The accreditation of a study programme is a process by which a body responsible for the assessment and accreditation of higher education analyses and formally recognises that a particular study programme leading to the award of a degree (BSc, MSc, PhD) meets the requirements for its creation and operation.
In Portugal, this process is carried out under the European Quality Assurance framework and it is the responsibility of the Agency for Assessment and Accreditation of Higher Education (A3ES).
The agency was formed in 2007.
A3ES website has an area dedicated to answering frequently asked questions.
The general requirements for the accreditation of a study programme are:
· An appropriate educational, scientific and cultural project that meets the set objectives for that study programme;
· Qualified teaching staff, adequate to the number of students;
· Adequate human and material resources to ensure quality and educational levels, such as classrooms, equipment, libraries and suitable laboratories.
In 2010 the Preliminary Accreditation took place. Through this procedure the Agency carried out the accreditation of study programmes in operation.
The period of validity of this preliminary accreditation shall remain in effect until its review in the context of assessment/accreditation of the study programmes, started in 2012 and to be completed in 2016.