The basic prerequisite for successful international mobility is the recognition of academic credits and higher education qualifications. How are the qualifications awarded by German and foreign universities assessed, classified and recognised? The basis for the recognition of higher education qualifications in the European Higher Education Area is outlined in the
Lisbon Convention of 1997.
Provided that there are no substantial differences between the foreign and German qualifications, they are to be recognised. Academic accreditation, however, remains at the discretion of the universities.
In addition, there are bilateral, governmental equivalency agreements between Germany and, mainly, European countries. The details of these agreements are prepared by the German Rectors' Conference (HRK) and the Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs (KMK).
HRK Framework Agreements are concluded between the HRK, representing the interests of German universities, and non-European partner organisations to improve international cooperation in higher education.
The cotutelle de thèse is a particular form of international cooperation in higher education where the procedure for gaining a doctorate is supervised by two universities. On a bi-national doctoral programme, the doctoral student has two supervisors and experience of two institutions and two different research systems.
International mobility of foreign academics requires the conditions of entry and residence for research stays in Germany to be both transparent and favourable. To provide support and orientation for researchers as well as for university administrative bodies, the HRK has compiled an "Overview of the possible residence permits for academics from third-party countries under the German Residence Act".
To facilitate the recognition of higher education qualifications, the Diploma Supplement (DS), given to all those graduating from a Bachelor’s or Master’s programme, also includes an overview of the German Higher Education System.