About the Quality...

Policy for quality and development of the study programme portfolio

NTNU's Policy for quality and development of the study programme portfolio.

Decided by: Rector
Valid from: 26 June 2019

Main page: Strategies and governing documents | Education Quality at NTNU
Norsk versjon: Politikk for kvalitet i og utvikling av studieporteføljen


The Policy for Quality and Development of the Study Programme Portfolio is intended to help ensure high quality in the portfolio as a whole, in the programmes, and in stimulating each student’s personal development. The aim of the policy is to support NTNU’s strategy and provide a basis for making good strategic choices that strengthen the quality of the programme portfolio and each programme of study. The policy is to foster a culture of quality in areas that are important to the student’s learning outcomes.


The policy applies to all areas of activity and organizational units.



A graduate is a student who has completed a degree-conferring programme of study; see the Regulations for degrees and protected titles. The Policy for Quality and Development of the Study Programme Portfolio also applies to students who have completed one-year programmes and further education programmes.

Quality culture

Quality culture refers to fostering shared values and standards aimed at high quality. In addition, quality culture is associated with principles such as inclusiveness, transparency and openness, and co-determination.

Quality area

A quality area is a thematic area to which NTNU gives priority in order to ensure high quality in study programmes and the programme portfolio. Each quality area has a set of requirements that go beyond the regulatory requirements, and these must be emphasized in the establishment, continuation, change and closure of study programmes.

Study programme portfolio

The study programme portfolio consists of all credit-bearing educational offerings and includes all degree-granting programmes, further education programmes, one-year programmes and individual courses.

Overarching principles

Development of the study programme portfolio must take place within the framework and overarching principles specified in legislation, regulations, political guidelines and NTNU’s strategy. Among these, a special position is held by the Regulations concerning supervision of educational quality in higher education (studietilsynsforskriften).

These regulations specify that NTNU’s systematic quality assurance work in the area of education must be grounded in NTNU’s strategy, and that all areas significant to the quality of students’ learning outcomes are covered. The aim of the systematic processes is to promote a culture of quality among staff and students. Results from the quality assurance work must be included in the knowledge base in connection with assessment and strategic development of the institution’s total programme portfolio.

NTNU’s strategy provides clear guiding principles for the development of the programme portfolio. The strategy specifies the selected priority areas to be emphasized in order to meet the challenges of the future.

Quality in the programme portfolio

NTNU’s special mission is to be a broad-based university with a main profile in science and technology, with interdisciplinary strength and a focus on programmes of professional study. Artistic disciplines play a key role in NTNU’s identity, and NTNU has a special responsibility to be a prominent actor in the cities and regions where we have our primary activities.

NTNU’s distinctive character should govern the development of the programme portfolio and be expressed in the learning outcome descriptions for the programmes and courses.

The basic prerequisites for the development of high quality in education are that the study programmes are relevant to the workplace of the future and contribute to creating a sustainable society, offer a positive learning environment, are grounded in good academic environments of sufficient size, are internationally oriented and stimulate interdisciplinary collaboration. The academic communities must have a high level of academic competence and teaching competence as well as relevant experience from the working world.

The policy aims to contribute to the development of a quality culture and to promote shared values and a common understanding of what is expected from each educational offering. It provides a basis for making strategic choices about the development of quality in the study programme portfolio. Educational leaders must create a basis for effective internal processes that involve staff and students. NTNU’s system for quality of education describes roles, responsibilities, tasks and processes.

Quality areas

NTNU has chosen to give priority to five quality areas within education: strategic importance, one university in three cities, learning environment, academic sustainability, and financial sustainability. The list below shows which level in the organization is responsible for follow-up and decisions on measures related to each quality area.

  • Strategic importance (NTNU Board, Rector and Faculty)
  • One university in three cities (NTNU Board, Rector, Faculty and Department)
  • Learning environment (NTNU Board, Rector, Faculty and Department)
  • Academic sustainability (Faculty and Department)
  • Financial sustainability (Faculty and Department)

Strategic importance

Strategic importance entails an assessment of the societal rationale and importance of the study programmes, contributions to realizing the UN Sustainable Development Goals, relevance to NTNU’s strategic development and follow-up of national policies.
It is emphasized that:

  • Graduates have competence that is important for the workplace of the future and a sustainable society.
  • Internationally outstanding environments in research and art contribute to the programme portfolio, especially in master’s and PhD education.
  • Further education programmes and collaborative programmes with other educational institutions are developed as part of the whole programme portfolio.
  • The programme portfolio contributes to an appropriate distribution of work in the sector.

One university in three cities

A study programme offered in several student cities should have the same learning outcome descriptions and learning environments on an equal footing. The programme portfolio should support internal distribution of work and showcase the strengths of the regions.
It is emphasized that:

  • Cooperation and further development of competence in the academic communities ensures consistent quality in all the student cities.
  • The study programmes take advantage of and support the complementary strengths and distinctive features of their regions.
  • Pedagogical use of digital tools helps to ensure programmes of equivalent quality in all the student cities.
  • An integrated and coherent learning environment is based on collective identity and local culture building.

Learning environment

Creating a high-quality learning environment involves an assessment of whether digital, physical, organizational, educational, and psychosocial factors provide positive conditions for student learning and achievement of expected learning outcomes. Management, employees and students have a shared responsibility for the development of the learning environment.
It is emphasized that:

  • The study programmes have a holistic perspective on the learning environment and the student’s academic development.
  • The study programmes and infrastructure create a foundation for good academic and social collaboration between students and staff.
  • The learning environment is characterized by student engagement and sound structures for student democracy.

Academic sustainability

Academic sustainability involves an assessment of the academic communities' foundation for and ability to develop and implement future-oriented education of high quality and relevance. The quality, size, activity and focus on development of the academic communities within both research and education form the foundation of the programme portfolio.
It is emphasized that:

  • Programmes of study are anchored in the academic environment with the greatest academic activity in relevant disciplines. Courses are conducted by academic environments with relevant competence. Learning activities and assessment methods are grounded in pedagogical research.
  • Evaluation and development activities at both programme and course level take place in collaboration between students and staff.
  • A foundation is provided to support academic progress until completion of the doctoral degree.

Financial sustainability

Financial sustainability entails an assessment of finances and use of resources in the programme, including teaching, learning and staff resources. Appropriate distribution of work and use of resources should prevent overlap between study programmes.
It is emphasized that:

  • As a general rule, study programmes should be financially sustainable – that is, they should be fully funded.
  • Academic collaboration is given priority over internal competition.
  • Study programmes have low non-continuation rates and high progression rates.

Roles and responsibilities

The policy is intended to help ensure high quality in the programme portfolio and provide a basis for making choices.

NTNU’s system for quality of education defines roles, responsibilities, tasks, and follow-up processes for quality assurance. The quality assurance system describes which tools are available and which documents are included.

The following actors have a special responsibility for following up the Policy for Quality and Development of the Study Programme Portfolio:

  • The NTNU Board
  • Rector
  • Research committee
  • Education committee
  • Learning environment committee
  • Executive committees
  • Dean
  • Programme council
  • Head of programme
  • Study programme coordinator
  • Head of Department
  • Person with course responsibility

About the policy


The "Policy for quality and development of the study programme portfolio" is NTNU's operationalization of the regulations given in the Act relating to universities and university colleges and the Higher Education Supervision Regulations, as well as the obligations given in NTNU's development agreement with the Ministry of Education.

Internal document classification

The "Policy for quality and development of the study programme portfolio" contributes to the realization of NTNU's Strategy 2018-2025. The policy instructs the corresponding development plans and NTNU's Quality Assurance System for Education.

See also