found a suitable way of meeting the challenge of international competition. The experts consider accreditation to be part of a comprehensive system of quality assurance and an essential element in modernizing the higher education system. Particularly their European neighbours confirm the German Länder and universities in their resolve to continue on this road."

Following this evaluation, the Länder ministers decided in October 2001 that the two-stage accreditation procedure should be maintained in principle. In March 2002 the tasks, procedure and organization of accreditation were specified[42]. In future, the Länder will, in this procedure, also fulfil the joint tasks pursuant to Section 9 HRG (ensuring equivalence of degrees and the possibility of transfer to another institution of higher education).

The Science Council can be entrusted with the accreditation of new private institutions offering higher education programmes[43] and will implement relevant procedures[44]. Furthermore the Science Council prepares recommendations on quality management at higher education institutions. The "Quality of Teaching" project financed with BMBF funds and carried out by the HRK promotes information and exchange of experience between the Länder in the field of quality assurance[45]. The Federal Government, the Länder and the HRK see to it that the cross-institutional quality assurance system that is being established in Germany is part of the European Network for Quality Assurance[46] from the outset. The major quality assurance agencies are members of the European network. In agreement with the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the HRK, the KMK[47] advocates major participation by Germany in the emerging European Network for Quality Assurance and has defined the conditions for German participation. Germany seeks to actively cooperate in the steering group of the European Network during the second term of office.

6.    Promotion of the necessary European dimensions in higher education

Bologna Declaration:  Promotion of the necessary European dimensions in higher education, particularly with regard to curricular development, inter-institutional cooperation, mobility schemes and integrated programmes of study, training and research.

The European dimension with regard to curriculum development, cooperation between institutions, mobility schemes and integrated programmes of study, training and research is taken into account by German universities in numerous ways.[48]

Cooperation between German and foreign institutions of higher education within the framework of contractually agreed partnerships is gaining increasing importance[49]. In addition to traditional forms of university cooperation, increasingly complex networks of cooperation between institutions in several countries are emerging; some of these networks are of a regional nature or have developed from a special scientific focus of the institutions participating. The following are a few examples:

-            large regional transborder collaborations (e.g. Saar-Lor-Lux-Trier/Westpfalz), the European Confederation of Upper Rhine Universities EUCOR (Freiburg i. Br., Basel, Strasbourg, Karlsruhe, Mulhouse), collaborations which are consistently expanded and intensified;

-            the Unitec International Project of the RWTH Aachen, which offers particularly qualified engineering students an opportunity to spend study periods at partner institutions in Switzerland, in Spain, in the Netherlands, in Italy or in England;

-      projects supported within the framework of transnational cooperation between higher education institutions in the Netherlands and in Lower Saxony, e.g.

Fachhochschule Osnabrück/Saxion Hogeschool Enschede (SHE): Binational University Network Enschede/Osnabrück (ENOTIS) to promote the development of binational study courses leading to mutually recognized degrees, exchange of teachers and students and coordination of curricula. A similar collaboration is currently being planned by the universities of Twente and Osnabrück (TWENTOS);

-            establishment of a central scientific "International School of Advanced Technology (ISAT)" at Kaiserslautern University, which supports and advises the University's departments and other facilities with regard to the promotion of young scientists as well as international, particularly European, cooperation;

-            cooperation of the economics and social sciences departments of Cologne University in the large international networks PIM and CENS, which combine research, teaching and support in a joint programme of international partner universities;

-            cooperation of universities of the Baltic region e.g. in the "Nordische Bauakademie e. V." or in the Association of Baltic Academies of Music;

-            participation of the transport science department of Dresden Technical University in the development of a "Transport and Logistics" module together with five European universities;

-            a consortium for cooperation in higher education and in vocational education linking the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar with institutions of higher education in the United States, in the Netherlands and in Italy;

-            the higher education cooperation centres in Bavaria (Franco-Bavarian University Cooperation Centre, Munich; Bavaria California Technology Center at Erlangen-Nürnberg University; Bavarian American Center) and

-            cooperation of the "Palucca Schule Dresden (Hochschule für Tanz)" with colleges of dance in other countries within the framework of the annual international dance summer schools.

Mention should also be made of complex university cooperation projects such as the Coimbra Group, the Santander Group or the Compostela Group, which include all areas of activity of the universities and which have been the source of particularly close scientific relations.

The endeavours of individual universities are supported by specific programmes of the Federal Government and the Länder, one of them being the international study and training partnerships programme (ISAP).

The Franco-German University (DFH/UFA), established on the basis of the Franco-German intergovernmental agreement of 19 September 1997, opened its doors on 5 May 2000. The DFH/UFA is a collaboration between German and French institutions of higher education. German and French partner institutions cooperate in the creation of binational study courses and doctoral programmes as well as postgraduate studies and research projects.

A special contribution to promoting the European dimension in young researcher training is made by the establishment of European postgraduate research groups at the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft DFG[50]. Increasing efforts are to be made within the framework of European mobility programmes to attract highly qualified foreign researchers[51].

II.    Follow-up until the conference in Berlin 2003

- From Prague to Berlin -

The Sorbonne Declaration of 25 May 1998 initiated a development whose thematic focus was outlined in the Bologna Declaration, signed by 29 European states on 19 June 1999, and which is today known as the Bologna process. The conference in Prague on 18 and 19 May 2001 expanded the number of participants, specified the goals and developed working structures which enable further progress to be made with the process. The aim is to establish a European Higher Education Area. The Berlin Conference will be a milestone on this way.[52].

The Bologna process is characterized by open working structures which enable a great variety of ideas and people to be included in the process. Only if we succeed in keeping this process open and avoiding firmly established forms of organization with restrictive rules and regulations can the Bologna process be effective. The European Higher Education Area will develop from a common basic understanding of training structures in Europe. It is based on the common views of participants, on mutual trust and on tolerance towards the diversity which is characteristic of Europe rather than on laws, regulations and procedures.

The Bologna process transcends the complex systems and rules of national or supranational higher education policies. Its importance depends solely on the success of our efforts to promote the European dimension and make European integration a reality in higher education. "Europe brought to life" is therefore the central theme of the Berlin Conference.

1.    A European Higher Education Area means:

Meetings of students and researchers from different cultures and systems

-   Follow-up and intensification of the seminars -

The periodical ministers' conferences are landmarks in what is rightly called the Bologna process. Meetings and exchanges of ideas between students and researchers as well as people in Europe bearing responsibility for teaching, studies and research at higher education institutions are the actual purpose of this process. This exchange of ideas and concepts which was started in Bologna and intensified after the Prague conference must not be broken off. It must include all participating states on an equal footing and deal with all topics relevant to higher education. According to the maxim "Looking for solutions together, learning from each other", all suitable organizational forms such as conferences, colloquiums and seminars should be used in order to promote exchanges of ideas and further improve mutual understanding.

2.    A European Higher Education Area means:

A common basic structure of higher education

-   Completing the "Bologna concept" by agreement on basic structures for doctoral studies -

The core of the Bologna Declaration and therefore the main feature of the European Higher Education Area is a system of two cycles, namely undergraduate studies leading to a first degree, followed by graduate studies leading to a Master's degree. In addition to educating students in a first and a second cycle of studies, an important task of higher education institutions in Europe is to provide training for young researchers. This is of major importance for the future development of universities and their performance in teaching and research. Mobility and international cooperation especially during this phase are crucial for integrating higher education in Europe. The phase of doctoral studies should therefore be included in the Bologna process as a third feature of the European Higher Education Area.

The doctoral phase follows the Master's examination or an equivalent qualification. It covers a period of usually three years. The institutions of higher education are responsible for the provision of training for doctoral candidates. Doctoral students must be integrated in their institution's teaching and research activities but they must also be given enough time for their own scientific work. They enjoy a special legal status at the institution where they study for their doctorate.

3.    A European Higher Education Area means:

Mobility across national borders

-   European Master's and doctor's degree -

The two-tier degree structure developed in the Bologna process provides the basis for designing studies in Europe in a way which encourages transborder mobility during studies. The first degree qualifying for a profession, that is the Bachelor's degree earned after three or four years, must become the pivot of European mobility for graduates when entering the world of work or continuing studies. In Europe it should become common practice to complete Bachelor and Master courses in different countries. Bachelor programmes must therefore be designed to prepare for continuation of studies in another European country. Learning foreign languages is a prerequisite. Extensive cooperation between the institutions of higher education in the two countries concerned can facilitate subsequent studies in the other country in many ways.

Studying in two European countries with different cultures makes greater demands on the students and generally ensures a higher level of qualification. Therefore it seems appropriate to adapt the names of degrees to show that additional qualifications were obtained. A Master's degree earned in a country other than that which awarded the graduate's Bachelor will be marked as a European Master's degree.

A European doctor's degree is earned if the degree has been awarded jointly by two university departments in different European countries. The cooperative approaches recently taken, e.g. the "cotutelle de thèse" of German and French institutions of higher education, lead the way. A special name should also be found for the European doctor's degree to show the European added value of this degree.

4.         A European Higher Education Area means:

A common "currency" also in the higher education sector

- Development of a "Bologna student document" (European course record booklet, Diploma Supplement, European student card) -

Just as European integration was boosted by the introduction of a single European currency, European integration in the higher education sector can be promoted by the introduction of a new European student document. Such a document would not only be of symbolic value but it would also facilitate the technical processes involved in transborder study activities, thereby promoting European mobility of students. Modern electronic means with their extensive possibilities for storing large amounts of data offer great potential which has hardly been exploited to date. Relevant preparatory work by the European Commission can serve as a basis for further action.

The "Bologna student document" will be a standard document providing information about:

-   the higher education institutions in Europe where the student has spent study periods

-   the area of study, the modules completed and the European credits earned

-       the practical placements during studies, possibly in several European countries

-       the examinations passed and the degrees awarded.

The "Bologna student document" is to be updated by each institution involved as the students concerned continue their studies. It explains the content of their studies, the level of their qualifications and the specific fields covered by the degrees awarded.

The "Bologna student document" will at the same time serve as a student card valid throughout Europe, entitling its holder to the social benefits provided for students.

5.           A European Higher Education Area means:

A quality mark "Trained in Europe"

- Development of European principles of good accreditation and evaluation -

The objectives of the Bologna process can be achieved only if comparable quality standards apply to higher education throughout Europe. Developing a reliable quality assurance system is therefore necessary for promoting mobility within Europe and for enhancing the attractiveness of European higher education institutions to non-Europeans. This does, of course, not mean harmonizing higher education in Europe and introducing standardized curricula for all universities in Europe. This would be incompatible with European traditions and would call into question the diversity, which is one of Europe's assets in the higher education sector. The goal is not to harmonize systems but to ensure equivalence.

The envisaged equivalence in European higher education does not require standardization of study content and examinations. The goal of quality assurance in Europe cannot be to define common subject-related standards for all study courses in Europe. We should rather aim to achieve sufficient structural and formal similarity between study courses in order to ensure equivalence of the degrees with regard to the level of qualification attained. It is therefore a matter of developing transparent and reliable procedures for the evaluation and accreditation of individual study courses.

The following is required for such procedures:

-   evaluation and accreditation institutions which are independent of universities, industrial entities and professional associations,

-       national and international expertise at the evaluation and accreditation institutions for evaluating the courses offered,

-       evaluation of the courses by independent scientists from Germany and other European countries (peer review),

-       clear presentation of the evaluation procedure and the results it produced.

Evaluation and accreditation should be organized in a decentralized approach, taking into account the requirements of each individual country. The necessary cohesion can be achieved via a European network within which the parties concerned agree on European principles of good accreditation and evaluation as a basis for transparent, reliable evaluation and accreditation procedures in Europe.

[1]    On the German side signed by Minister Ute Erdsiek-Rave (Schleswig-Holstein) for the KMK and by Parliamentary State Secretary Wolf-Michael Catenhusen for the BMBF. Published in the Bundesanzeiger Nr. 185, Jg. 52 of 29.09.2000, p. 19446, ISSN 0344-7634. Very useful summary on the homepage of the European University Association, Geneva:

[2]    Prague Communique "Towards the European Higher Education Area" of 19 May 2001 published in the Bundesanzeiger Nr. 132, Jg. 53 of 19.07.2001, p. 14861, ISSN 0344-7634.

[3]       An overview of the European process and of the development in Germany is given at

[4]  The country reports can be found on the homepage of the National Unions of Students in Europe (ESIB):



[7]    Turin Action Plan for Euro-Latin-American University Cooperation (Turin, Italy, 16 to17 Nov 2000); Florianopolis Declaration of AULA and CRE

[8]    "Stärkung der internationalen Wettbewerbsfähigkeit des Studienstandortes Deutschland" Bericht und Gemeinsame Erklärung für die Regierungschefs, BLK-Drucksache K 99.72 Drs, 05.11.1999

[9]       Kultusministerkonferenz, "Stärkung der internationalen Wettbewerbsfähigkeit des Studienstandortes Deutschland" 3. Folgebericht an die Regierungschefs von Bund und Ländern. Decision of 6 December 2001

[10]     "Deutschland im Europäischen Hochschulraum", Erklärung des 193. Plenums der HRK, February 2001, see

[11]     The full text of conference contributions can be found at


[13] htttp://

[14]     Seminar on Joint Degrees in European perspective, 30./31.05.2002, Stockholm
     Seminar on Master Degrees, February 2003, Helsinki

[15]     Amended Framework Act for Higher Education of 20 August 1998, BGBl. I p. 2190 Section 19

[16]     Kultusministerkonferenz, "Strukturvorgaben für die Einführung von Bachelor-/Bakkalaureus- und Master-/Magisterstudiengängen", decision of 5 March 1999 as amended on 14 December 2001. This decision and the other decisions of the KMK mentioned below can be found at

[17]     Bundesvereinigung Deutscher Arbeitgeberverbände, "Kölner-Erklärung zur Entwicklung der Bachelor- und Master-Studiengänge", October 1999


[19] DAAD, Annual Report 1999/2000 p. 30 et seqq and p. 40 et seqq

[20] Bund-Länder-Vereinbarung zur Förderung der Weiterentwicklung von Hochschule und Wissenschaft sowie zur Realisierung der Chancen für Frauen in Forschung und Lehre (Hochschul- und Wissenschaftsprogramm, HWP), BLK-Drucksache K 00.03 Drs of 12 January 2000

[21]     Wissenschaftsrat, Drs. 4418/00 of 21 January 2000, see

[22]     Kultusministerkonferenz, "Einführung eines Akkreditierungsverfahrens für Bachelor-/Bakkalaureus- und Master-/Magisterstudiengänge", decision of 3 December 1998

[23] Hochschulrektorenkonferenz, "Akkreditierungsverfahren", resolution of 6 July 1998

[24] Kultusministerkonferenz, "Laufbahnrechtliche Zuordnung von Bachelor-/Bakkalaureus- und Master-/Magisterabschlüssen gem. § 19 HRG", decision of 14 April 2000

[25]     Hochschulrektorenkonferenz, "Einordnung von Bachelor-/Bakkalaureus- und Master-/Magister-Abschlüssen im öffentlichen Dienst", position of the HRK-Präsidium, 21 February 2000

[26]     Kultusministerkonferenz, "Zugang zur Promotion für Master-/Magister und Bachelor-/Bakkalaureusabsolventen", decision of 14 April 2000


[28]     Kultusministerkonferenz, "Rahmenvorgaben für die Einführung von Leistungspunktsystemen und Modularisierung von Studiengängen", decision of 15 September 2000


[30]     See "Success Stories IV": Das ECTS in Deutschland, p. 18, DAAD 2001


[32] The site also provides information in English.

[33] Kultusministerkonferenz, "Beschluss über die Gebührenfreiheit des Studiums", 25 May 2000

[34] HRK, "Handreichung für Hochschul- und Fachbereichsleitungen zu Internationalisierungsstrategien", July 2000

[35] Cf. DAAD, "TestDaF. Einheitliche Deutschprüfung für ausländische Studienbewerber", progress report (January 2000)

[36] Kultusministerkonferenz, "Zugang von ausländischen Studienbewerbern mit ausländischen Bildungsnachweisen zum Studium an deutschen Hochschulen: Nachweis der Sprachkenntnisse", decision of 2 June 1995 as amended on 30 June 2000

[37]     In the association supporting the institute, the Gesellschaft für Akademische Testentwicklung e. V., the founding members – HRK, DAAD, Goethe Institut, Inter Nationes, FernUniversität Hagen, Ruhr-Universität Bochum, Universität Leipzig and Fachverband Deutsch als Fremdsprache – cooperate.

[38]     e.g. the "Joint quality initiative", www. The Science Council has welcomed this initiative. Cf. Wissenschaftsrat, "Empfehlungen zur Entwicklung der Fachhochschulen", January 2002, Drs. 5102/02, p. 106, footnote 226


[40] Akkreditierungsrat, "Akkreditierung von Akkreditierungsagenturen, Akkreditierung von Studiengängen mit den Abschlüssen Bachelor-/Bakkalaureus- und Master-/Magister - Mindeststandards und Kriterien“, 30 November 1999


[42] Kultusministerkonferenz, "Künftige Entwicklung der länder- und hochschulübergreifenden Qualitätssicherung in Deutschland", decision of 1 March 2002 (

[43]     Wissenschaftsrat, "Empfehlungen zur Akkreditierung privater Hochschulen"; 21.01.2002, Drs. 4419/00

[44]     Wissenschaftsrat, Stellungnahme zur vorläufigen Akkreditierung der International University Bremen, November 2001, Drs. 5068/01 and Drs. 5069/01 (see also

[45]     Hochschulrektorenkonferenz "Qualitätsbewertung und Qualitätsentwicklung in deutschen Hochschulen unter besonderer Berücksichtigung der Lehre", Dokumente und Informationen 1/2000, Bonn, June 2000 and "Wegweiser 2000 durch die Qualitätssicherung in Lehre und Studium", Dokumente und Informationen 2/2000, Bonn, July 2000 (

[46]   European Network for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (enqa): Action Plan, 28./29.03.2000 (

[47] Kultusministerkonferenz, "Qualitätssicherung/Evaluation der Lehre: die deutsche Position im europäischen Kontext", decision of 15 September 2000

[48]   For details about the cooperation of German institutions of higher education with the signatories of the Bologna Declaration see annex.


[50]     "Europäische Graduiertenkollegs. Ein Zeichen internationaler Kooperation auf dem Gebiet der Doktorandenförderung", DFG press release no 24 of 20 November 1997

[51]   BMBF, "Europäische Bildungszusammenarbeit. Beispiele SOKRATES- und LEONARDO DA VINCI-Projekte", May 1999

[52] All relevant information for the Berlin Conference can be found at


Ahrstraße 39 * D-53175 Bonn * Telefon (0228) 887-118 * Telefax (0228) 887-180 * Email: *


Collaborations between German universities and universities in the signatory states of the Bologna Declaration
 (as of 19 February 2002)






















Czech Republic


Slovak Republic
























United Kingdom































10,917    (70.8 %)

Total of collaborations

15,415   (100.0 %)