The Bologna Process and Educational Inequality in Higher Education

Research question/goal: 

In the course of the Bologna Process, European higher education systems underwent major reforms.  In Germany, as in several other countries, the main novelty was a reduction of the length of study to get a first level degree, together with the introduction of a second level Master degree. One of the priorities of the Bologna Process is the so called ‘social dimension’; the reform aims to widen participation in higher education by encouraging potential students from underrepresented groups, such as socioeconomically disadvantaged persons. To evaluate the reform in regard to this goal, this project studies the effect of the Bologna Process on educational inequalities in higher education. Did shortening the first degree cycle reduce inequalities? The reform replaced traditional unified courses (e.g. diploma) with two cycles of courses (Bachelor and Master), thus introducing a new transition. What are the effects of this barrier on the participation of underrepresented groups? How did the socially unequal student mobility develop in the course of Bologna? While the project focusses on Germany, it may very well be developed into a comparative project, incorporating some of the other 46 countries which participate in the Bologna Process.

Due to the leave of the project director, the project was continued at Freie Universität Berlin.

Fact sheet

2014 to 2015
continued elsewhere
Data Sources: 
an array of different student and graduate surveys, Microcensus/EU-LFS
Geographic Space: 
Europe with an emphasis on Germany