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Recognized higher education institution / recognized higher education institution degree

Recognized higher education institution

A foreign higher education institution is recognized by the University of Basel

  • if this recognition is stated in an agreement, a contract, or a binding arrangement with the Swiss Confederation or the University of Basel


  • if it has been state-approved or accredited in the relevant education system and can award doctorates, meaning it has the right to offer academic doctorates (PhD) and confer the respective degree.

As a rule, a higher education institution and its degrees are not recognized if they fail to fulfil either of the above criteria.
Higher education institutions in the USA (university or college) are recognized only if accredited by one of the following seven regional accreditation organizations: ACCJC, HLC, MSCHE, NECHE, NWCCU, SACSCOC, WSCUC.

In countries with education systems that make no institutional distinction between universities, universities of applied sciences, and universities for teacher education (1-pillar system), a degree is allocated to a type of higher education institution (university, university of applied sciences, university of teacher education) in accordance with the comparable degree program in the Swiss education system (2-pillar system).   

Recognized higher education institution degree

A higher education institution degree is only formally recognized if all of the following requirements are fulfilled:

  • The academic degree/title has state recognition in the relevant educational system.
  • The degree program is recognized/accredited by the official government agency in the respective educational system.
  • The degree was conferred by a recognized higher education institution and at least 80% of the credits were obtained at a recognized higher education institution.
  • The degree was earned at bachelor’s/master’s level or an equivalent level. Continuing education degrees (MAS, DAS, CAS, EMBA, postgraduate qualifications, etc.) are not recognized for admission.

A degree acquired through a distance learning program must fulfil the following additional requirements:

  • The course achievements of the distance learning program are comparable with those of a corresponding on-campus program in the respective educational system.
  • The degree achieved through the distance learning program must enable admission to further studies at the next educational level, including on-campus programs, in the respective educational system.
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