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The conference "Evaluation of doctoral studies in Croatia – overview of re-accreditation", organized by the Agency for Science and Higher Education (ASHE), was held on 23 September 2020.

The purpose of the conference was to open a discussion on the quality of PhD study programmes in Croatia, primarily through the presentation of the key findings resulting from the re-accreditation of doctoral studies in Croatia conducted by ASHE from 2016 to 2019.

“The main goal of the re-accreditation of doctoral study programmes is to ensure that higher education qualifications awarded with the academic degree "doctor of science" reflect study programmes of high quality, which are internationally comparable and renowned. During the past three years we evaluated 114 PhD study programmes, and some of them were recognized as having a high level of quality”, said Prof. Jasmina Havranek, PhD, acting head of the Agency for Science and Higher Education at the opening of the conference.  

The publication Overview of re-accreditation of doctoral studies in the Republic of Croatia was presented at the conference. It provides an overview of advantages and challenges of doctoral education for the purpose of further enhancing their quality and exercising a more significant impact in the national and international context. The PhD programmes Pharmacy and Biochemistry of the Faculty of Pharmacy and Biochemistry, University of Zagreb and Quality in Education, University of Zadar shared their insights resulting from the re-accreditation.

A panel discussion Status and challenges of doctoral studies in the Republic of Croatia was held in which Prof. Jasmina Havranek, PhD, Prof. Radovan Fuchs, PhD, Prof. Dijana Vican, PhD, Prof. Sonja Vila, PhD, Prof. Karmela Barišić, PhD, Aleksandar Šušnjar, PhD student took part.

Quality assurance of PhD programmes was the topic of the webinar organized by ASHE in October. Webinar gathered foreign experts engaged in this topic, while heads of PhD programmes from Croatia shared their experiences.  

Conclusions of the publication Overview of re-accreditation of PhD study programmes in the Republic of Croatia

  • According to the self-evaluation reports made for the purpose of evaluation procedures, there are 9645 PhD candidates studying in Croatia in seven scientific fields.
  • The biggest number of PhD candidates are enrolled in PhD programmes in the field of social sciences (2806), followed by the field of Biomedicine and Health (1884) and Technical Sciences (1719).
  • The highest average number of students per study programme study in the field of biomedicine and health (157), followed by biotechnical (90.13) and social sciences (77.74).
  • Most postgraduate study programmes are conducted in the field of social sciences (36), followed by technical sciences (23), humanities (20), natural sciences (15), biomedicine and health (12) and interdisciplinary sciences (10).
  • On average, the largest number of papers indexed annually in the WoS and Scopus databases per scientist (scientific-teaching grades) is held by scientists in the technical field (2.27), followed by biotechnical sciences (1.74) and social sciences (1.41).
  • Of all re-accredited study programmes, 43% of the study programmes received a license, 57% received a letter of expectation, and 8% completed the procedure with a letter of expectation with a ban on enrolling new students.
  • The group of indicators related to student support is an area that is on average positively graded in all fields of science, while the study programme and its outcomes is the area where most programmes need further improvement.
  • The highest percentage of high quality grades was given to postgraduate programmes in the field of natural sciences, followed by biomedicine and health (58%), technical sciences (56%), biotechnical sciences (54%), social sciences (48%), interdisciplinary sciences (36%) and the humanities (35%).
  • On average, the best rated indicator is the possibility of recognizing previous achievements (82.35% of high quality grades), while the lowest rated indicator is the recruitment of students from the country and abroad (20.95% of high quality grades).

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