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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Professional programme

core definition

Professional programme is shorthand for a co-ordinated set of study elements that lead to a recognised professional qualification.

explanatory context

Professional programmes may not lead to final registration in a profession, as this may require a period of (probationary) practice following the programme. However, in many areas, professional recognition is not possible without having completed the professional programme of study.


In some settings 'professional programme' is a term used to refer to any vocational programme, including programmes that are not recognised for professional accreditation, or even any non-degree programme that might, for example, be undertaken at a further education college. This usage is not intended here and the adoption of such terminology is rather misleading for students who might infer that programmes designated as 'professional programmes' would lead to registration in a profession.


An example of a programme where 'professional' is used to mean 'non-degree' is as follows, (this clearly does not link to preparation for registration with a regulated profession):

What are the Professional Programs? Unique to UCLA, these graduate level non-degree programs are modeled after the world-renowned MFA curriculum at the prestigious School of Theater, Film and Television. Classes are offered in the evenings and are taught by industry professionals... (UCLA School of Theater, Film, and Television, 2012)


In some settings 'professional' is simply used to imply career development or even to mean 'non-amateur' as in 'doing a professional job'. These have no links to the core concept of a programme preparing a student for registration to a regulated profession. Examples of the career development use of 'professional' are as follows:

The Young Professionals Programme (YPP) is a recruitment initiative for talented, highly qualified professionals to start a career as an international civil servant with the United Nations Secretariat. It consists of an entrance examination and professional development programmes once successful candidates start their career with the UN.

UNICEF’s Young Professional Programme recruits young talent with the potential to grow into managerial and leadership positions in the organization. (UNICEF, undated)

in both cases, these programmes were not about teaching that resulted in possible registration to regulated professions.


Another take is to suggest a professional programme is anything with work experience, thus United Educators (UE) (2007), referring to Limited Professional Libaility Coverage suggest that:

UE’s definition of professional program extends to “any related practicum, field experience, clinical training or internship.” Example: An engineering course has a group field experience component where teams of students are assigned projects with local construction firms.

analytical review

The South African Council on Higher Education (HEQC) (2004) defines a professional programme as:

Programmes that have to meet the licensure and other professional and work-based requirements of statutory councils.

The University of Victoria (undated):

The definition of professional program in the Faculty of Engineering is one that leads to a professional designation. The professional designation for engineers is P.Eng.

The Association europeenne des conservatoires [Academies de musique et musikhochschulen] (AEC, 2004) referred to professional training, as follows:

Professional training: Training which is geared to preparation for a profession. This may involve a significant intellectual component if this is necessary to satisfy the general, transferable skills required by that profession.

associated issues


related areas

See also

professional body



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

Council on Higher Education, Higher Education Quality Committee (HEQC), 2004, Criteria for Institutional Audits, April (Pretoria, Council on Higher Education).

UNICEF, undated, Young Professional Programme, available at, accessed 26 September 2012, still available 9 January 2017, still available 30 June 2019.

United Educators, 2007, Limited Professional Liability Coverage: FAQ for Brokers, available at , accessed 26 September 2012, page not available 9 January 2017.

United Nations, 20127, Young Professional Programme, available at, accessed 9 January 2017, still available 30 June 2019.

University of Victoria, undated, Academic advice, available at, accessed 26 September 2012, still available 9 January 2017, not available 30 June 2019.

copyright Lee Harvey 2004–2021

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