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International Quality Review (IQR) has five key stages including analysing and evaluating your own processes, taking part in an external review by QAA’s peer reviewers and follow-up action planning.

If you are interested in undertaking IQR, you should submit an application and provide relevant evidence demonstrating that your institution is eligible. This is scrutinised by a QAA panel that determines whether your institution can proceed to the scoping stage.

The second stage of IQR is a scoping visit to your institution, which enables you to learn more about IQR and requirements for a review, and QAA to assess whether your institution is ready to proceed to the review stage.

The scoping visit will involve two QAA experts visiting your institution to:

  • meet with key staff and students, and tour your facilities
  • deliver a briefing on the IQR process and answer any questions you might have
  • gather further information in order to determine whether to recommend your institution for review, and, if so, the number of days required for the review visit.

Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have introduced virtual visits as an interim approach for conducting the scoping visit.

Further information is available in our IQR virtual scoping and review visits update.


The Review is the opportunity for your institution to demonstrate how it meets each of the 10 Standards of the ESG. The review team conducts the review through analysis of the evidence submitted and a visit to the institution.


The QAA review team will undertake a desk-based study of the documentation and other evidence that you provide in advance. The team will then visit your institution for between 2-4 days to check your approaches to quality assurance against your self-evaluation document, the evidence provided and the 10 standards.


There are three possible outcomes of the review:

  • the institution meets all the standards for IQR
  • the institution meets all the standards for IQR subject to meeting specific conditions
  • the institution does not meet the standards for IQR.

The review panel will put forward a recommendation to the QAA Accreditation Panel on whether or not Institutional Accreditation should be awarded.


Due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have introduced virtual visits as an interim approach for conducting the review visit. 

Further information is available in our IQR virtual scoping and review visits update.


The QAA Accreditation Panel considers the report and recommendation and determines if your institution should be awarded Institutional Accreditation.


A successful IQR enables you to demonstrate, through the right to display the IQR Accreditation Badge, that your quality assurance processes are both effective and comparable with international best practice. Refer to the Badge Guidelines for details of its use.


The accreditation period is five years and is subject to a satisfactory mid-cycle review.


The mid-cycle review takes place two to three years after a successful review and is a desk-based study. Your institution will be asked to provide evidence that it is addressing any recommendations and other findings from the IQR review, and a QAA Review Manager will evaluate your response. You will also be asked to outline any changes that might impact on the extent to which the standards are being met.


A successful mid-cycle review is required to retain the QAA Accreditation Badge for the full five years.



The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and associated restrictions will prevent QAA from undertaking in-person visits for the foreseeable future. We have therefore introduced, as an interim approach, virtual scoping and review visits as part of Stages 2 and 3 of IQR.


Information about virtual scoping and review visits is available in our update below.

A flowchart providing an overview of the IQR process is available below:

Method Handbook

Full information about each stage of the IQR method is available in the handbook below.


International Quality Review: Method Handbook for Higher Education Institutions Outside the UK

Publication date: 09 Nov 2022

ENQA review report on QAA, 2018

International Quality Review, offered by QAA to overseas providers, is established as a well-documented and demanding process, fully in line with the ESG.