Guidelines on Programme Accreditation Process

1. Application

The accreditation procedure should start with the application for accreditation by the HEI.
The self-assessment report should consider all the questions set out in Appendix 1-INSERT LINK HERE, and submit relevant documentation at least one month before the visit of the accreditation team.

2. Composition of the Accreditation Panel

The accreditation process is based on principles of peer review and normally the members of the accreditation panel should be from the national jurisdiction of the HEI concerned. The accreditation panel should consist of at least three persons, preferably more, including a student. At least one member of the accreditation panel should be an academic and at least one a practising engineering professional. All members of the accreditation panel should be sufficiently trained to enable them to participate expertly in the accreditation process and their curricula vitae should be publicly available. Accreditation agencies should promote short training courses for potential members of accreditation panels.
To facilitate the dissemination of good practice in accreditation, the accreditation agency should consider including external observers from outside the jurisdiction.
From each member of the accreditation panel, a statement should be received indicating that a conflict of interest does not exist between the member and the HEI at which one or several programmes are being accredited. This statement should be received prior to any documentation being distributed.

3. Duration of Site Visit

The site visit should last at least two days, including any preliminary meetings to evaluate the documentation and the visit to the HEI.

4. Agenda for Site Visit

The site visit should include:
• preliminary meeting of the accreditation panel prior to the visit to identify what information is to be obtained during the visit;
• meeting with head of department / university;
• meeting with academic and support staff members;
• meetings with current and former students;
• meeting with employers / industry / professional engineering organisations representatives;
• visits to facilities (libraries, laboratories, etc.);
• review of project work, final examination papers and other assessed work (with regards to the standard and modes of assessment as well as to the learning achievements of the students);
• feedback to the HEI at the end of the visit.

5. Programme Evaluation

a) Good practice arising from experience would indicate that the evaluation of programmes can be classified effectively using the judgements described below.

The following three points at least, should be considered:

(i) Acceptable without reservation;
(ii) Acceptable with prescriptions/conditions;
(iii) Unacceptable.

The judgment “acceptable” should be awarded to programmes where all requirements have been fully met, even if improvements are still possible.
The judgment “acceptable with prescription” should be awarded to programmes where requirements have not been fully met, but are judged to be resolvable within a reasonable period of time (as a rule no longer than half the regular full period of accreditation).
The judgment “unacceptable” should be awarded to programmes where requirements have not been met or fully met, and are judged not to be resolvable within a reasonable period of time.

b) The members of the accreditation panel prepare an accreditation report. The accreditation report, without the recommendation, is then submitted to the HEI to check for factual errors and to submit a statement on the report. The statement of the HEI is transmitted to the members of the accreditation panel for review of the accreditation report and the finalisation of the recommendation concerning the accreditation decision.

6. Final Recommendation

In accordance with Section 5 above the following final recommendations should be used. It is recognised that individual agencies may add other types of recommendation, for example, where partial accreditation will result in the cancelation of a degree programme.

6.1 “Accreditation without reservation”, with possible specification of recommendations for the improvement of the programme, should be awarded to programmes for which all the requirements are judged to be acceptable. In this case accreditation should be awarded for the full period of accreditation (which should not exceed six years).

6.2 “Accreditation with prescriptions/conditions” and the time in which prescriptions/conditions must be carried out, should be awarded if one or several requirements are judged to be acceptable but with prescriptions/conditions. In such cases
accreditation must be awarded for a shorter period of time after which compliance with the prescriptions/conditions must be verified.

6.3 The judgment “unacceptable” should be awarded to programmes where requirements have not been met or fully met, and are judged not to be resolvable within a reasonable period of time. In this case the accreditation panel can recommend that accreditation be withheld.