Dual Awards, Friend or Foe?


Competition dynamics affecting academic contexts require universities to have the ability to respond quickly to changes, and to influence trends even before those changes occur. The practices undertaken by institutions to cope with the global environment span from collaborative arrangements fostering mobility of staff and students, all the way to initiatives aimed at enhancing the internationalisation of curricula. Collaborative degree programmes such as dual degree programmes, complement provisions by awarding two individual qualifications at equivalent levels upon completion of the collaborative programme requirements, established by the two partner institutions in their two different countries. The major challenges of a dual degree relate to the design of the curriculum, and to the definition of the completion requirements. Earning two degrees from two institutions in two countries is appealing; however, alignment of regulations and customs, quality assurance and accreditation, language of delivery, fees and financing require careful attention. The dual award run by Nottingham Business School (NBS) and National Sun Yat Sen University (NSYSU) is an innovative response to the internationalisation agenda. The purpose of this presentation is to reflect critically on the process undertaken by HEIs to establish a dual degree, in particular giving consideration to how challenges can be overcome.