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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Joint degree

core definition

A joint degree is a single degree awarded by more than one higher education institution.

explanatory context

Joint degrees deriving from joint programmes are one form of a joint award.


Joint degrees should be distinguished from dual degrees.

analytical review

Hunger and Skalbergs (2007, p. 41) describe a joint degree and a joint programme:

Joint degree is specified as: a single degree, awarded by two or more institutions after graduation from one jointly agreed programme, and is granted under the auspices of all the partners, a single graduation document is issued and the degree certification is complemented and explained by a Diploma Supplement.

Joint programme is specified as an overall term for a co-operative study programme based on a common curriculum agreed upon by the partners, while studies can be carried out in the framework of student mobility, based on Credit Transfer, not regarding any specific way to award the degree.

Joint programmes share following characteristics: joint programmes are developed co-operatively by two or more partner institutions; students are obliged to spend part of their studies at two or more partner institutions; and courses and exams are fully recognised by all partner institutions offering the joint programme. The term joint programme is defined as an overall description for all co-operative degree programmes.

The UK Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA) (2010, p. 82) refers to a joint award, which it distinguishes from jointly-delivered programmes:

Joint award describes a collaborative arrangement under which two or more awarding institutions together provide a programme leading to a single award made jointly by both, or all, participants. A single certificate or document (signed by the competent authorities) attests successful completion of this jointly-delivered programme, replacing the separate institutional or national qualifications.

Jointly-delivered programme describes a programme delivered or provided jointly by two or more institutions, irrespective of the award (i.e., single, joint, dual/double or multiple). It refers to the education provided rather than the nature of the award.

associated issues


related areas

See also

awarding body


dual degree


Hunger, A. and Skalbergs, I., 2007, 'Promotion of quality culture in international cooperation with special focus on joint programmes', in European University Association (2007), Embedding Quality Culture in Higher Education: A selection of papers from the 1st European forum for quality assurance (Brussels, EUA) .

Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA), 2010, Code of practice for the assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education. Collaborative provision and flexible and distributed learning (including e-learning) Amplified version October 2010, available at, accessed 20 September 2012, page not available 3 January 2017.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021

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