Formerly the EEAA

Certification Framework and qualification nomenclature

The ECTE Certification Framework

The ECTE Certification Framework defines the levels within which the ECTE provides accreditation of programmes offered by higher education institutions (HEIs) and alternative providers of higher education (APs). This document is an integral part of ECTE’s Standards and Guidelines for accreditation and determines many aspects of the accreditation process, as well as providing the categories for the ECTE Review Directory.

To ensure that qualifications are aligned with the typical expectations of achievements and abilities associated with higher education qualifications, the learning outcomes of levels/cycles correspond to the typical expectations outlined in the Overarching Qualifications Framework for the European Higher Education Area (QF-EHEA) adopted by the Paris Ministers of Education Conference (2018).

The ECTE accredits programmes that signify the completion of EFQ levels 5,6 and 7 / QF-EHEA Short, First and Second Cycles, as well as partial qualifications that operate at the level of the relevant cycle but are not end of cycle qualifications (these are denoted in the table below by the boxes shaded in grey.

Starting from the EQF and the QF-EHEA as the main reference points, the Certification Framework also includes other qualification descriptors, such as:

  • An overall programme description.
  • The level in the European Qualification Framework (EQF)
  • The QF-EHEA cycle (Short Cycle, Short Cycle Intermediate, First Cycle, Second Cycle, Second Cycle Intermediate)
  • The ECTS credits of each programme. These are also used to determine intermediate cycles.
  • The learning outcomes/descriptors as defined by the QF-EHEA for each cycle. For the First and Second Cycle specialisation is possible for research-oriented and/or practice-oriented programmes.
  • The duration of the course of study, expressed in full-time equivalence (FTE).
  • The corresponding level in the UNESCO International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED), which is particularly useful for international student mobility.
  • The corresponding level in the ICETE Qualification Comparability Framework (ICETE) which is particularly useful for student mobility and progression within global theological institutions.

Qualification nomenclature

Given the nuances of international qualifications, issues of the language of delivery and qualification denomination and factors involving protected nomenclature in certain countries, the ECTE Certification Framework has chosen to not give prominence to the typical English terms like ‘certificate’, ‘diploma’, ‘bachelor’ and ‘master’. Although comparability indicators to these terms are provided by means of the ISCED and ICETE levels, it should be clear that the ECTE only certifies levels within the EQF/QF-EHEA frameworks.

Within national legal frameworks, each accredited institution should identify and use further qualification nomenclatures in the language of delivery. Alternative providers of higher education need to pay particular attention to not use qualification nomenclatures in their local contexts that are reserved for higher education institutions. See also Accreditation and institutional status.

The Diploma Supplement should be used to fully describe the qualification within the accredited EQF/QF-EHEA level.