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Levels of accreditation

The EEAA accreditation scheme makes a dual statement of comparability to two other existing frameworks. The first is the UNESCO International Standard Classification of Education (ISCED) that supplies a methodology to translate national educational programmes into an internationally comparable set of categories for the levels of education. The second framework is found in the worldwide nomenclature generally recognized within the networks of schools associated with the International Council for Theological Education (ICETE) that provides international evangelical “peer-review accreditation”, and facilitates mutual international recognition between institutions of degrees and programmes. This common theology-degree nomenclature also grants a high level of international recognizability by missions, denominations and potential employers of graduates. Having an accredited programme with the EEAA means that the school’s degrees will usually be recognized by evangelicals worldwide and that the school itself has succeeded in reaching significant quality standards in theological higher education.

The scenario of evangelical theological education in Europe is varied and, in order to provide relevant quality assurance to as many kinds of schools possible, the EEAA is currently involved in accreditation that uses the following nomenclature leading to a statement of comparability to the following levels.

  • The EEAA Certificate certifies to basic short programmes of theological education.  They should normally correspond to the equivalent of one full-time academic year and consist of 60 ECTS credits. There is no ISCED comparability for this kind of programme, whereas in most ICETE-related schools they are referred to as a Certificate in Theology. The academic level of these programmes should be equivalent to the first year of the Vocational Bachelor qualification.
  • The EEAA Diploma certifies shorter “practically oriented/occupationally specific” programmes of theological education suited particularly, but not exclusively, to those intending to prepare for work in Christian ministries (e.g. Ministry among Children & Youth, Evangelism & Mission). They should normally last two years and consist of 120 ECTS credits. This kind of programme corresponds to the Minimum Qualification at Level 5B in the ISCED framework, whereas in most ICETE-related schools they are referred to as a Diploma in Theology (DipTh).  The level of these programmes should be equivalent to the first two years of the Vocational Bachelor qualification.
  • The EEAA Vocational Bachelor certifies “practically oriented/occupationally specific” programmes of theological education for the professional preparation of candidates for ordination or other forms of recognised Christian service. They should normally last three years and consist of 180 ECTS credits. This kind of programme corresponds to a First full Qualification at level 5B in the ISCED framework, whereas in most ICETE-related schools they are referred to as a Bachelor of Theology (BTh).  These programmes are generally of less academic intensity and with a greater emphasis on the practical application of knowledge than is found in the traditional university context.
  • The EEAA Academic Bachelor certifies “theoretically based/research preparatory” programmes of theological education. They should normally last three years and consist of 180 ECTS credits. This kind of programme corresponds to the First Qualification at level 5A in the ISCED framework, whereas in most ICETE-related schools it is referred to as a Bachelor of Arts in… (BA).  These programmes should comparable to a first university degree in national higher education (First Cycle in the Bologna Framework).
  • The EEAA Postgraduate Certificate certifies either “practically oriented/occupationally specific” or “theoretically based/research preparatory” programmes for those already in possession of an undergraduate degree. In the EHEA their duration is usually is 6 months to one year (30 – 60 ECTS). Programmes may be consecutive or non-consecutive (i.e. designed for graduates of another field of studies).
  • The EEAA Vocational Master certifies “practically oriented/occupationally specific” programmes for the preparation for Christian Ministry of those already in possession of an undergraduate degree. In the EHEA their duration is usually is two years (120 ECTS). This kind of programme corresponds to the Second full Qualification at level 5B in the ISCED framework and is referred to in ICETE-related schools as Master of Theology (MTh). Programmes may be consecutive or non-consecutive (i.e. designed for graduates of another field of studies). In this second case many schools extend postgraduate professional training for ordination to three years or 180 ECTS in order to bring it in line with the internationally acknowledged Master of Divinity (MDiv). Vocational Master programmes are generally of less academic intensity and with a greater emphasis on the practical application of knowledge than is found in the traditional university context.
  • The EEAA Academic Master certifies “theoretically based/research preparatory” 1-2 year (90-120 ECTS) graduate programmes in theological studies. This kind of programme corresponds to the Second Qualification at level 5A in the ISCED framework whereas in most ICETE-related schools they are referred to as a Master of Arts in… (MA).  These programmes should be at the same level as a second university degree in national higher education (Second Cycle in the Bologna Framework).
  • The EEAA currently does not accredit doctoral level programmes.

It should be noted that both Bachelor and Master levels contain an important distinction between vocational and academic-oriented programmes. This distinction reflects an emerging trend in Europe to distinguish tertiary level academic studies from professionally oriented higher education. While both types of studies are of an academic nature and require the acquisition of theoretically-founded structural knowledge and methodological-analytical skills, vocational programmes at each level may emphasise professional applications or more theory-oriented learning.

Further information can be found in the EEAA Manual (Download Area).

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