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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

International Quality Review

​​​​​​​​​​​​What is IQR?​

International Quality Review (IQR) offers higher education institutions outside the UK the opportunity to utilise QAA's evidence-based peer review, which has been developed using our extensive experience of carrying out reviews in the UK and overseas.

IQR is designed to analyse and reflect on institutions' own quality assurance approaches, to challenge and benchmark their existing processes against international quality assurance standards set out in the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG) (opens in new window), and to support them to drive improvement and excellence in their own quality assurance approach.

Successful reviews enable institutions to demonstrate that their quality assurance processes are not only effective but also comparable with international best practice: a great place to start from if your institution wants to attract more students, strengthen your global positioning, or begin to form long-lasting partnerships with UK institutions.

How it works

IQR evaluates an institution's quality assurance policies, procedures and systems against the 10 internationally recognised standards set out in Part 1 of the ESG, which were updated and adopted by the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) Ministerial Conference in Brussels, May 2015.​

The IQR process

IQR is made up of three stages:


1. Application

An institution seeking to undertake an IQR completes an application form demonstrating that it meets the initial requirements. This is scrutinised by a QAA panel that determines whether it is eligible to proceed to the scoping stage.

2. Scoping

We conduct a scoping visit to the applicant institution that enables them to learn more about IQR and requirements for a review and also enables QAA to determine whether the institution is suitable to proceed to a full review. Following the visit, we write to the institution confirming whether we recommend it to progress to a full review, giving reasons. If both parties wish to proceed, we agree a schedule of dates for the review stage.

3. Review

The review is an opportunity for the institution to demonstrate how it meets each of the 10 European standards. It submits a self-evaluation document and evidence. The review team analyses these documents and visits the institution to meet key staff members, students and others. The review team comes to an overall conclusion as to whether the institution meets the standards. We publish a report on our website, and the institution publishes an action plan in response. 

If the review is successful the institution becomes eligible to use the IQR Graphic, featuring the date of the successful review.​


To discuss details, please contact Dan Murch, Innovation and Enterprise Consultant, at d.murch@qaa.ac.uk.