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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.

The Review is the opportunity for your institution to demonstrate how it meets each of the 10 Standards. 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.

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 QAA Accreditation Badge International, that your quality assurance processes are both effective and comparable with international best practice.


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.

Further information about the IQR process is available in our introductory guide:


International Quality Review: An Introduction

Publication Date: 19 Nov 2019