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.


Novel Recipes




core definition

Licensing is the formal granting of permission to (a) operate a new institution (b) a new programme of study (c) practice a profession (d) use an educational product (paper or online) or computer application.

explanatory context

Licensing does not necessarily require a quality evaluation and is not the same as being accredited.


In the US, the term ‘licensure’ is used.


In relation to licensing professional practice, there is a distinction between graduating from an accredited programme and having a licence to practice. In some cases, these are coincident, especially for graduates from some postgraduate programmes. Often though, additional probationary practice years are required before full license to practice is granted.


In some instances, such as teaching in the US, a licence to practice may be virtually independent of studying on an accredited programme. In many US states, obtaining a teaching licence is not dependent on having an accredited teacher education degree. In fact, less than half the US colleges of education are accredited (Murray, 2001). 

Some commercial products such as educational packages or computer applications require the payment of a license fee in orer to use them in an educational setting.

analytical review

Campbell & Rozsnyai, (2002, p. 31) refer to institutional and programme licensing:

Licensing is the awarding of permission to operate either a new higher education institution or a new course programme based on ex-ante evaluation of plans.


For CHEA (2001):

Licensure: Refers to approval of an individual to practice a profession once minimal requirements are met. Licensure usually is obtained through examination or graduation from an accredited institution. In some countries, a period of practical experience also may be required. (See also certification, registration.)

This is differentiated from:

Institutional Licensure: (U.S.) State government approval to conduct business as an educational institution. Licensing is not equated to accreditation and does not necessarily require demonstration of quality or ability to meet performance standards. (CHEA, 2001) 



The UNESCO definition is:

Licensure/Licensing: The process by which a governmental agency grants official permission (i) to persons meeting predetermined qualifications to engage in a given occupation and/or use of a particular title; (ii) to programmes, based on the evaluation of appropriate plans, to operate before obtaining accredited status, and (iii) to institutions to perform specified functions. Licensure (in the case of persons) is usually obtained through examination or graduation from an accredited institution. In some countries, a period of practical experience may be required. When such is the case, state authorization/state licensing should not be confused with institutional or specialized accreditation. (Vlãsceanu et al., 2004, p. 40)

The International Association for K-12 Online Learning (iNACOL) (2011) states:

Licensed content – Content with restricted usage and only available with permission, generally for a fee.

associated issues

related areas

See also





specialized accreditation


Campbell, C. & Rozsnyai, C., 2002, Quality Assurance and the Development of Course Programmes. Papers on Higher Education Regional University Network on Governance and Management of Higher Education in South East Europe Bucharest, UNESCO.

Council For Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA) 2001, Glossary of Key Terms in Quality Assurance and Accreditation, last updated 23 October 2002, accessed 18 September 2012, page not available 30 December 2016.

International Association for K-12 Online Learning, 2011, The Online Learning Definitions Project, October, available at, accessed 1 September 2012page not available 3 January 2017.

Murray, F.B., 2001. ‘From consensus standards to evidence for claims: assessment and accreditation in the case of teacher education’ in Ratcliff, J.L, Lubinescu, E.S & Gaffney, M.A (Eds.), 2001, New Directions for Higher Education, How Accreditation Influences Assessment, No. 113 April 2001, New York, Jossey-Bass.

Vlãsceanu, L., Grünberg, L., and Pârlea, D., 2004, Quality Assurance and Accreditation: A Glossary of Basic Terms and Definitions (Bucharest, UNESCO-CEPES) Papers on Higher Education.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021

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