A group of five university students sit around a desk studying and chatting with the sun behind them shining through a window.
Image: © Jacob Lund/Stock.adobe.com

What is a European degree and how would it work?

29 Mar 2024

The European Commission has been toying with the universal degree system idea for a while but it looks set to make it a reality with its latest proposals.

The European Commission has adopted a series of proposals to eventually introduce a European degree. The bloc is planning to create a third-level qualification that will be recognised by all EU member states.

The strategy is part of the EU’s ambition to make academic careers and higher education more accessible and attractive. One way of doing this is to ensure academics and students can have their qualifications recognised anywhere they travel.

For the bloc’s higher education institutes, a universal European degree would help with quality assurance. They could run joint academic programmes with less paperwork or other obstacles.

The degree will also build on the EU’s existing education campaigns such as the European Year of Skills, which is heavily promoting digital and green skills courses in particular.

The EU has been trying to bring in something akin to a universal European degree for some years now.

According to the proposals, the European degree at bachelor’s, master’s or doctoral level would be awarded jointly and voluntarily by universities across the region, meaning the Commission needs institutions to come on board if the degree is to become a reality. Higher Education Institutions also have to agree on a common set of criteria for the qualifications.

Depending on how negotiations on the proposals go, the European degree could be adopted or the bloc might take a more gradual approach. This would mean that students in certain programmes that meet the criteria would be awarded a European degree label certificate with their joint degree.

Member States will be aided through the process with a European degree ‘policy lab’, a dedicated team comprised of education experts, policymakers, accreditation agencies, students and EU partner organisations, to be set up on 2025. The lab members will iron out the details of the degree. There will also be an annual degree forum for discussions and progress monitoring.

Find out how emerging tech trends are transforming tomorrow with our new podcast, Future Human: The Series. Listen now on Spotify, on Apple or wherever you get your podcasts.

Blathnaid O’Dea
By Blathnaid O’Dea

Blathnaid O’Dea worked as a Careers reporter until 2024, coming from a background in the Humanities. She likes people, pranking, pictures of puffins – and apparently alliteration.

Loading now, one moment please! Loading