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 18 June, 2021 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2021.


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core definition

Institution is shorthand for institution of higher education, which is an educational institution that has students graduating at bachelor degree level or above.

explanatory context

Institutions of higher education include universities, colleges of higher education, university colleges, polytechnics, technikons, Fachhochschulen, hogescholen.


In some circumstances, institutions or parts of institutions that teach to foundation degree or associate degree level or the first stages of a bachelors’ degree (such as first year study) may be regarded as higher education institutions. However, there is no clear international consensus on this. It is also problematic because it makes it difficult to compare participation rates between countries.

analytical review

INQAAHE (2001) notes:

Talking about institution it concerns an institution for Higher Education, also shortened as HEI. In some cases it might not concern an HEI as a whole, but a part of it (for example a School or Department).


The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) (undated) states:

Higher education institutions: Universities, colleges or other organisations that primarily deliver programmes of higher education.

associated issues

related areas

See also







International Network of Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE), 2001, Annex: Clarification and Glossary, to a questionnaire conducted in December, 2001. This is no longer the site of INQAAHE, document not accessible online 4 February 2011 but can be seen here.

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), undated, Glossary, available at, accessed 3 January 2017, not available 20 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021

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