Joint degree programs - instruments for quality enhancement!

author: Frank Moe, Norwegian Centre for International Cooperation in Education (SIU)
published: Dec. 15, 2014,   recorded: November 2014,   views: 2068


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Joint degrees are regarded as the ultimate goal with regard to educational cooperation between institutions. And while there may be many arguments behind a decision to pursue a joint degree cooperation project from various stakeholders (rectorate, ministry, EU Commission etc), the main driver should always be: Quality enhancement!

Joint programs have been high on the agenda for about a decade. For European institutions, the major driver has without doubt been Erasmus Mundus (2004-2013 – now Erasmus+ Joint Master Degrees), which has supported more than 200 cooperation programs at master’s and PhD level, but similar activities are on the agenda also in other parts of the world. In the context of internationalisation of education, joint programs have been seen as a very important tool, and have been highlighted both in the Bologna Process and by the European Union.

International cooperation may take on many forms and include different levels of cooperation. Cooperation on study programs may contain different levels of “jointness”, where the most ambitious level is a Joint Degree Program. However, a joint degree is not the only path to happiness, and it is important that institutions try to determine the right level of cooperation in a given situation. Is it a new relationship or is it time to take the cooperation a step further? Are we ready and willing to give what it takes?

To achieve a successful international cooperation, it is of high importance that the level of ambition corresponds to reality with regard to background, available resources etc. Relations between institutions need to be built on trust and confidence, which take time to establish and build. Moreover, such relations should have a long term perspective and should therefore be built gradually, even if there are high ambitions for the cooperation. Below you will find an attempt to categorize international cooperation into various levels of commitment.

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Reviews and comments:

Comment1 K Wells, April 18, 2016 at 9:09 a.m.:

For what I love education system is various programs which provide tons of opportunities and of course experience. Recently after consulting with I decided to do my PhD abroad, somewhere in Africa I guess. In fact college provides students with various programs and students just should not let them go to waste.

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