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Our Elective Quality Review (EQR) offers the opportunity to have a cyclical quality enhancement review by QAA. This service draws on QAA’s 25 years of experience as a world-leading quality body with unmatched expertise designing and operating reviews in the UK and internationally.

During the review, our team of experts will analyse your arrangements for quality assurance and standards, against international standards including Part 1 of the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG). This will enable you to demonstrate your commitment to both external scrutiny and quality enhancement. A successful review allows you to display the QAA Quality Mark.

EQR can provide independent assurances to your stakeholders about the standard of academic awards and quality of learning experience, promoting your reputation and brand. This is particularly beneficial when recruiting international students where evidence of cyclical review is often expected. The service can also provide independent evidence for prospective partners and overseas agencies to support the approval of new partnership arrangements including transnational education.

This service is available to providers in England registered with the Office for Students. This service focuses on the elements of the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG) not explicitly addressed through the OfS conditions for registration, enabling you to demonstrate full alignment with the ESG. Watch our video to find out more.


Benefits of a successful review include:

  • Public statement of confidence provided by an independent quality assurance agency on the European Quality Assurance Register (EQAR).  
  • Greater institutional control over how and when you engage in external quality assurance. 
  • Demonstration of commitment to external scrutiny of quality assurance and the enhancement of quality. 
  • Assurances that the standards of your academic awards and quality of the learning experience are in line with international standards (Part 1 of the ESG). 
  • Exploration of enhancement initiatives, selected by you, which can lead to verified statements of good practice in the report. 
  • Independent evidence to support approval of new international partnership arrangements including transnational education. 
  • Professional advice on enhancement and tailored follow-up activity.
  • Eligibility to use the QAA Quality Mark on your website and marketing materials.

What you can expect

Your cyclical review will take place every five years, using a flexible, proportionate and tailored approach. Follow-up activity provides additional advice and support.

You can expect the following from EQR:

  • Detailed analysis of your approach to maintaining quality and standards by experts in higher education review. 
  • Advice and guidance on producing a self-assessment document and supporting evidence against ESG expectations not covered by the OfS conditions of registration. 
  • Visit to your provider to gather information and explore themes with stakeholders. 
  • Comprehensive written report, published on the QAA website.
  • Advice on creating an action plan to address report outcomes.
  • Mid-cycle enhancement engagement with QAA experts to explore progress, resulting in further advice and a confidential written report.   

Optional modules

Two optional modules can further demonstrate your commitment to quality and enhancement. 


Supplementary Engagement

  • A supportive mid-cycle enhancement engagement by QAA experts, with greater scope and depth than the standard mid-cycle engagement, focusing on enhancement initiatives selected by you.
  • Detailed written report containing confidential advice and guidance.

Academic Integrity

  • Additional analysis conducted during the review looking specifically at compliance with the principles of QAA’s Academic Integrity Charter
  • Written commentary and potential recommendations about your approach to academic integrity.

Guidance for providers

We have published detailed guidance for providers who have either chosen to undertake an EQR, or are interested and would like to know more. The document below is intended to give you all the information you need to understand how the review will be conducted and the activities that will take place. You can also contact us if you have any questions about what’s involved.

Elective Quality Review: Guidance for providers

Publication date: 20 Nov 2023

Contact us

To find out more about what’s included, and to register your interest, contact our dedicated QAA team who will be happy to help.

*This service is available to English providers registered with the Office for Students, including universities, colleges and independent providers. QAA cannot provide this service for providers based in the other nations of the UK, as this would conflict with QAA’s existing role to provide formal assessments in those nations.