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The Bologna-Process – Transforming Higher Education in Europe

The “Bologna Process” is a European initiative that aims to break down bureaucratic barriers between national education systems and to create a shared European space in which academics can move about freely without worrying about the compatibility of their qualifications. In 1999, the education ministers of 29 European states met in Bologna to lay the foundations for a common European framework for universities and other tertiary institutions that would increase the international mobility of students and scientists and enhance the international competitive edge of research and teaching in Europe. The process aims to:

  • Create a coherent system of comparable higher education qualifications
  • Implement a two-tiered degree system (Bachelor = undergraduate/ Master = graduate)
  • Establish a unified system of study credits (based on the ECTS model)
  • Remove obstacles to mobility
  • Enhance co-operation in the area of quality assurance
  • Promote the European dimension in higher education

The most obvious effect of this process is the replacement of diploma study paths by Bachelor's and Master's qualifications; this transformation involves an extensive restructuring of study programmes, plans and curricula. In addition to this, the reform will also see the introduction of a common system of study credits, based on the European Credit and Accumulation Transfer System (ECTS). This step will increase transparency and ease the reciprocal recognition of student credits across European universities. These changes will encourage students to study abroad for a semester, facilitate student transfers between degree programmes and improve access to the European labour market for graduates.

In addition to their Bachelor's and Master's certificates, future graduates will be awarded a Diploma Supplement - an individual record of achievement, detailing the graduate’s main areas of activity and personal achievements.
This new qualification regime has been implemented at the University of the Arts at the Faculty of Music and in our Integrated Design and Digital Media programmes. The Fine Arts programme will not participate in this reform and the University will continue to award the Diploma of Fine Arts. Students wishing to do so may subsequently continue their studies with our Master Class programme (Meisterstudium).