The process of establishing a new programme or new local provision of a programme depends on the accreditation status of the education institution behind the application for the new programme or the new local provision of a programme.
The first step in the process is, however, common for all applications. Here all applications must go through a prequalification that assesses whether the programme or the local provision of a programme is relevant for the labour market and fulfils a need in the overall provision of higher education.
When should a new programme be accredited?
Following prequalification, new programmes and local provision of programmes are accredited at:
- Education institutions where institutional accreditation has not yet begun
- Education institutions that have been awarded a conditional positive institutional accreditation
If an education institution is already undergoing institutional accreditation, it may choose to await the decision or to have new programmes/local provision of programmes approved via programme accreditation.
Education institutions with a positive institutional accreditation are free to establish prequalified programmes and local provision of programmes, whereas institutions that have been given a refusal cannot establish new programmes or new local provision of programmes.
The Danish Accreditation Institution sets up an accreditation panel for accreditation of new programmes or local provision of programmes. The panel makes a professional assessment on the basis of the criteria for programme accreditation listed in the ministerial order:
- Demand and relevance
- Knowledge base
- Goals for learning outcomes
- Organisation and completion
- Internal quality assurance and development
However, criterion 1 is left out as this criterion has been assessed in the prequalification.
In parallel with the Danish Accreditation Institution setting up the accreditation panel, the education institution prepares its written application.
The Danish Accreditation Institution draws up a report based on the accreditation panel’s assessment of the written application and any supplementary material. This report contains:
- An assessment of whether the individual criteria are considered to have been fulfilled, partially fulfilled or not fulfilled.
- A comprehensive recommendation for the Accreditation Council’s decision.
The education institution receives the accreditation report for consultation before a final version is submitted to the Accreditation Council and is published on the Accreditation Institution’s website.
The Accreditation Council can make one of the following decisions regarding accreditation of new programmes and local provision of programmes:
- Positive programme accreditation: on the whole, the programme or the local provision of a programme lives up the accreditation criteria and can therefore be established.
- Refusal of programme accreditation: on the whole, the programme or the local provision of a programme fails to live up to the accreditation criteria and can therefore not be established.
A positive programme accreditation is valid for six years, after which the programme or local provision of a programme must be accredited as an existing programme if the education institution has not been awarded positive or conditional positive institutional accreditation.
If a programme is refused accreditation, the institution can submit a revised application of the same programme or local provision of a programme. This requires that the application be submitted within the deadline stipulated in the prequalification decision.
The Accreditation Council informs the education institution and the Danish Agency for Science and Higher Education about the outcome of the programme accreditation.