The emergence and development of quality assurance schemes in European countries over the last 15–20 years has inspired many national case studies of the systems and procedures adopted. The methods, contexts, and procedures associated with this policy change are diverse. But although individual countries have set about changing policy in different ways there appear to be some common developmental patterns within the Europe of the Bologna Process. How can these developments be conceptualised? In a first step this paper advances a typology based on the quality assurance literature. In a second step, the paper applies the typology to quality assurance developments in three countries. The third part of the paper discusses the strengths and weaknesses of the modelling approach in the light of the empirical evidence and a political science analysis of policy change. The paper concludes with a discussion on future directions for the comparative study of policy change within the European Higher Education Area on the basis of this conceptualisation of developments in quality assurance policy.