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The Bologna Process and Its Impact in Europe: It’s So Much More than Degree Changes

Posted by on Tuesday, July 24, 2012 in Articles, Vol. 41 No. 1, Volume 41, Volumes.

The Bologna Process is a massive, multi-year project designed to create the “European Higher Education Area” by the year 2010.  It began ten years ago, when four European Union (EU) countries signed a relatively vague declaration.  It has grown to include forty-six countries, including all of the EU Member States and nineteen non-EU countries.  The Bologna Process countries have agreed on ten “action lines” for restructuring European higher education.  These action lines are nothing short of revolutionary—they address everything from a three-cycle degree system (e.g., bachelor-master’s-doctorate degrees), European-wide quality assurance efforts, mobility of higher education students and staff, “recognition” in one European country of studies undertaken in another European country, and the suitability of education for the marketplace.  Because of the number of countries participating in the Bologna Process, its ambitious goals, and its demonstrated commitment to achieving those goals, the Bologna Process is an extremely significant development that will be important not only in Europe but elsewhere in the world.  This Article is designed to provide “one-stop shopping” for understanding the Bologna Process, which will allow the reader to learn about all of its initiatives and action lines, and to understand and place in context future developments.  This Article covers developments through the May 2007 London Ministerial meeting. It concludes with an examination of the impact of the Bologna Process on European higher education, including legal education.

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