The German accreditation system is organized in a decentralized way and characterized by its two approaches to accreditation.
On the one hand the accreditation of degree programmes (programme accreditation) and on the other the accreditation of the quality assurance system within a university (system accreditation), both conducted by accreditation agencies which need authorisation from the Accreditation Council (accreditation of agencies).
The Accreditation Council as central decision-making body defines fundamental requirements for the accreditation of study programmes, the accreditation of quality assurance systems and the accreditation agencies.
In addition it is responsible for reliable, transparent and internationally accepted criteria as a basis for all of the above accreditations.
Realisation in Bavaria: subsequent accreditation
The Bavarian universities are bound by the Bavarian Higher Education Act (BayHSchG) to implement a quality assurance system, which has to be evaluated externally at regular intervals (Art. 10 (2) BayHSchG). The area of teaching and studying, in particular of the bachelor and masters degree programmes, are ought to be accredited by an accreditation agency (Art. 10 (4) BayHSchG).
These specifications are approved by the StMWFK, therefore newly implemented degree programmes have to be accredited between the third and fifth year after the implementation.
Hence an introduction of a quality assurance and quality development system respectively the accreditation of the range of courses is needed.
In 2008 the Accreditation Council introduced a second certification model. Since then system accreditation serves as an alternative to the programme accreditation.
A successful system accreditation requires a university-wide quality assurance system in the area of studying and teaching. This system ensures the achievement of predefined qualification aims and the review of internal and external quality standards of different courses of studies.
The system accreditation establishes a higher level of individual responsibility for the universities compared to other accreditation procedures.
This pertains to the conception and specific establishment of a university-wide quality assurance system as well as the development of the portfolio of the degree programmes of the FAU and its role in building a university profile.
Against this background, the FAU decided to implement an integrated quality assurance system, which is a prerequisite for initiating the procedure of a system accreditation at the FAU in 2014.
(decision by the university management on 23.11.2011).