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Online PhD Degree Programs-Accreditation of Swiss Universities

A number of Swiss universities are now offering online PhD degree programs. This allows students not only from Switzerland to be able to benefit from the excellent higher education programs offered by these universities. Only those online PhD degree programs, however, that have secured proper higher education accreditation would be recognized in the international community. Accreditation is a quality assurance process that educational institutions go through to ensure that activities in these institutions including training, teaching, and research methodologies are up to certain standards. These standards are often set by an external body that may or may not be a government organization.

In most cases, accreditation in a function held by a country’s department or ministry of education. In some countries, a body composed of representatives from the government, the academe, and the scientific community is responsible for the task of accrediting learning institutions of all levels.

Swiss universities fall under the jurisdiction of the Center of Accreditation and Quality Assurance of the Swiss Universities. This central accreditation body, often referred to as OAQ, is responsible for promoting the quality of teaching and research in universities in Switzerland. However, the accreditation system in Switzerland differs from those of other European countries in that it is done on a voluntary basis. Nevertheless, the accreditation procedures followed by the OAQ conforms to international regulations and operating procedures.

The three-stage accreditation process undergone by educational institutions, including online PhD degree programs, consists of a university conducted self-evaluation, an external appraisal conducted by a group of experts independent of any university or government agency, and a university opinion. When a university is granted an unconditional accreditation, the institution does not have to go through the entire accreditation procedures for the next seven years. Others that are either given preliminary accreditation or conditional accreditation will have to comply with certain requirements before they are recommended for accreditation by the OAQ.

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