Academic Recognition: The Value of a Good Accreditation

The last academic year has been extraordinarily intense for most of the departments at the University of New York in Prague. Three of them (Business Administration; Mass Media and Communication; and International Economic Relations) submitted their reaccreditation at the end of 2012 to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic. The Accreditation Commission of the Czech Republic, an academic body composed of scholars from different disciplines, assesses the programs submitted and takes decision about granting or extending the accreditation or denying it if they feel that the programs do not satisfy the Ministry criteria.

The amount of documentation required (with details ranging from the university facilities to the academic profiles of each individual instructor teaching in the program) is huge, and makes the reaccreditation a very lengthy process. Cooperation from faculty members and administrators was essential in order to prepare all the documents needed and submit the application within the deadline. As Chair of the Department of International Economic Relations, I am really proud of all the team for the work they did that concluded with the extension of our accreditation for another four years.

Compared to other universities in the region, the position of the Department of International Economic Relations at UNYP in terms of accreditations of their bachelor programs is very advantageous. The American Bachelor program in International and Economic Relations offered by UNYP has a double accreditation. The first one is a product of our strategic partnership with the State University of New York-Empire State College. Through Empire State College, our bachelor program has an accreditation awarded by the Middle State Commission on Higher Education, one of the major accrediting bodies in the USA, and the degree obtained by our graduates is immediately recognized in that country. On the other hand, the Czech accreditation awarded by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports of the Czech Republic puts our degrees at the same level as all other bachelor degrees awarded by other public and private Czech institutions of higher education, making the degree awarded by UNYP immediately recognized in the Czech Republic. Thanks to the efforts of the Bologna process that aims to map the European educational space and identify how the degrees in these countries can be considered equivalent, having a degree accredited in the Czech Republic is a very valuable asset, since recognition in other European countries will be much easier. Having the double accreditation is a very advantageous factor that enables UNYP graduates’ capacity to travel and work or study in other countries.

Since our graduates obtain the American degree on completing the credit load (128 credits, 32 of them in Empire State College courses), we recommend our students to also conclude their Czech degree. In order to be eligible for it, students need to complete the “state exams.” Despite their name, the state exams take place on UNYP’s premises, are held in English language, and the examiners are a panel of UNYP instructors and a “guest” professor from another university (usually a Czech public university). The exam is an oral examination in which the candidates will have to answer four questions from a pool of around one hundred, covering the most important aspects studied in the core courses of the major. Also, the final thesis of the student will be part of the exam, and its contents will be presented and assessed by the panel of examiners. If the students manage to pass the exam they will receive the UNYP Czech bachelor degree.

The Department of International Economic Relation is proud that our bachelor degree holds a double accreditation that helps students to pursue academic and professional opportunities both in Europe and North America. In our globalized world, professional mobility is critical and a double degree makes it really possible.

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