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Things you always wanted to know about Bachelor and Master!

In the course of our study guidance activities we've noticed that the current debate on the reform mandated by the Bologna Declaration of 1999 and its consequences are of particular interest to you.

Not surprising, considering that the entire European Higher Education Area will be completely reorganised in the near future. There has never been a restructuring of this magnitude before, and of course this creates a lot of questions.

What exactly are Bachelor's and Master's degrees?

The Bachelor's and Master's degrees classify your studies. With the Bachelor, students receive a final degree after only three or four years, allowing them to enter the labour market directly. Only those who want to deepen their knowledge go on to a Master's degree. This study structure is intended to shorten the duration of studies, improve professional qualification and to contribute to the mobility of the student. Because your course achievements are rated with credit points, your performance and the courses can be recognised more easily at other universities.

Will all courses of study be adapted?

Yes, all courses will be changed to fit the two-cycle system (three-cycle system, including doctorates). The provisions of the Bologna Declaration signed in 1999, where the adaptation was mandated, has to be transformed into national law. At the moment the compatibility of the one-year Master's (versus the usual two-year Master's in other European countries) and integrated Master's degrees (e.g. MPharm, MEng) with Bologna requirements is still being discussed.

What is meant by structuring the class schedule into modules?

Courses with similar content will be summarised in modules with unifying global themes. Tighter organization of the schedules is the idea behind this structuring. The courses will last a maximum of one year (two terms) and will ideally provide access to different branches of study (e.g. there could be a module "marketing" in economics). Furthermore, universities are urged to define targets for each branch of study in order to help students planning their studies.

What is a Diploma Supplement?

A Diploma Supplement is a document which describes additional information on the graduation of a student. It explains the admission conditions, specifies core subjects and key aspects of the study programme and gives information about internships held. It also describes the type and length of the final thesis. It is an attempt to facilitate comparison of qualities gained in higher education systems. Every degree gets its own profile, although with the same title.

Could a bad Bachelor's degree keep me from being admitted to a Master's degree program?

Yes, this can happen. In scientific fields Master's degrees are meant to be a further qualification for highly skilled students. Since you usually have to reapply for a Master's degree program, a bad Bachelor's degree can put an early end to your university career. However, the admission conditions for each Master's degree are set by the universities independently. In some cases special regulations do exist. For further information, it is best to contact the study guidance offices at the university concerned.

Why has the implementation of the reform been discussed so much?

The reform is not just a formal renaming. Critics fear that many universities might not realize the improvements in terms of content, which is the essential aim of the reform. Shortening the courses or renaming them is not what the authors of the reform intended.

What does "accreditation" mean?

Quality assurance plays a central role in achieving the objective of enhancing the international competitiveness of European Higher Education. Therefore the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA) charges agencies with reviewing the quality of teaching and learning, in order to make it easier to compare qualifications and to simplify recognition across Europe. The work of these agencies is similar to controlling the technical standards of cars. The courses are checked for content and their ability to provide qualifications for business.

Discover now the vast range of Bachelor and Master programmes in Europe >


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