Quality enhancement reviews for institutions, programmes and joint programmes

Regular QE Review

Under this procedure, higher music education institutions have the opportunity to engage in a Quality Enhancement Review, i.e. a peer-review visit, either for the whole institution or focused on one or more programmes, which results in an advisory report.


  • To provide the opportunity for higher music education institutions to choose to be evaluated through a procedure devised and implemented by those with specialist knowledge and understanding of such institutions
  • To offer a procedure that is intrinsically international in its outlook and in the range of countries from which experts are drawn
  • To stimulate the process of internal reflection on quality issues and, where relevant, to assist institutional leaders in implementing quality-related reforms
  • To bring fresh ideas and wider perspectives into institutions, encouraging the principle of ‘many correct answers’ to questions concerning the pursuit of quality in higher music education
  • Under certain circumstances, to serve as a ‘rehearsal’ for an impending formal review event and, in the process, to furnish the institution with evidence, in the form of impartial external evaluation, that may then be used for its self-evaluation report
  • The institution is asked to prepare an analytical self-evaluation report, which is sent to the peer-reviewers at the latest a month before the site-visit
  • The peer-reviewers (at least four persons, including a student), accompanied by a Secretary, conduct a site-visit of a minimum of 1.5 days for a programme review and 2.5 days for an institutional review, during which they meet members of the Management Team, of the Academic, Artistic and Administrative Staff, Students, Representatives of the Profession, etc., and have the opportunity to visit classes and lessons, and attend concerts/recitals
  • The outcome is an advisory report, highlighting good practice and including a set of recommendations for further improvement, written by international specialists in the relevant musical fields
  • The report is published on the MusiQuE website

Critical Friend Review

In this innovative approach to external quality enhancement reviews, annual visits by ‘critical friends1’ to various departments or programmes are combined with a modified version of MusiQuE’s regular review visit. A ‘Critical Friend Review’ has the following objectives, in addition to those pertaining to the regular quality enhancement review, listed above:
  • To link the internal and external quality assurance cycles in a manner which better integrates these within the quality culture that institutions are aiming to achieve
  • To bring a more content-driven focus to external quality assurance processes
  • To increase the relevance of the quality enhancement processes to students and teachers, since the results of the visit and the feedback are more specific, more personal and more recognisable

The Handbook for Critical Friend Review can be downloaded here
1A ‘critical friend’ is a respected professional peer whose visit focuses entirely on the performance of a specific programme, section or department.