Bologna Process

The Bologna Process is a comprehensive process of reforming tertiary level A education. Its aim is to create a European Higher Education Area and to increase the international competitiveness of the European system of higer education. The process was launched in 1999, with the following objectives:

  • Establishment of a system of easily readable and comparable qualifications

  • Establishment of a two-tier study system (Bachelor's/Master's degree)

  • Introduction of a credit system (ECTS)

  • Promotion of mobility and removal of obstacles to student and staff mobility

  • Promotion of European cooperation on quality assurance and evaluation

  • Promotion of the European dimension in the higher education system

Switzerland signed the Bologna Declaration in 1999. This led to a comprehensive reform of structures and the content of degree programmes at all Swiss tertiary level A institutions (universities, Federal Institutes of Technology [ETH], universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education). Among other things, the single-tier study structure at the universities (four to five years of full-time study; qualification: licentiate degree or diploma) and at the universities of applied sciences / universities of teacher education (at least three years of full-time study; qualification: diploma) were converted into a two-tier system with Bachelor's and Master's degrees.

With the Bologna Directives, the Swiss University Conference (SUC) laid out the legal framework for the introduction of the Bologna Reform at the universities. The Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities (CRUS) was empowered to coordinate and to implement. The Council of the Universities of Applied Sciences issued its own directives for implementation of the Bologna Declaration at the universities of applied sciences and universities of teacher education. The Rectors' Conference of the Swiss Universities of Applied Sciences (KFH) and the Swiss Conference of Rectors of Universities of Teacher Education (COHEP) were responsible for coordination and implementation of the reform.

In 2010, the European ministers responsible for higher education launched the European Higher Education Area. But they noted that in the coming years, further adjustments and development work are necessary. Structurally, implementation of the Bologna Process in Switzerland is almost completed, followed by a phase of consolidation of the reform, focused on content-related aspects.

In the Bologna context a national qualifications framework for the higher Swiss education sector has been adopted. It describes and defines the higher education levels in Switzerland inter alia on the basis of the admission conditions and qualifications. The qualifications framework is intended to serve as an orientation tool for the higher education institutions to develop and describe their study courses and programmes. It is also designed to improve information about the Swiss higher education system, particularly with regard to teaching. Finally, it facilitates the comparability of qualifications in Europe and enhances transparency.

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Last update of this page: 11.09.2017

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