Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-21, Analytic Quality Glossary, Quality Research International,

This is a dynamic glossary and the author would welcome any e-mail suggestions for additions or amendments. Page updated 22 September, 2021 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2021.


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Academic recognition

core definition

Academic recognition is a set of procedures and processes for the acknowledgement and acceptance (subject to conditions), between institutions and countries, of higher education qualifications.


In the United States a similar process is referred to as an 'Articulation Agreement', see for example, Northeast Texas Network Consortium (NTNC) (2002):

Articulation agreement: A written agreement listing courses at one college that are equivalent to courses at another college. These agreements facilitate the smooth transition of students through the secondary, community college and university educational systems.

explanatory context

There is a network of National Academic Recognition Information Centres (NARICs), created through the initiative of the European Commission in 1984. It covers all EU and European Economic Area Member States and all the associated countries in Central and Eastern Europe. These centres provide authoritative advice and information on the academic recognition of diplomas and periods of study undertaken abroad. (European Commission, 2008)

analytical review

AEC (2004) discuss academic recognition under the heading:

Diploma recognition: recognition of titles, degrees, qualifications and periods of study abroad is an important instrument to facilitate the mobility of students and of graduates in Europe. Distinction must be made between recognition for academic purposes (because a person wishes to continue his/her studies) and recognition for professional purposes (because a person wishes to work in a certain profession). A network of national information centres for the recognition of diplomas has been established (NARICs: www. int/comm/education/socrates/adnaric.html). These centres provide information on national academic recognition procedures.


The UNESCO definition (of 2007, which did not change in this revised and updated version from the 2004 original except for the dropping of some italics) is:

Academic Recognition: Approval of courses, qualifications, or diplomas from one (domestic or foreign) higher education institution by another for the purpose of student admission to further studies. Academic recognition can also be sought for an academic career at a second institution and in some cases for access to other employment activities on the labour market (academic recognition for professional purposes). As regards the European Higher Education Area, three main levels of recognition can be considered, as well as the instruments attached to them (as suggested by the Lisbon Convention and the Bologna Declaration): (i) recognition of qualifications, including prior learning and professional experience, allowing entry or re-entry into higher education; (ii) recognition of short study periods in relation to student mobility, having as the main instrument the ECTS (European Credit Transfer System); (iii) recognition of full degrees, having as the main instrument the Diploma Supplement. (Vlãsceanu et al. 2007, p. 83–84)

associated issues


related areas

See also

credit transfer


Association europeenne des conservatoires [Academies de musique et musikhochschulen] (AEC), 2004, Glossary of terms used in relation to the Bologna Declaration, undated, accessed September 2004. Not available at this address 31 January 2011.

 European Commission, Education and Training, The Lifelong Learning Programme 2007–2013, 2008, Glossary, available at last update: 11 April 2008, accessed 29 January 2012, page not available 29 December 2016.

Northeast Texas Network Consortium (NTNC), 2002, Distance Learning College Glossary. , accessed 20 September 2012, still available 29 December 2016, not found 17 June 2019.

Vlsceanu, L.,  Grünberg, L., and Pârlea, D., 2007,  Quality Assurance and Accreditation: A Glossary of Basic Terms and Definitions ( Bucharest , UNESCO-CEPES) Revised and updated edition. ISBN 92-9069-186-7, available at , accessed 29 January 2011, moved to new address and accessed 19 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021

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