A more precise description of university degrees: New qualifications framework of KMK and HRK

30. March 2017

The Standing Conference of the Ministers of Education and Cultural Affairs of the Länder in the Federal Republic of Germany (KMK) has approved the enhancement of the "Qualifications Framework for Higher Education Qualifications" (HQR), first published in 2005, which was formulated in cooperation with the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK). The HRQ is a key component of the German Qualifications Framework and corresponds to its levels 6, 7 and 8.

The enhancement has been initiated and prepared by the HRK because it had become evident, particularly in the context of assigning professional qualifications to the trans-sectoral "German Qualifications Framework" (DQR), that the HQR of 2005 did not describe the specifics of higher education clearly enough. The enhanced HQR was adopted by the KMK in coordination with the BMBF and with the involvement of stakeholders of the Bologna Process.

The German Qualifications Framework is an instrument of transparency and serves to better compare study and training programmes at the national and international level. The HQR provides information to prospective students and employers, supports the evaluation and accreditation process and facilitates curriculum development. It provides a general description of what graduates at the bachelor‘s, master's and doctoral levels are expected to know, understand and be able to do. Key categories are the ability to act reflectively and innovatively on the basis of scientific knowledge on the one hand, and the ability to apply scientific methods and generate new knowledge as a result on the other hand. Furthermore, a distinction is made between reflective knowledge application (taking account of scientific findings) and critical knowledge generation (with scientific methods)

No entitlements result from the assignment of degrees to the levels. These arise from the regulations of the Federal and State Governments.

The "translation" of the HQR into subject-specific qualifications frameworks would be helpful for the design of study programmes. The HRK will support academics in higher education institutions as well as in faculty and discipline associations in this task.

The qualifications framework (in German only) can be accessed on the web pages of the HRK and KMK.