Universities and university colleges may expand existing master’s programmes from 60 to 90 or 120 credits, or reduce their study load from 90 or 120 credits to 60 or 90 credits. To this end, they must apply to the Flemish Government, that subsequently requests advice from NVAO.
Universities and university colleges may submit an application to the Flemish Government to modify the study load of an existing master’s programme. Such modification may involve an expansion from 60 to 90 or 120 credits, or a reduction from 90 or 120 credits to 60 or 90 credits. Depending on the situation, such applications may be submitted for a professional master’s programme carrying 60 or 90 credits, or a master’s programme carrying 90 or 120 credits comprising a professional component carrying 60 or 90 credits respectively, and a 30-credit differentiation focused on the acquisition of specific, professionally oriented competences other than those of teacher or an intensive professional specialisation.
The study load and the structure of programmes carrying the same qualification are set down collectively. The Flemish Council of Universities and University Colleges (VLUHR) coordinates the application and forwards it to the Flemish Government. The Flemish Government submits the application to NVAO for advice. NVAO bases its advice on an assessment by a panel of independent experts. Once the assessment report by the panel has been endorsed, NVAO will set down its advice (either positive or negative) regarding whether the application submitted satisfies the justification criteria as set out in the operational framework for the modification of study loads:
*Applicable to study load expansion only
Once the application has been found admissible, the institution will receive a request for full payment of the cost price of the advice. The fee applicable to this procedure is fixed by the Education Minister of Flanders. It covers the costs entailed in the work performed by the panel members (remuneration), which are paid by NVAO.
The rate for advice regarding the modification of study loads is EUR 2500.
The application must be submitted via the digital application form; it comprises an application letter signed by the board(s) of the institution(s), the Information Dossier, and the required documents. As Dutch is the administrative language, the application letter and some of the required documents (as indicated in the operational framework) must be drawn up in Dutch.
In the Netherlands and Flanders, the board of an institution may appeal a (draft) NVAO decision.