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Keeping Track of Recognition Issues

Study Abroad & Recognition

The following list of basic principles, guidelines and templates should make the recognition of study achievements from abroad (one or two semesters) as transparent as possible for all persons involved.

The employees of TU Dortmund University are obligated to adhere to legal principles when recognizing study achievements from abroad and thus to adhere to the principles of the Lisbon Recognition Convention when recognizing them.

The Rectorate of TU Dortmund University strongly supports students in every respect to carry out a mobility abroad. Recognition should not be a hurdle for international mobility. In this context, consultation between the students and the responsible persons in the respective department BEFORE the stay abroad is of great importance.

Well Informed

The German Rectors' Conference (HRK) deals extensively with the topic "Strengthening everything around mobility and permeability: Recognition and Crediting at Universities" and has posted the following definition on its website regarding the HRK MODUS project:

An­er­ken­nung an Hoch­schu­len be­zieht sich auf Kom­pe­ten­zen, Qualifikationen oder Leis­tun­gen, die an Hochschulen erbracht wur­den und mit dem Ziel der Fort­set­zung des Stu­di­ums in ei­nem anderen Stu­di­en­gang oder an einer anderen Hoch­schu­le anerkannt wer­den. Die An­er­ken­nung kann sich dabei auf einzelne Module oder ganze Abschlüsse beziehen.

Grund­la­ge für die An­er­ken­nung in Deutsch­land ist die Lissabon-Konvention, die die Prüfung hinsichtlich eines we­sent­li­chen Unterschieds im Kompetenzerwerb in den Mit­tel­punkt stellt und An­er­ken­nung als Regelfall betrachtet sowie die je­wei­ligen Landeshochschulgesetze.“ 

This translates to:

Recognition at universities refers to competencies, qualifications or achievements that have been obtained at higher education institutions and are recognized with the aim of continuing studies in another degree program or at another university. Recognition can refer to individual modules or entire degrees.

The basis for recognition in Germany is the Lisbon Convention, which focuses on the examination with regard to a substantial difference in the acquisition of competencies and regards recognition as the rule, as well as the respective state higher education laws.

  1. Reversal of the burden of proof: The burden of proof lies with the university to prove that academic achievements from abroad cannot be recognized due to substantial differences.

  2. Significant difference: Recognition can only be denied if significant differences are identified. The acquired competencies are the basis of the assessment.

  3. Obligation to give reasons for refusal and right of appeal: A refusal of recognition is subject to the obligation to give reasons. If recognition is refused, the applicant has the right to appeal. In addition, an established appeal procedure must be in place.

  4. Prohibition of discrimination: The evaluation of a qualification is carried out without regard to certain characteristics of the applicant.

  5. Transparency requirement: The procedures and criteria for the assessment and recognition of qualifications must be transparent, uniform and reliable.

  6. Availability of adequate information: Sufficient information about the foreign qualification must be available in order to make an appropriate assessment. Its provision is the responsibility of the applicant. The qualification-issuing institution has a corresponding duty to provide information to the applicant or the institution from which recognition is sought, upon request and within a reasonable period of time.

  7. Reasonable period of time: Recognition decisions must be made within a reasonable period of time specified in advance.

For each Erasmus+ program generation, higher education institutions must submit an application to the Executive Agency in Brussels (EACEA). Based on this higher education policy statement (European Policy Statement), TU Dortmund University received an Erasmus+ Charter for Higher Education (2020) from the EU Commission for the program generation 2021 to 2027.  

In order to be allowed to participate in Erasmus+ as a higher education institution, the recognition of study achievements abroad on the basis of an Online Learning Agreement is mandatory.

Therefore, it is mandatory for all Erasmus+ outgoings to complete an Online Learning Agreement BEFORE the mobility.

In contrast to the Erasmus+ program, the recognition of study achievements that are completed within the framework of university-wide exchange programs, departmental cooperations and independently organized study abroad is not linked to program participation. Nevertheless, the same legal principles apply to these stays abroad (see Lisbon Recognition Convention and "Anerkennungsordnung" of TU Dortmund University).

Students who go abroad outside of the Erasmus+ program are provided with a Learning Agreement  prepared by the International Office, which they  agree upon with their departmental academic advisor BEFORE the stay abroad.

The contact persons in the departments are usually the same people who advise Erasmus+ students.

Information for students can be found in the checklist for stays abroad under "Recognition ...".

1. Erasmus+

In the Erasmus+ program, the International Office regularly checks how many ECTS credits students have earned abroad and how many ECTS credits have been recognized at TU Dortmund University - if the difference is conspicuously large, discussions are held with the Erasmus+ departmental coordinators and, if necessary, the Deans.

2. HRK Workshop

In 2021, TU Dortmund University sought support from the HRK and an expert from the University of Graz on the topic of "Recognition of study achievements abroad".

Thus, a project group with actors from different departments, the administration, the Vice President International Affairs and a representative of the students was brought together. Within the framework of a process analysis and a virtual meeting with all participants in June 2021, the topic was approached from different perspectives.

One outcome of the workshop was to look at the processes in the individual departments. Each department thus submitted process documentation, which overall showed that a majority of all departments have installed comparable processes. Often, the Erasmus+ departmental coordinators / representatives for international affairs and the chairpersons of the examination boards are the main contact persons for students. In order to make the responsibilities transparent, the different contact persons are listed on this page.