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Available under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike 4.0 International Licence



Publication Details

This report was commissioned by the Higher Education Authority of Ireland as part of the Bologna Programme work plan (2011-2013) approved and funded by the European Commission.


This report derives from a project that was undertaken to document the current position in regard to the provision of Joint and Double/Multiple degrees in Ireland. The back-drop to the project was the rapid growth in the provision of such degrees in Continental Europe and the arrangements being put in place to facilitate a further expansion of their number. Initially, it was the intention to explore the provision of joint and double degrees in Irish public sector institutions only but it became evident at an early stage that some private colleges were major providers of joint degrees and so data on their provision is included. One of the factors driving the expansion in the number of Joint Degrees has been the support of the European Commission for such collaborations. In addition, the move towards greater internationalisation of HEIs has encouraged HEIs to become involved in international partnerships. There has been a rapid expansion of the joint degrees in some Irish HEIs while others have none or almost none. Private colleges have UK partners exclusively but public sector HEIs are involved in Joint Degrees with institutions in 26 countries, mainly European, but including China and the USA among the most popular. The legal position in Ireland has allowed the development of joint degrees but the bureaucracy creates some difficulties for providers and indeed greater difficulties for some than for others. The recent creation of a single agency in Ireland to deal with matters of quality and qualifications (Quality and Qualifications Ireland) gives an opportunity to ensure that all HEIs are facilitated to develop programmes that lead to joint or double degrees with Irish or international partners. It provides an opportunity to ensure that Ireland is an active partner in the new arrangements being put in place in Europe to facilitate easier and less expensive validation of new joint degrees. In addition, QQI can facilitate the recognition of all Joint Degrees involving Irish partners.