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Online PhD Degree Programs-Accreditation of Dutch Universities

Institutions offering online PhD degree programs need to be accredited in order for the degrees conferred to its students to be recognized in the international academic scene. This is especially important since these online PhD degree programs are made available to students not only in the countries where the institutions offering these online PhD degree programs are situated, but to students from other countries as well.

There is a need for educational institutions all over the world to be accredited by either a national accreditation body or an international accreditation body at the very least. These accreditation bodies are normally formed on a national level. Most countries would have accreditation bodies that fall under the supervision of the country’s ministry of education. In some countries, these accreditation bodies are formed independent of any government institution. Experts from the academe and the scientific community often form part of these accreditation bodies.

The Accreditation Organisation of the Netherlands and Flanders or the Nederlands Vlaamse Accreditatieorganisatie (NVAO) is tasked with the responsibility of accrediting educational institutions and programs in the Netherlands and in Flanders. This organization was formed in 2003 through a treaty. The main responsibility of this body is to assess and accredit programs and institutions as a way of ensuring the quality of education in the two countries.

As there are separate legislations in the two countries, the policies and procedures for accreditation in each of these countries have some differences. Two types of accreditation are done by the NVAO. One is for those programs already offered by institutions already in the official registers recognized by the CROHO in the Netherlands and the Higher Education Register in Flanders. The other is for those programs yet to be offered and those that are offered by non registered institutions. The focus of the accreditations lies in the quality of the programs and in the learning outcomes. Accreditation in Dutch universities generally involves self evaluation, external assessment, and the accreditation itself.

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