Building Degree Profiles. The Tuning Approach

  • Julia González Tuning Academy, University of Deusto
  • Maria Yarosh Tuning Academy, University of Deusto
Keywords: degree, degree profile, reference points and meta-profiles, recognition, relevance, quality, social needs, levels, competences and learning outcomes, educational programme


The development of degree profiles is an important art which has become quite specialized in recent years. This article concentrates on the analysis of the importance of the role of degree profiles in the design of degrees and, as a consequence, in Higher Education in general. It analyses, particularly, the work of the Tuning Project and its main processes in relation to profile building. It also gathers together and systematizes the specific contribution of four main components which should be taken into consideration at the time of the creation of new qualifications: two of the components relate to the analysis of social and professional needs and the future trends in the area. Both of these elements provide the relevance which a degree profile should strive to attain. The third component, the reference to the meta-profile, provides a capacity for recognition throughout an entire region and also in relation to the global context. The last element in profile development takes into consideration the university where the programme is anchored, its mission and strengths.

Published online: 4 July 2014

Author Biographies

Julia González, Tuning Academy, University of Deusto

Julia González is Co-coordinator of Tuning Higher Education in the World, President of Education for an Interdependent World, Co-founder of the Tuning Journal and a member of its Editorial Board. She is also a high level expert and adviser at the national, European, and international level on higher education. She was Vice-Rector for International Relations at the University of Deusto (2003-2012) and has initiated and coordinated several international networks and educational and research projects such as the Thematic Network on Humanitarian Development Studies, the Erasmus Mundus Master in International Humanitarian Action, the European Doctorate on Migration, Identities and Diversity and two Marie Curie Training networks. She was one of the initiators of the European Master in Human Rights and Democratization and the Secretary General of the NOHA International Association of Universities. Dr. González holds a D. Phil from the University of Oxford (UK).

Maria Yarosh, Tuning Academy, University of Deusto

Maria Yarosh ( has collaborated in Tuning Russia project and is currently working for the Research Unit of the Tuning Academy at the University of Deusto (Bilbao, Spain). She is also a member of the University of Deusto team within the Erasmus Mundus Intercultural Competence project (EMIC). She holds a Specialist degree in Linguistics and Translation from the Institute of Foreign Languages (St. Petersburg, Russia); an MA degree in Lifelong Learning (Policy and Management) from the Institute of Education, University of London (UK). She recently earned a PhD in Education from the University of Deusto. Her research focuses on the development of translator intercultural competences.


Adelman, Clifford. The Bologna Process for U.S. eyes: re-learning higher education in the age of convergence. Washington, DC, 2009.

Bergan, Sjur. Qualifications — Introduction to a concept. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing, 2007.

Bologna Working Group on Qualifications Frameworks. A Framework for Qualifications of the European Higher Education Area. Copenhagen: Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation, 2005.

_____. The Bologna Process independent assessment: The first decade of working on the European Higher Education Area, Vol. 1. 2010.

CHEPS, INCHER & ECOTEC. The Bologna Process independent assessment: The first decade of working on the European Higher Education Area, Vol. 2. 2010.

CLAR: Latin American reference credit. Bilbao: University of Deusto, 2013.

Crossley, John N., and Constant J. Mews, eds. Communities of Learning: Networks and the shaping of intellectual identity in Europe, 1100-1500. Turnhout: Brepols Publishers, 2011.

Eckert, Penelope. “Communities of Practice.” In Encyclopedia of language and linguistics, edited by Keith Brown, 638-685. Amsterdam: Elsevier Ltd., 2006.

González, Julia, and Robert Wagenaar, eds. Tuning educational structures in Europe: Final Report. Phase One. Bilbao: University of Deusto and University of Groningen, 2003.

Kehm, Barbara M. “Editorial.” European Journal of Education. Special Issue: The Bologna Process revisited 47, no. 3 (2012): 343-347. doi: 10.1111/ j.1465-3435.2012.01529.x

Knight, Jane. “A conceptual framework for the regionalization of higher education in Asia: application to Asia.” In Higher education regionalization in Asia Pacific: Implications for governance, citizenship and university transformation, edited by John N. Hawking, Ka Ho Mok, and Deane E. Neubauer, 17-36. London/New York: Plagrave Macmillan, 2012.

Kohler, Jürgen. “Quality assurance, accreditation, and recognition of qualifications as regulatory mechanisms in the European HEA.” Higher Education in Europe 28, no 3 (2003): 317-330.

Lokhoff, Jenneke, Bas Wegewijs, Katja Durkin, Robert Wagenaar, Julia González, Ann Katherine Isaacs, Luigi F. Donà dalle Rose, and Mary Gobbi. A Tuning guide to formulating degree programme profiles. Bilbao, Groningen, The Hague: University of Deusto, 2010.

Lumina Foundation. The degree qualification profile. 2011.

OECD. Tertiary Education for the Knowledge Society. Paris: OECD Publishing, 2008.

Patrinos, Harry Anthony and George Psacharopoulos, Education: Past, Present and Future Challenges. Policy Research Working Paper. (Washington DC: World Bank, 2011).

Pedersen, Olaf. The First Universities - Studium Generale and the Origins of University Education in Europe. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1997.

Pedraza Aboytes, Gustavo. ed. Higher Education in Latin America. Reflections and Perspectives in Chemistry. Bilbao: Universtiy of Deusto, in press.

Petrova, Irina, Viktoriya Zaripova, Evgeniya Ishkina, Andrei Malikov, Irina Zakharova, Nikolai Kurmishev, Oleg Kuzenkov, and Viktor Varfolomeev. Tuning Russia. Reference points for the design and delivery of degree programmes in Information and Communication Technologies. Bilbao: University of Deusto, 2013.

Samardžić-Marković, Snežana. “A word from the Council of Europe’s Director General for Democracy.” In Reimagining democratic societies: A new era of personal and social responsibility, edited by Sjur Bergan, Ira Harkavy, and Hilligje van’t Land, 7-8. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing, 2013.

Schlotter, Martin, Guido Schwerdt, and Ludger Woessman. The future of European education and training systems: key challenges and their implications. European Expert Network on Economics of Education, 2008.

Serrano, Clara Tamayo. “El aporte cultural y educativo de la Baja Edad Media.” Educación y Educadores 10, no. 2 (2007): 197-213.

Sin, Cristina. “Academic understandings of and responses to Bologna: a three- country perspective.” European Journal of Education. Special Issue: The Bologna Process revisited 47, no. 3 (2012): 392-404. doi: 10.1111/ j.1465-3435.2012.01533.x

Sorbonne Joint Declaration: Joint declaration on harmonisation of the architecture of the European higher education system. 1998, May 25.

Sursock, Andrée, and Hanne Smidt. Trends 2010: A decade of change in European Higher Education. European University Association: Brussels, 2010.

The Berlin Communiqué: Realising the European Higher Education Area. 2003.

The Bologna Declaration of 19 June 1999: Joint declaration of the European Ministers of Education. 1999, June 19.

Trounson, Andrew. “Australia’s new accountability tool,” Inside Higher ED, February 13, 2013,

Tünnermann Bernheim, Carlos, and Marilena de Souza Chaui. Challenges of the university in the knowledge society, five years after the World Conference on Higher Education. UNESCO Forum Occasional Papers Series. Paris: UNESCO, 2003.

Tuning Africa Civil Engineering Subject Area Group. Final Report “Tuning and Harmonization of Higher Education in Africa” Pilot Project. Civil Engineering. Bilbao: University of Deusto, in press.

Tuning América Latína. Cuarta reunión general: documento de trabajo .2012.

Van Vught, Frans A. “Mission diversity and reputation in higher education.” Higher Education Policy 21, no. 1 (2008): 151-174.

Van Vught, Frans A., and Frank Ziegele, eds., Multidimensional ranking: The design and development of U-Multirank. Dordrecht/Heidelberg/London/New York: Springer, 2012.

Van Vught, Frans A., Frans Kaiser, Jon File, Christiane Gaehtgens, Rolf Peter, and Don Westerheijden. “U-Map: The European Classification of Higher Education Institutions.” Enschede: CHEPS, 2010.

Veiga, Amélia. “Bologna 2010. The moment of truth?” European Journal of Education. Special Issue: The Bologna Process revisited 47, no. 3 (2012): 378-391. doi: 10.1111/j.1465-3435.2012.01532.x.

Vicent-Lancrin, Stéphan. “Building future scenarios for universities and higher education: an international approach.” Policy Futures in Education 2, no. 2 (2004): 245-263.

How to Cite
González, Julia, and Maria Yarosh. 2014. “Building Degree Profiles. The Tuning Approach”. Tuning Journal for Higher Education 1 (1), 37-69.