A3ES was created as a private law foundation by Decree-Law 369/2007 of 5 November, established for an indeterminate period of time, with legal status and recognised as being of public utility. A3ES is independent in its decisions, subject to the general requisites fixed by the State. The Management Board has the full capacity to make final decisions on the definition and approval of guidelines for assessment of institutions and programmes, the nomination of review panels and the decisions on individual accreditation processes.
A3ES is not state financed, apart from an initial endowment. Its income is generated through services provided to institutions.
A3ES is responsible for promoting quality provision in higher education, assessing and accrediting higher education institutions (HEIs) and their degree programmes, and promoting the integration of Portugal in the European system of quality assurance of higher education.
Current processes include compulsory ex-ante accreditation and ex-post assessment and accreditation of all degree awarding study programmes (1st, 2nd and 3rd cycles), as well as a voluntary institutional audit programme aiming to certify internal quality assurance systems within higher education institutions.
Following the first 5-year assessment/accreditation round, a process of institutional evaluation will be carried out covering all HEIs.
The Agency has a R&D unit responsible for producing information and analyses about the Portuguese HE system and for developing research in the field of QA. It is the sole Agency with the authority to accredit higher education institutions and study programmes in Portugal.
A3ES is currently undergoing a targeted review coordinated by ENQA. More information can be found here.
A3ES’s most recent external review report can be found here.
A3ES is registered on EQAR.