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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education


​​​​​Our international work

The UK is a major player in the field of international higher education. QAA takes a leading role in international developments in standards and quality, working not just to maintain but to enhance and reinforce the quality and integrity of the UK higher education sector in the international sphere.

We recognise the increasing importance our subscribers place on the contribution internationalisation makes to their reputations - for sustainability and benchmarking - and ensure our activities, standards and processes address this.

QAA's international engagement

QAA and the UK higher education sector continue to benefit from engagement with European and wider international quality assurance developments. We take a proactive role in international developments in standards and quality, driven by our international strategy, which has three main goals:

  • to secure academic standards in internationally delivered UK higher education or transnational education (TNE)
  • to be an authority on international quality assurance and enhancement matters, increasing recognition of QAA as a provider of authoritative advice by sharing expertise, intelligence and information
  • to maximise the influence of QAA in international quality assurance developments.

QAA has close relationships with international quality assurance agencies, and has developed links with several agencies around the world through Memoranda of Understanding and Cooperation.

Examples of our international work

Review of Transnational Education

Many UK institutions offer higher education programmes abroad through TNE arrangements, including partnership links with other organisations. Institutions are responsible for the academic standards of their awards, whether delivered inside or outside the UK. As part of our work, we review the partnership arrangements between UK higher education institutions and organisations in other countries. We also produce country reports to offer providers an insight into the higher education and regulatory landscape of key countries for UK TNE. For more information, please see the Review of Transnational Education section of our website.

International students studying in the UK

Working with an advisory group made up of sector representatives, we developed a guidance document for higher education providers on managing the international student experience. The guidance seeks to establish a UK-wide set of shared principles for developing an inclusive environment for increasingly international student bodies.

Educational oversight reviews

QAA is one of the bodies that provides educational oversight for colleges and other providers that wish to sponsor international students. This includes the Recognition Scheme for Educational Oversight (RSEO) for overseas higher education providers operating in the UK. For more information, please see the educational oversight reviews section of our website.

International Insights articles

International Insights are a series of short articles for our subscribers. They explore international developments in higher education. If you are subscriber, looking to support your institution’s international activities, they are well worth a read.

International Insight article​ on the Hong Kong regulatory framework for transnational education (TNE)​ - useful for providers operating or wishing to offer TNE.

International memberships


QAA co-funds Universities UK International, which supports the development and sustainability of the UK higher education sector's influence and competitiveness internationally. We are also a stakeholder in the UK India Education and Research Initiative and UK China Partners in Education cooperation programmes (links open in new windows).


QAA is a full member of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education (ENQA), the umbrella organisation for quality assurance agencies in the European Higher Education Area. Full membership of ENQA represents recognition that an agency complies with the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area. Compliance with these standards is checked every five years through an independent review (links open in new windows).

QAA’s last review was in May 2013. The final review report (opens in new window) was published by ENQA in July 2013, in which QAA was judged to be fully compliant with all European standards and guidelines. In 2013, QAA was also added to the European Quality Assurance Register (opens in new window).

QAA’s next review will take place from 19-22 February 2018. Our Self-Assessment Report​ was sent to ENQA on 21 December 2017.


We are a full member of the International Network for Quality Assurance Agencies in Higher Education (INQAAHE), and in 2014 QAA was found to be comprehensively aligned with the INQAAHE Guidelines of Good Practice. Additionally, we are a member of the CHEA International Quality Group and an Observer of the Asia-Pacific Quality Network (links open in new windows).

International projects

Supporting higher education in the ASEAN region - SHARE project

Working alongside our partners in ENQA, the German Academic Exchange Service, and the British Council, QAA is contributing to the SHARE project, which aims to strengthen regional cooperation, and enhance the quality, regional competitiveness and internationalisation of Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN) higher education institutions and students (opens in new window).

This is a capacity-building project that includes training for ASEAN quality agencies, driven by a desire to enhance cooperation between the EU and the ASEAN Economic Community, and create lasting benefit from the harmonisation of higher education across the ASEAN region.

By taking part in this project, QAA supports UK higher education providers seeking to build relationships, partnerships and operations in the ASEAN region. To learn more about the SHARE project, please visit the ENQA website (opens in new window).

For further information about our international activity, please contact us.