What are academic regulations, and what is their purpose?
The purpose of academic regulations is to present degree programmes correctly and explain what people should expect of them. The target group comprises students, teachers and any other interested parties. Academic regulations also reveal a correlation between the individual exams, academic objectives, course objectives and overall qualification profile of each degree programme, as well as ensuring that the level of each programme complies with the qualification framework and European standards.
Academic regulations are important documents in terms of managing academic and educational practice. They are a signal to the rest of the world about what are regarded as core qualifications and core competences in a given degree programme, as well as describing the way in which learning takes place and how it is assessed.
Academic regulations also contain the rules on which degree programmes are based. The compulsory sections of academic regulations are predefined by ministerial orders issued by the ministry.
More information about the production of academic regulations.
More information about the formal rules for academic regulations.
Academic regulations are divided into the following sections: 1. About the degree programme, 2. Degree programme structure, 3. General rules, and 4. Changes in the academic regulations, which you can read more about below.
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The section entitled “About the degree programme” describes the academic direction and main subject areas of a degree programme and contains its qualification profile.
Degree programme structure
The section entitled “Degree programme structure” contains a study diagram revealing the structure of the degree programme, as well as descriptions of the purpose, academic objectives, assessment criteria, forms of examination and forms of teaching of the courses concerned. It also explains the progression and alignment between the various parts of the degree programme.
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The section entitled “General rules” is updated once a year and describes the current rules applying to the degree programme. More information about the formal rules for academic regulations.
The section entitled “Changes in academic regulations” describes the changes made in the current academic regulations since they came into force, and when these changes were made.
Academic regulations contain all the general information about a degree programme, its purpose, structure, rules, courses and exams. It is important that students and teachers are familiar with the academic regulations because they are legally binding.
The course catalogue contains specific information about the courses that are currently on offer. This information often changes from one year to the next. For instance, there might be new information about elective subjects, current themes, teachers, planning, and the language in which courses are conducted. The course catalogue is based on the descriptions and rules contained in the academic regulations. So the information in the course catalogue can never replace the information in the academic regulations. It will always be additional information.
The academic regulations are not only the legal basis of a degree programme but also a framework for academic and educational practice. So they are read by many different people. Academic regulations must give their readers a clear understanding and overview of the degree programme concerned. Here are the main groups of readers:
Academic regulations are read by many different people, so it is important to consider the best way of communicating to them all. The following points should be explained clearly:
In recent years, the circumstances applying to university teaching (and therefore to academic regulations as well) have changed. Among other things, this is due to the Bologna process, the idea of learning-oriented academic regulations, a political focus on the quality system, and the financial situation in the world of education. These changes also have consequences for the way in which the Faculty of Arts designs its academic regulations, and consequently the vice-dean for education has reviewed the faculty’s degree programmes and defined the requirements arising from this new situation. The faculty’s academic regulations must:
Among other things, the new requirements are the result of:
During the past 20 years, the Bologna process in the European Union has played a particularly significant role in ensuring that university degree programmes in Europe adhere to common standards. The aim is that the knowledge, skills and competences gained at Bachelor level in Denmark (for instance) should correspond to the level gained at Bachelor level in the rest of Europe. This can be achieved by using the qualification framework for programmes of higher education. Our academic regulations must ensure that the qualification profile and therefore the academic objectives of our degree programmes reflect the definitions and standards outlined in the qualification framework.
Academic regulations at the Faculty of Arts must be learning-oriented, which means that the teaching, working methods and forms of examination must focus on student learning processes. If the focus is placed on learning, decisions about academic regulations will be based first on what is best for learning; and then on what is best from the perspective of teachers, departments, stakeholders, the institution in question and students. It is not always easy to strike a balance between these often conflicting interests. SNUK can help our departments to meet these challenges during the production of academic regulations.
Political focus on the quality system
Our departments are not alone in wanting to create the best possible university degree programmes. There is also increasing political focus on the quality system of these programmes. The quality system monitors degree programmes once a year in terms of the following parameters: drop-out rate, progression, teaching activity, teaching evaluation, study environment, percentage of teaching done by researchers, and employment rates. As a result, the status and plans of action of our degree programmes with regard to these parameters must be taken into account when drafting and revising academic regulations. This is because if changes need to be made in any of these parameters, the academic regulations are often the best place to do this. In particular, it is important to focus on the intensity with which the students approach their studies and the relevance of our degree programmes in relation to future employment opportunities. When developing academic regulations, it is therefore important that their structure promotes the opportunities of students to complete their degree programmes within the prescribed time. It is also important that the relevance of our degree programmes and the courses they contain is communicated clearly to the students so they understand the link between their degree programme and the employment opportunities available to them on various labour markets.
In view of the financial situation in the world of education (the government’s degree programme resizing initiative and demand for two percent cuts in education over a number of years), there is a need to keep an eye on the resources invested in academic regulations – not only in terms of the teaching and exams involved, but also in terms of the administrative tasks required. Consequently, during the development of academic regulations it is important to remember that the consumption of resources is subject to approval before such regulations come into force.
Academic regulations should be worded in a manner that lays down the rules but also allows opportunities for development and variation. To ensure that the decisions made when drafting academic regulations are both coherent and consistent, our departments might find the following principles useful: