System Accreditation of TU Darmstadt

On 24 March 2017, TU Darmstadt was granted the seal of the Accreditation Council. System accreditation means that TU Darmstadt has the right to review its own degree courses (including teaching at vocational schools), initially until 2023. It is no longer required to apply for programme or cluster accreditation (accreditation of individual degree programmes) as stipulated in the Higher Education Act of the State of Hesse.

By acquiring the right to conduct its own system accreditation, TU Darmstadt has taken the next logical step with regard to its status as an autonomous university and assumed greater responsibility for its quality development. The accreditation seal certifies that TU Darmstadt’s integrated quality management observes the external quality standards for developing and continuing to develop courses and is able to review, scrutinise and further develop the quality targets it has set itself. At the same time, TU Darmstadt is confirmed in its approach of closely linking research and teaching in its integrated quality management. The degree courses are introduced and further developed considering the strategic goals of the departments and TU Darmstadt. The implementation of research-related teaching is thus supported in the best possible way.

TU Darmstadt’s system accreditation was conducted by the Swiss Agency of Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ).

Follow up

Chronicle of System Accreditation

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

In the course of the Bologna reform, programme accreditation was introduced as a binding quality assurance instrument for degree programmes concluding with a university exam. So far, external accreditiation agencies have been responsible for programme accreditions. However, the accreditation procedure has been criticized i.a. for the high effort and costs involved. Since 2008, German universities are able to certify their quality management system in the field of studying and teaching by an external agency within the framework of a so-called system accreditation. The internal structures and processes are examined concerning the achievement of the predefined quality targets.

TU Darmstadt associates the following goals with system accreditation:

  • Synergy effects through integration of the external (re-)accreditations into the institutional evaluation. At least two external evaluation procedures (incl. reports and on-site visits) per department within a cycle of about six years become a single procedure.
  • Consistent implementation of research-oriented teaching through further integration of quality assurance in all areas (assessment of degree programmes also from a strategic point of view as a part of the institutional evaluation procedure).
  • Qualitative improvement of external assessments at degree programme level via consideration of degree programmes by the external evaluation committee in the course of the institutional evaluation procedure. Selected experts evaluate the department holistically and thus can incorporate specific characteristics of TU Darmstadt into the assessment of the degree programmes.
  • Gain of autonomy by increasing the flexibility regarding the introduction and further development of degree programmes.

No, with system accreditation, all degree programmes that have undergone internal quality assurance are considered accredited. Accreditations of individual degree programmes or cluster accreditations are no longer required.

TU Darmstadt was granted system accreditation until September 30, 2023. After that, a system re-accreditation is necessary.

The Swiss Agency of Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ); it has experience with system accreditation and recognises the holistic approach aspired by TU Darmstadt with its quality management system.

The experts appraised TU Darmstadt’s integrated quality management and checked its functionality. The focus was on the processes that affect the quality of studying and teaching. The integrated quality management is described in the self-evaluation report composed for the system accreditation.

In December 2015 the AAQ put together a six-member committee for the system accreditation of TU Darmstadt. The committee was compiled according to the requirements of the Accreditation Council.

System accreditation is named as an option in the Executive Board’s programme (2014-2019). The opportunities and challenges of a system accreditation were intensively discussed within the university. The highlight of the dialogue was a university-wide workshop in October 2014, involving more than 100 members of the university.

In November 2014, the Senate approved the project and set up a working group that accompanied the system accreditation process.

An example of involvement of the university members is a working group on system accreditation, set up by the Senate and including representatives of all status groups. The working group participated in the preparation of the application on system accreditation and in the process of compilation of the self-evaluation report. The self-evaluation report was reconciled within the university and discussed in the Senate and the University Council.

During the second on-site visit from 30.11.-02.12.2016, the experts of the external evaluation committee also held conversations with members of the departments and administrative bodies.

The statement of TU Darmstadt on the report of the external evaluation committee was approved by the Senate in February 2017.

Background Information