Higher Education and Research

The Bologna Process – Main issues

The establishment of a European Higher Education Area by 2010 is a very comprehensive process. Below you will find the list of main issues within the Bologna process. We have classified them in two groups:

    - the first one consists of the “core Bologna subjects” which refer to the action lines outlined in the Bologna Declaration, the Prague Communiqué and the Berlin Communiqué
    - in the second group you will find a number of issues that are related to the Bologna Process and that are partly discussed within the Bologna framework but which do not constitute an official part of the process

We have made both lists according to the discussions that have taken place so far, so it is possible that some additional topics will be included at a later date.

Some of the topics are very much interconnected and we have tried to address this aspect by linking every topic to other related issues. We provide a list of important and useful documents, but if you feel something is missing or have a document you think would be useful – please write to higher.education.research@coe.int. We reserve the right to decide whether or not to include any documentation forwarded.

If you are interested in some general documents on the Bologna Process (not related to any specific topic but to the Process as a whole) please click here.

Core Bologna subjects 

  • - Implementation of the two-cycle system - implementation of two cycles, learning outcomes, structure and content of qualifications, employment and progression towards the second degree
  • - “easily readable and comparable degrees” and recognition of degrees and parts of study – international conventions and agreements, good practice, recognition of non-formal and informal learning, ENIC/NARIC network, national information centres, Diploma Supplement
  • - ECTS – credit transfer and accumulation system, connection with curricula reform and qualifications, connection with mobility and recognition
  • - Mobility of students and staff – European mobility programmes, bilateral and multilateral cooperation, obstacles and possible solutions
  • - Quality assurance (and accreditation) – international cooperation and networks, national quality assurance systems and institutional quality culture and evaluation
  • - The European dimension of higher education – joint degrees, EUA Joint Masters Programme
  • - Lifelong learning
  • - Student participation and higher education governance
  • - The social dimension of the Bologna process
  • - The attractiveness of European Higher Education Area
  • - The European Research Area
  • - Accession of new countries – both those who recently joined the process and rules and procedures for future accessions

Related issues 

  • - Trade in education and GATS – WTO’s General Agreement on Trade in Services, implications for higher education, responses of various stakeholders, UNESCO Global Forum on Quality Assurance, Accreditation and the Recognition of Qualifications
  • - Transnational education – quality assurance, recognition and connection with GATS
  • - Interesting regional developments – South East Europe, Commonwealth of Independent States, Nordic countries, Baltic states, other regions of the world
  • - Bruges – Copenhagen process – “Bologna” in the field of vocational training
  • - Higher education legislationUNESCO CEPES