Accreditation has different meanings across the academic and professional worlds.
As part of a Royal Charter institution, the quality and rigour of our programmes are guaranteed.
This year we at Heriot-Watt University celebrate our 50th anniversary since receiving our Royal Charter, giving us full University status.
Our Principal, Professor Richard Williams, explains more in his New Year message
In the professional world, a number of chartered bodies accredit awards, in particular disciplines such as engineering and other sciences. Such accreditation is recognised by equivalent organisations internationally and may be a requirement for professional practice.
Such forms of accreditation are entirely voluntary and may be of greater or lesser significance according to national or cultural perceptions. The presence of unregulated providers in the global education market creates a threat and leads to market pressure for visible evidence that a provider is credible. For universities in the UK sector, such forms of accreditation are a means of enhancing image, particularly in subject areas that have a strong international reach such as business education. Such approvals are not necessary to demonstrate quality, as they may be in other markets.
To date, EBS has not sought to pursue additional accreditation from the main agencies that provide value-added accreditation for business programmes: EQUIS (the European Quality Improvement System); AACSB; and AMBA (UK Association of MBAs).
Recognition and credit transfer
Awards from UK universities are typically accepted as being equivalent to similar business qualifications across the world.
At Edinburgh Business School, we assess the equivalence of international qualifications for the purposes of matriculation and awarding exemptions and/or credit transfers. We make use of UK Naric, a national agency that provides information on international qualifications. Naric is part of a wider network of centres across Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the US.
In Europe, the Bologna process seeks to develop mutual recognition of qualifications and support student mobility. Scotland was one of the first of 45 countries to commit to this process to verify the compatibility of its national education framework (the SCQF) with an overarching qualifications framework developed for the European Higher Education Area (EHEA).
The SCQF credit system is based on learning hours, with one credit within the system equivalent to ten learning hours. EBS courses are based on 20 credits at Masters level (200 learning hours). This translates as ten ECTS credits under the European system. Both the SCQF and ECTS systems are based on total learning hours; this differs from the US system, which is based on credit hours equal to the hours spent in the classroom. Typically, the Scottish tariff can be divided by four to illustrate equivalence to a US system.