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safeguarding standards and improving the quality of UK higher education

How we review higher education

​​​​​​​​​​​We carry out reviews using a variety of methods. The method we use depends on a number of factors, including where a provider is bas​ed; whether they are a university, college or other type of provider; and t​he type of higher education qualifications​ that they offer.​​ ​​

​Reviews of higher education providers

Higher Education Review

Higher Education Review is the review method for higher education institutions in England and Northern Ireland from 2013-14.

Enhancement-led Institutional Review

Enhancement-led Institutional Review (ELIR) is the review method for higher education institutions in Scotland.​​​

Higher Education Review: Wales | Adolygiad Addysg Uwch: Cymru

Higher Education Review: Wales is the review method for providers of higher education in Wales from 2014-15. It succeeded Institutional Review (Wales). | Adoly​giad Addysg Uwch: Cymru ydy'r dull adolygu darparwyr addysg uwch yng Nghymru o 2014-15. Disodlodd Adolygiad Sefydliadol (Cymru).

Initial Review

Initial Review is the method that the QAA uses to review higher education provided by providers which have entered into a direct funding relationship with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and who have not been reviewed by QAA since 2006​​

R​evi​ews of high​er education delivered in further education colleges

Higher Education Review

Higher Education Review is the review method for higher education delivered in further education colleges in England from 2013-14. It succeeds Review of College Higher Education.

Review of College Higher Education and Initial Review

Review of College Higher Education (RCHE) was the review method for higher education delivered in further education colleges in England which QAA used in 2012-13. RCHE replaced Integrated Quality and Enhancement Review (IQER) in 2012. Initial Review is the method for higher education provided by providers which have entered into a direct funding relationship with the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) and who have not been reviewed by QAA since 2006.

Integrated Quality and Enhancement Review (Northern Ireland)

Integrated Quality and Enhancement Review (Northern Ireland) (IQER NI) is the review method for higher education delivered in further education colleges in Northern Ireland.

Reviews of higher education delivered by private providers

Educational oversight reviews and reviews for specific course designation are the methods which QAA uses to review higher education delivered by private providers.​​​

Reviews of higher education delivered overseas

Review of Transnational Education is the process for reviewing higher education programmes delivered by UK institutions through partnership links with organisations abroad or delivered on overseas campuses.​​

Reviews of​ professional programmes

QAA is contracted to carry out reviews of higher education provision on some professional programmes, currently this includes osteopathic courses and course providers.

General Osteopathic Council Review

General Osteopathic Council (GOsC) review is the method for reviewing osteopathic courses and course providers, and is carried out by QAA on behalf of the General Osteopathic Council. The purpose of GOsC review is to enable the GOsC to make decisions on the award of Recognised Qualification status to osteopathic education providers.

 
If you are interested in a method not listed ​here, then it may have been discontinued. Please contact us ​​for further information.​​​​
​​​​

The QAA Quality Mark and QAA Review Graphic

The QAA Quality Mark is awarded to higher education providers who are QAA subscribers and who have met or exceeded the UK expectations for quality and standards in their recent review by QAA. It communicates to everyone that an institution has a guaranteed minimum level of quality and standards and is a QAA subscriber.

The QAA  Review Graphic is used by providers who are not QAA subscribers and who have had a successful outcome in their recent QAA review. It communicates to everyone that a provider has reached a high level of the management of quality and standards of UK higher education provision.​

More information about the QAA Quality Mark

The QAA Quality Mark includes the QAA logo, the QAA word mark and the words 'UK Quality Assured'. There are three QAA Quality Marks for use by eligible subscribers depending on their location: England an​d Northern Ireland, Scotland or Wales.

Subscribers eligible to display the QAA Quality Mark are those providers who have gained positive judgements using the following review methods.

From 1 August 2012:

  • Institutional Audit in England and Northern Ireland
  • Institutional Review in England and Northern Ireland​​
  • Enhancement-led Institutional Review in Scotland​
  • Institutional Review in Wales.

From 1 February 2013:

  • Integrated Quality and Enhancement Review​
  • Review of College Higher Education
  • or those who have made a successful application for the award of taught degree-awarding powers or Foundation Degree awarding powers.

From 1 January 2014:

  • Higher Education Review​
  • Higher Education Review Wales
  • Higher Education Review (Plus) (HER +)

From January 2015

  • Higher Education Review (Alternative Providers) for Educational Oversight
  • Higher Education Review (Alternative Providers) for Specific Course Designation​

 

Why we launched the Quality Mark

We are committed to communicating our work clearly to a wide audience, and believe that use of the licensed QAA Quality Mark by eligible QAA subscribers will aid student choice and improve public understanding of higher education standards ​and quality. A licence to use the QAA Quality Mark, which is a trademark protected by law and has not previously been licensed for use by any higher education provider, will also be a benefit for eligible QAA subscribers.​

Who is eligible to display the Quality Mark?

If a provider is eligible for the Quality Mark, it is displayed on their report page.

Read the full terms an​d conditions​ (PDF, 401KB) of use​, which include examples of the Quality Mark.

Further information​​

Read the answers to some fre​quently asked questions.​​

If you have any questions or feedback, please contact us

​​

More information about the QAA Review Graphic

The QAA Review Graphic is a new graphic scheme for providers of higher education who have achieved positive judgements under their most recent QAA review. From December 2015, eligible providers, including those reviewed under educational oversight and specific course designation, will be able to display a QAA Review Graphic on their communications.

The QAA Review Graphic will contain the text 'QAA Reviewed' and 'Quality Assurance Agency for Education' to signal that the provider has had a successful QAA review. There are two QAA Review Graphics for use by eligible providers depending on their location: England and Northern Ireland, or Wales.

Why we introduced the QAA Review Graphic

The QAA Review Graphic has been launched in response to feedback from providers about the educational oversight review graphic, and requests from providers reviewed under other review methods for a graphic of their own. We believe that the use of one generic graphic by providers reviewed successfully under a range of QAA reviews will enable us to communicate our work more clearly to potential students, help student choice and improve public understanding of higher education standards and quality. The QAA Review Graphic replaces the QAA educational oversight review graphic from 1 October 2014.

Who is eligible to display the QAA Review Graphic?

Providers of higher education are eligible for the QAA Review Graphic if they have received positive judgements in their most recent QAA review but are not eligible for the QAA Quality Mark. These are providers who are not QAA subscribers and any QAA subscriber who has not yet had a review under a method which would confer eligibility for the QAA Quality Mark. If a provider is eligible for the Review Graphic, it is displayed on their report page.

Read the full terms and conditions (PDF 375​ KB) of use, which include examples of the review graphic.

Further information

Read the answers to some fr​e​quently asked questions​​.​​

If you have any questions or feedback, please contact us at our QAA Enquiries.​​