Analytic Quality Glossary


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Citation reference: Harvey, L., 2004-22, 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 20 January, 2022 , © Lee Harvey 2004–2022.


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core definition

A polytechnic is a non-university higher education institution usually focusing on vocational education.

explanatory context

Polytechnics occur in several countries and vary considerably in size and status from one country to another. They are similar to technikons, hogescholen, and Fachhochschulen. In Finland, polytechnics are ammattikorkeakoulu.


Some institutions include polytechnic and university in their name, such as Anglia Polytechnic University in the UK, which, when changing status from a polytechnic to a university, retained part of the old name (although it subsequently changed name to Anglia Ruskin University). Also, Ryerson Polytechnic University (Ontario) Canada, is Canada’s only degree-granting polytechnic university (as of 2004) and adopted it’s name in 1993. Hong Kong Polytechnic University is modelled on British polytechnics, emphasis is on practical disciplines; offers diplomas and advanced diplomas as well as degree programmes (from 1983). Kwantlen Polytechnic University and Wisconsin Polytechnic University are other examples. In France, there is a network of Ecoles Polytechniques Universitaires.

analytical review

Lahden ammattikorkeakoulu [Lahti Polytechnic] (2004) in answering the question “What is a polytechnic?” states:

There are altogether 30 polytechnics (ammattikorkeakoulu) in Finland. They provide higher education in the non-university sector, which is parallel to the university sector. Their objective is to offer the highest vocational education in applied sciences and arts. To reach this objective they train students to be professionals who are capable of working independently and whose skills in science are targeted towards applied research. A polytechnic degree gives skills and know-how for the changing demands of working life.


In answer to the question ‘What is a Polytechnic University School? (Ecole Polytechnique Universitaire)’, the Ecole Polytechnique Universitaire de Marseille (2004) states:

A Polytechnic University School aims to improve the effectiveness, visibility and attractiveness of engineering courses on a national and international scale, and is the legal basis for merging several engineering schools to form a university. To have the status of a Polytechnic University School it must:

·      Be made up solely of engineering branches for introductory, continuous, alternating and apprenticeship training;

·      Cover a large range of subjects and encourage interdisciplinarity;

·      Have a standard national name : "Ecole polytechnique universitaire de...";

·      Become part of the network of "Polytechnic University Schools";

·      Be the only Engineering University School bearing this name in the same town. No other university may share the same name. It has educational and financial independence.

associated issues

related areas

See also





Ecole Polytechnique Universitaire de Marseille [Polytechnic Marseille], 2004, The school :General presentation, undated, accessed October 2004, not available 22 January 2012.

Lahden ammattikorkeakoulu [Lahti Polytechnic] (2004) Education: What is a Polytechnic?, not available 22 January 2012.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2022

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