The Lack of a National Policy Regime of Quality Assurance in Germany - Implications and AlternativesDue to its federal order and unlike countries as the Netherlands and the UK Germany has no national policy regime of quality assurance in higher education. There are several instruments aiming at defining minimum standards or assessing quality in some way, but none of them is targeted towards quality assurance on a national level. State approval of courses and universities is within the responsibility of the single states (“Länder”) and follows more or less formal criteria. Evaluation is carried out either by single universities or on a regional level (e.g. in the „Nordverbund“). As a consequence their results did not get much public attention. Accreditation is still in its infancy and restricted on the newly introduced Bachelor and Master courses. The only nation-wide instrument of comparison in higher education are rankings that are carried out by private institutions. The implications of this lack of a national policy regime are discussed with respect to both national policies of quality assurance and rankings. Key methodological standards for rankings are outlined which they have to meet in order to fulfil their function.