Course Planning, Validation and Approval
This section is written to align with Section 7 of the QAA Code of practice for the
assurance of academic quality and standards in higher education on Programme
design, approval, monitoring and review (2006).
1 Course planning of University provision
1.1 Planning approval for the development of new University courses, or the substantial
revision of existing courses, is obtained through a central University approval process
which is set out in the following paragraphs.
It should be noted that procedures for the planning and approval of collaborative
provision is covered in the Handbook for Collaborative Provision.
1.2 The development of new areas of academic provision is informed by the University’s
Strategic Plan and its supporting strategies, and faculty-level plans, which set out the
general direction of development for the institution over a five year time horizon.
Proposals for new courses are normally generated by a faculty and initially
considered by the Faculty Executive. After such discussions, the Faculty Dean
approves (or otherwise) a new development and s/he (or a nominee) completes a
Planning Approval Form. This form has two distinct sections:
Part 1 (Academic), available from the Academic Quality and Standards Co-
ordinator and via the Quality Assurance web pages, covers academic aspects of
the development. In addition to factual information regarding the award title,
level, location of delivery, etc, it requires an indication of the way in which the
market for the proposed development has been researched, and information
about proposed approaches to teaching, learning and assessment. Further
guidance on completing a Planning Approval Form is given below.
Part 2 (Resources), available via Faculty Accountants in the form of an Excel
spreadsheet, covers resource issues. The ‘signing-off’ of the form by the
relevant Dean signals his/her agreement that the necessary resources will be
1.3 Guidance on completing a Planning Approval Form
The Planning Approval Form requires the following information.
Part 1 – Academic
Full title to include award (BA, BSc, MA, MSc, FdA, etc) and proposed course
name – note that once a title is agreed at the Planning Approval stage, no
change will be permitted until the end of the first year of delivery of the award.
Faculty and School which owns the proposal.
Development Team Leader within the relevant School.
Intended start date for delivery
Is it a new or replacement course – if existing students are to be transferred to
the new course, written agreement to the transfer must be obtained from all
Availability (full-time, part-time, fast track) – note that the norm is for programmes
to be validated for both full-time and part-time delivery, even if there is no
intention to run a dedicated part-time cohort; this is to ensure that students who
fail to complete during the normal period of full-time study can do so by part-time
Location(s) of delivery if not on a University campus.
Whether accreditation for the programme will be sought from a professional body
– this section should indicate whether a joint validation/accreditation process is
required, and the precise nature of the accreditation.
Recruitment - via UCAS or other means
A brief (250 characters) course description – the text provided here may be
incorporated directly into publicity material so aim to convey a flavour of the
provision to potential applicants and those advising them.
UCAS keywords (where relevant).
The proposal’s alignment with the University’s Strategic Plan and supporting
Its academic rationale.
Its relationship to current University and Faculty plans for academic
Its curriculum and content.
The staffing base and scholarly/research activity which will support the proposal.
A list of the proposed modules.
Market rationale to include evidence of demand, market positioning, employment
market, marketing strategy, competition and rationale for award title.
Part 2 – Resources
This section of the form consists of an Excel spreadsheet; ownership rests with the
department of Finance and Planning, and the form should be completed in
consultation with the Faculty Accountant.
1.4 Both sections of the completed form are returned to the Academic Quality and
Standards Co-ordinator for submission to one of the regular meetings of the
University’s Academic Development Committee (ADC). Dates of these meetings are
published on the Academic Registry web pages covering committees.
It should be noted that a separate Planning Approval Form (C) is to be used for
proposals for new collaborative developments.
2 University Approval
2.1 Planning Approval Forms are considered by the University Academic Development
(see terms of reference and membership here).
2.2 ADC uses the University Strategic Plan and its supporting strategies, and faculty-
level plans, as the chief measures for selecting those proposals which should be
approved for development. Relevant staff may be invited to attend for discussion of
2.3 ADC receives Planning Approval Forms, which are required not only to make a viable
academic case for the development, but also to indicate the market for the proposed
new course, and to address the likely resource needs. All proposals must be
approved and signed off by the Faculty Dean before they are considered at ADC.
The Faculty Dean will wish to ensure that the proposal’s financial and academic
viability has been thoroughly considered within the Faculty before it is signed off.
2.4 ADC may permit a proposal to proceed to the validation stage, refer a proposal back
to the Faculty for further development, or turn it down if it has concerns about the
academic case or the viability in market or resource terms.
2.5. The officer for ADC will be responsible for formally notifying relevant staff – for
example, Admissions, Timetabling, Marketing, Finance and Planning – of the
decisions recorded in the ADC minutes.
2.6 No publicity for any development may be issued until the approval of ADC has been
obtained. Once approval has been given by ADC for a development to proceed to
validation, any publicity must include the note ‘subject to validation’. This note may
be removed once the validation has been successfully completed.
3 Award Titles
It should be noted that normally no changes to the award title as approved by ADC
will be permitted in the course of validation, and that normally applications for
changes of title will not be considered until the provision has run for one full
academic year. Changes of titles for existing awards are approved by ADC using
form CA, found on the Quality Assurance web pages.
4 Course Development and Validation
4.1 The Development Team
Once approval has been received via the Academic Development Committee for the
development of the course, it is the responsibility of the Faculty, led by the Dean and
the relevant Head of Department, to ensure that the development progresses. The
designated leader of the development team should already have been identified via
the Planning Approval form; the department should identify further members of the
team, which should normally consist of no fewer than three people. Where the
development team leader has little previous experience of course development or
quality processes, a more experienced member of staff should be added to the team.
It is the responsibility of the faculty to provide administrative support for the
development process (for minuting of development team meetings, preparation of
Relevant templates may be found on the Quality Assurance web pages. They
A template for Programme Specifications;
A Module Descriptor template;
Course map templates for undergraduate and postgraduate provision delivered
full-time, part-time and in fast-track mode.
4.2 The Advisor
4.2.1 The Faculty Academic Standards and Quality Committee will at the same time
identify a single individual to act as Advisor to the development. This may be the
Faculty Head of Quality & Standards (for centrally-managed validations), another
member of FASQC, or another suitably experienced member of the Faculty. It is not
appropriate for the Faculty Head of Quality & Standards to act as Advisor for FASQC
validations, since s/he will be chairing the panel which makes a judgment on the
4.2.2 The role of the Advisor is to give advice on the quality assurance aspects of the
development and the production of the documentation. The role does not include
ensuring that the development progresses, nor does it require the Advisor to draft or
4.2.3 Whether the Advisor attends development team meetings on a regular or occasional
basis, or operates by reading and commenting on paperwork, is negotiable between
the Advisor and the team.
4.2.4 The Advisor should report briefly to FASQC at suitable intervals as to the progress or
otherwise of the development. Where progress appears not to be made, the Faculty
Head of Quality & Standards should bring this to the attention of the Faculty Dean
and Head of School.
4.3 Other Consultation
4.3.1 The development team must consult with at least one appropriate external academic
and where relevant, it is expected that appropriate external professionals will also be
consulted. Students should be involved in discussions on developments, minimally
via discussion at Course Boards.
4.3.2 It is expected that development teams, in the course of development and preferably
at an early stage, consult with the Faculty Head of Quality & Standards, the
Associate Dean of Quality & Standards (responsible for academic regulations),
Learning Enhancement and Technology Support, Library and Information Services
and Information Communication Technology (where this is appropriate).
4.4 Validation Criteria for a New Course
In order that a new course should attain validation, the criteria below must be
demonstrated. Panels will wish to use these points to frame their questions.
that the course is academically coherent in terms of content, proposed delivery
methods, and assessment, and is underpinned by a suitable level of scholarly
that the academic level and demands of the course are appropriate for the
awards to which it will lead, in accordance with the QAA Framework for Higher
Education Qualifications. Further help with calibrating the level of learning
outcomes can be gained from the SEEC credit level descriptors which have been
designed to aid curriculum design and provide prompts as to suitable wording;
that the content of the course is appropriate to the proposed award title;
that the course is entirely consistent with the University’s Academic Regulations
for Taught Provision;
that due regard has been given to any relevant QAA Benchmark Statements or
other external requirements (for example, those of professional bodies);
that due regard has been paid to the input of the externals consulted during the
that the course has been planned for delivery with due regard to relevant
University policy statements and strategies, and particularly the University
Strategic Plan and its supporting strategies such as the Learning & Teaching
Strategy, the Research Strategy, Equality Scheme and Sustainability Strategy;
that the programme specification and accompanying rationale demonstrates that
the aims and learning outcomes established for the course are appropriately met
in its structure and teaching, learning and assessment strategies. Further
guidance for staff on this criterion is included at section 4.8.10.
that the content and learning outcomes, specified in the module descriptors,
permit the fulfilment of the aims and objectives of the course, reflect current
knowledge, research and scholarship in the relevant academic area, and where
appropriate, are in accordance with current practice in the relevant profession or
area of employment;
that the qualifications of staff are at least equivalent to the level of the award;
that the definitive documentation for the course complies with standard
that, in the case of courses which are to be delivered wholly or in part by flexible
learning, sufficient learning materials are made available in a finished form for a
judgement to be made as to the ability of the provision to enable students to
meet the programme outcomes.
4.5 The Validation Process
4.5.1 The University uses an event-based approach to the validation of new provision. The
process may be managed centrally by the University, or locally via the relevant
FASQC, depending on the nature and scale of the development. The decision as to
whether a validation should be a FASQC or a University process will be taken by the
Chair of ASQC.
4.5.2 A provisional date for the validation event will be set by Academic Registry (Quality
and Standards) in consultation with the development team as soon as the
development has received ADC approval; this date will be recorded on the validation
schedule which is maintained by the Academic Registry (Quality and Standards). At
this point the development team should provide details of a suggested external
member of the validation panel to Academic Registry (Quality and Standards) – see
below. Note that there should be no direct contact between the proposed external
and the development team prior to the validation event.
4.5.3 In the case of a University validation event, once the development team believes that
the documentation is complete and the proposal ready for validation, the documents,
in electronic format with one hard copy, should be forwarded to Academic Registry
(Quality and Standards). No recommendation or report is required from the Advisor,
who is thus operating purely in an advisory and not a judgmental role. To give
panels time to read documentation, produce initial views and compile agendas,
documents will be required a minimum of two weeks before the scheduled date of the
validation event. Where documentation comes in later than this, the event may be
delayed and this may have an impact on any proposed start date for the provision.
4.5.4 If the material appears to be complete, then a validation event will go ahead.
4.5.5 In the case of a FASQC-managed validation, the process is the same. Should there
be any doubt as to the readiness of the proposal for validation, the Faculty Head of
Quality & Standards, in consultation with the Dean of Quality & Standards, will decide
whether the validation should be postponed and the documentation returned to the
team for further work.
4.5.6 Administrative support for both faculty and University validation events will be
provided by Academic Registry (Quality and Standards).
4.5.7 The requirements and/or recommendations of a Professional, Statutory or Regulatory
Body (PSRB), whether or not linked to any accreditation of a course, are always
additional to, not instead of, the requirements of the University in programme
approval. It may therefore be necessary for a proposed programme to exceed the
minimum credit requirement for a particular award to accommodate the requirements
of both the University for its award and the PSRB for its professional requirement.
4.6 The Validation Panel – University Validation Events
On receipt of the approved validation schedule, the Academic Standards and Quality
Committee, or the Faculty Academic Standards and Quality Committee (in cases
where the validation panel has been delegated to the faculty), agrees a validation
panel for each proposal.
4.6.1 Membership of a validation panel for central events will normally comprise:
a Chair to be drawn from a faculty different to that bringing forward the proposal;
the Chair of the relevant FASQC (or nominee)
at least one external academic/professional member
one other internal University member, normally drawn from a different
department to that bringing forward the proposal.
4.6.2 Chairs and internal members of validation panels are drawn from a list of
appropriately experienced staff, maintained by the Academic Registry (Quality and
Standards). New members are added to the list from time to time; Faculty Deans
and Heads of School are encouraged to make recommendations via Faculty Heads
of Quality & Standards. Meetings of the validation panel will be organised and
officered by the Academic Registry.
4.6.3 The external member of the validation panel is contracted formally and remunerated
by the University. Development teams will be invited to make suggestions of names
for external members, but the process of appointment is carried out via Academic
Registry (Quality and Standards).
The general considerations in relation to externality, as specified in the relevant
section of the Quality Assurance Handbook, apply to these appointments. Faculty
staff proposing external panel members should check the relevant criteria prior to
sending the form to Academic Registry (Quality and Standards). Appointments will
be approved by the Dean of Quality and Standards on behalf of Academic Standards
and Quality Committee, and recorded at ASQC.
4.6.4 The membership of a validation panel can be varied for good cause, although the
categories of membership given above are considered as standard. All panels will
be subject to final approval by the Academic Standards and Quality Committee.
4.7 The Validation Panel – FASQC Validation Events
4.7.1 In the case of a FASQC validation, the panel would normally comprise:
the Chair of the relevant FASQC (or nominee);
two other members of staff (one of whom must be drawn from outside the
an external to be approved by the Faculty Head of Quality and Standards in
consultation with the Dean of Quality and Standards, and in line with the
University’s criteria for externals in the relevant section of the Quality Assurance
4.7.2 The membership of a validation panel can be varied, for good cause, although the
categories of membership given above are considered as standard.
It is the function of the Development Team to work towards the completion of a
standard set of documentation by which the validation panel may form a judgement
as to the readiness of the course for final approval. Examples of good practice in
validation documentation are available from Academic Registry (Quality and
The full set of documentation required is listed below (templates can be found in
section 2 of the Quality Assurance Handbook. The first six of the listed items
constitute the set of definitive documents for the course.
4.8.1 The completed Planning Approval Form.
4.8.2 The completed Programme Specification (see also 4.8.10).
4.8.3 The completed course map. It should be noted that the course map should be
accompanied by a statement of any changes to other course maps consequent on
4.8.4 A statement confirming that the development is in line with the University’s Academic
Regulations for Taught Provision. This statement should be ‘signed off’ by the
Associate Dean of Quality and Standards responsible for oversight of the University’s
4.8.5 A statement indicating that Library & Information Services has been appropriately
consulted in the course of the development. This statement should be ‘signed off’ by
the Head of LIS (or nominee) member of the development team.
4.8.6 The definitive set of module descriptors.
4.8.7 An overview document which sets the context for the course. Normally this would
cover the following:
a rationale for the structure and level of the course, demonstrating the alignment
between content, structure, delivery methods and methods of assessment (see
also 4.8.10), and indicating the nature and extent of the research/scholarly
activity which underpins the teaching;
evidence that appropriate external consultation has been carried out, with a
summary of the development team’s response to any external advice received;
alignment with the University Strategic Plan and its supporting strategies such as
the Learning & Teaching Strategy, the Research Strategy, Equality Scheme and
short CVs (to a common format) of all staff who will be involved in the delivery of
4.8.8 A listing of all delivery methods, and any locations outside University campuses for
which approval is sought.
Processes for the approval of delivery at external locations for collaborative provision
may be found in the Handbook for Collaborative Provision.
4.8.9 Following approval of a development at the PAF stage, Registry (Student Records)
will notify the Development Team Leader of a code for the new course. This will be
recorded on the validation schedule, and development teams must use this code in
preparing module descriptors, course maps etc.
4.8.10 In order to ensure that there is clarity about how students are provided with the
opportunity to demonstrate achievement of programme outcomes, it is expected that
the validation document, via an appendix to the programme specification, will contain
a mapping grid which demonstrates which modules, through their content, contribute
to supporting students to achieve the programme outcomes. A simple grid which
enables this, and which is capable of extension as necessary, is demonstrated
1 2 3 4 5 6
It is necessary for students to demonstrate achievement of all programme outcomes.
It follows, therefore, that whilst it might be possible to construct a curriculum within
which achievement of an individual programme outcome could only be demonstrated
through performance on one single module, that would imply that a student would
have to pass that particular module as a necessary requirement for graduation. It is
safer, therefore, to design the curriculum to ensure that achievement of as many
programme outcomes as possible can be demonstrated through successful
performance on more than one module. Further, no programme outcome should be
met only through an option module.
Learning outcomes at module level may be the subject of either formative or
summative assessment. Development teams are asked to consider their
assessment strategy carefully, to distinguish between outcomes which are the
subject of summative or formative assessment, and to indicate which assessment
tasks enable students to demonstrate achievement of which learning outcomes. This
can be represented simply by completing the following grid, which may be extended
Learning outcomes which Other module
contribute to the programme learning outcomes
1 2 3 4 5 6
Summative Assessment Tasks
Summative and/or formative
1 assessment tasks
There is no University requirement to map the relationship of module-level learning
outcomes to programme outcomes. Nevertheless, development teams may find this
helpful as a way to check whether there is constructive alignment between the
elements in the curriculum design, and to establish whether some aspects of the
curriculum are the subject of an excessive volume of assessment. If such mapping is
undertaken, it would form a helpful addition to the validation document. It should also
be noted that this more detailed mapping of assessment against module and
programme outcomes is a requirement of some professional accrediting bodies.
4.9 Validation Event
This event is organised by Academic Registry (Quality and Standards). The
important stages are as follows.
4.9.1 Membership of the panel is agreed as specified in 4.6 and 4.7.
4.9.2 The validation document and accompanying papers are circulated to panel members
normally fourteen days before the date of the event by Academic Registry (Quality
4.9.3 Approximately seven days prior to the event the nominated Registry officer will
convene a meeting of internal panel members, including the Chair. Panel members
are required to forward initial comments to the officer for this meeting. On the basis
of comments and discussion, a draft agenda will be compiled.
4.9.4 The final programme for the event is decided by the Validation Panel Chair in
consultation with Academic Registry (Quality and Standards). The programme
should reflect the issues raised by Panel members in their initial responses to the
validation document. A typical programme might be:
Panel meeting to confirm agenda
Meeting with Senior Managers of the Faculty
Meeting with Development Team and Head of School
Panel meeting to summarise main points, recommendations, etc
4.9.5 Essential criteria for validation are as outlined above (see paragraph 4.4).
4.9.6 Accreditation by a PSRB may take place contemporaneously with the University
procedures, possibly in a joint validation event, or following successful validation.
4.10 Outcomes of a Validation Event
4.10.1 The validation panel can make one of the following recommendations to Academic
Board via ASQC:
i Approval without conditions or recommendations.
ii Approval with conditions and/or recommendations.
iii Not recommended for approval.
iv Decision deferred.
4.10.2 In the case of decisions (i) or (ii), a summary report of the event prepared by the
Officer and approved by the Chair of the validation panel will be circulated to the
Development Team Leader and to panel members no later than two weeks after the
event. In the case of decisions (iii) or (iv), a full report will be provided detailing the
reasons for the decision, and the steps which would need to be taken to ensure a
successful outcome should the proposal be re-presented.
4.10.3 Where accreditation by a PSRB takes place contemporaneously with the University
procedures, the proposal must comply with both the University regulations and
procedures and those of the PSRB. The report of any PSRB assessment of
University provision must be first received at FASQC and then reported to ASQC.
4.11 Validation of a Course with Conditions
4.11.1 Conditions are defined as matters that the validation panel believes have the
potential to put academic quality and/or standards at risk if they are not addressed
prior to delivery of the course. Accordingly, preventive or corrective action is
4.11.2 Where a course is validated with conditions, it is the responsibility of the
Development Team to respond within the time limits set by the validation panel. It is
the responsibility of the Academic Registry (Quality and Standards) to co-ordinate
responses to conditions, to forward such responses to the Chair of the Panel for
approval, and to inform the Academic Standards and Quality Committee and the
Development Team when conditions have been met. The Chair of the Panel may
wish to take advice from the Dean, and the Associate Deans, of Quality and
Standards to confirm that conditions have been met.
4.11.3 Courses cannot start until conditions have been met. The date for fulfilment of any
conditions will be set at the validation, and the Chair of the validation panel will be
required to provide written notification to Academic Registry (Quality and Standards)
that the conditions have been met before delivery of the provision may commence.
4.12 Validation of Course with Recommendations
4.12.1 Recommendations refer to matters that do not materially affect the quality or the
academic standards of the course, but which would, from further consideration, have
the potential to improve the quality and/or further secure the academic standards of
4.12.2 A response to any such recommendations must be included in the first Annual
Monitoring Report following approval although, where necessary, an earlier response
may be required.
4.12.3 Technical amendments to the documentation may be identified during the validation
but execution of these amendments would not normally constitute a formal condition
of validation. Examples requiring technical amendment might be inconsistencies
between module titles in various sections of the document; use of incorrect
nomenclature for University posts and committees; errors in terminology in
programme specifications, etc. These should be addressed by the development
team as soon as possible after the event and prior to any part of the definitive
documentation being published or given to students. Advice on dealing with
technical amendments is available from the Academic Quality & Standards Co-
The Panel may wish to draw attention to features of good practice. These can be
defined as features of provision which have the capacity to make a particularly
positive contribution to a course’s management of academic standards and/or the
quality of its educational provision.
4.14 Course Not Recommended for Validation
Where a course is not recommended for validation, it is the responsibility of the
Development Team in consultation with the Faculty Head of Quality & Standards to
analyse the reasons for the decision and to present to the relevant Faculty Dean a
recommendation as to whether the Course should be further developed and re-
submitted for validation.
4.15 Decision Deferred
This decision should be used sparingly and with a clear rationale for deferring a
decision rather than recommending or not recommending a course for validation.
Where a deferral decision is made, the Chair should agree a timescale with the
Development Team to allow major issues to be addressed. The validation panel
should then reconvene to reach a final decision, after which a report will be produced
as outlined above.
4.16 Signing off of Validations
4.16.1 Final agreement that any Conditions have been met will be given by the Chair of the
validation panel who may wish to seek advice from the Dean, and the Associate
Deans, of Quality and Standards.
4.16.2 The ‘subject to validation’ tag in publicity materials may be removed from the title of a
new course where the decision of the validation panel was (i) or (ii) as specified in
4.16.3 Once approval has been confirmed, one hard copy and an electronic copy of the final
version of the definitive documentation must be submitted to the Academic Registry
(Quality and Standards).
4.17 Following validation of a new course
4.17.1 Academic Registry (Quality and Standards) is responsible for recording details of
new courses and modules in two locations; with Student Records and in published
The programme specification, in the form of the course map, includes a list of all
modules validated and this should be forwarded to Student Records by the Academic
Quality & Standards Co-ordinator. The course map should be accompanied by a
statement, supplied by the development leader of any changes (additions,
amendments and deletions) to existing course maps which follow from the validation
of the course. Academic Registry (Student Records) will refer to this to update
module descriptors and course maps in the SITS record.
4.17.2 Summary reports of validations are received by ASQC which, on behalf of Academic
Board, approves the new course. ASQC has the right to review the decision of the
panel and may wish to raise additional matters including with regard to the
University’s management of quality and standards.
4.17.3 In addition, as one section of its annual report to Academic Board, ASQC will receive
an overview report and evaluation of the validations which have taken place in the preceding
5 Procedures governing amendments to existing courses
5.1 The preferred method for signalling proposed amendments to existing courses is via
the Annual Monitoring Report (see section of the Quality Assurance Handbook on
Annual Monitoring), since the need for amendments and the nature of the
amendments required is likely to arise from consideration of the evidence presented
in the review report. Proposed changes should be highlighted for the attention of
FASQC. The FASQC panel considering the report recommends to FASQC whether
or not the proposal should progress. In cases where the proposal involves
substantial change to the course, then the recommendation will be that the course
should undergo a Periodic Review and Revalidation. Otherwise the following
processes shall be followed.
5.2 Amendments to an existing Course
5.2.1 Amendments to an existing course include:
additions of new modules;
deletions of modules;
adoptions of existing modules onto another course map;
dropping of modules from a course map (but not deletion from all maps);
changes of status of modules (Core, Compulsory, Option);
changes to module code, module title, pre/corequisites, learning outcomes, or
significant changes to description, content or delivery (including a marked shift to
5.2.2 Where minor changes are required to description, content or delivery, or to indicative
resources or module tutor, these can be made through the process of minor updating
(see section 5.2.12). For changes to an award title, see section 5.3.
5.2.3 Amendments to an existing course are developed by Course Boards of Studies. The
Course Board develops a package of materials, using proformas and guidance notes
published on the Quality Assurance Handbook web page. The package should
include all changes being brought forward for implementation in the following
academic year, and should be submitted in hard copy to a FASQC Programme
Change Approval Panel by the date which will be published annually by Academic
Registry (Quality and Standards).
5.2.4 The package of proposed changes should include:
the completed form (available on University web site at
a rationale, summarising all changes and the reasons they are being brought
forward, and supported by evidence from the annual monitoring process
(statistical data, student feedback, etc) where appropriate;
evidence of external consultation, normally from the course external examiner
(the FASQC Panel will advise if further consultation is needed);
the minute(s) of the Course Board where the proposals were agreed (these
should make it evident that student representatives have been consulted, either
through their attendance at the Board or via correspondence);
a copy of existing maps within the course, marked up with any changes;
the signature of the Faculty Dean (or nominee) confirming that resources
(including staff and LIS resources) will be made available to support the
5.2.5 Faculty Programme Change Panels are a sub-panel of FASQCs and meet annually.
Membership is as follows:
Faculty Head of Quality & Standards (Chair);
one other member of academic staff from the Faculty who is a member of the
one of the Associate Deans of Quality and Standards;
a representative from Academic Registry (who will officer the meeting).
5.2.6 A joint Programme Change Approval Panel considers any proposals referred for
clarification of further work by the Faculty Panels. Membership is as follows:
Associate Dean of Quality and Standards (Chair);
Faculty Heads of Quality & Standards with proposals under consideration;
a representative from Academic Registry (who will officer the meeting);
representatives from a course may be invited to attend a panel meeting to
present the changes.
5.2.7 All proposals for implementation in the following academic year must be submitted to
the meeting of the relevant Faculty Panel. Proposals are approved or rejected, or
referred for clarification or further work.
5.2.8 Where a proposal has been referred for clarification or further work, the Course
Leader should submit a revised package of proposals to the Joint Panel, which will
meet on one occasion only. Proposals are approved or rejected. No new proposals
may be submitted directly to the Joint Panel.
5.2.9 Following approval, Course Leaders should provide Academic Registry (Student
Records) with electronic copies of the approved new module descriptors. The
approved proposals will form the basis for updating course and module details with
SITS and on relevant University web pages.
5.2.10 Where a proposed change is dependent on a proposal being brought forward by
another course, or on a new course validation which is scheduled to take place after
the meeting of the Joint Panel, this should be signalled in the rationale. The panel
can approve a proposed change to the course subject to successful completion of the
5.2.11 The decisions of the Faculty Programme Change Approval Panels will be reported to
the relevant FASQCs. Decisions of the Joint Panel will be reported to relevant
FASQCs and ASQC.
5.2.12 Beyond the changes requiring approval by the Programme Change Approval Panel,
minor changes to module descriptors comprising updating of the description, content
or delivery sections, or changes to indicative resources or module tutor, can be made
through an annual round of updating which will be initiated by Academic Registry.
5.2.13 As the Programme Change process feeds in to a number of further processes,
including updating of web-based information for students and timetabling, it is
essential that the deadlines associated with this process are strictly adhered to.
5.3 Change of Course Title
If a Course Board of Studies wishes to change the title of a validated award, it may
do so only by submitting an application using the appropriate pro forma (form CA) to
ADC. A copy of the pro forma is available via the Academic Registry (Quality and
Standards) web pages.
5.4 Consultation with Students in Relation to Course Changes
Changes to course titles can only be applied to existing students if the agreement of
all currently registered students affected by the change is obtained in writing. It is the
responsibility of the Course Leader to obtain this agreement. Where there are
current applicants for the course who have not yet enrolled at the University, all such
applicants must be informed in writing of the change.
6 Procedures Governing the Discontinuation and Phasing Out of Courses
6.1 Terminology: the following terms should be used in respect of closure of provision:
A course is said to have suspended recruitment when no further students are
Where recruitment has been suspended, but students remain registered on the
course, it is said to be phasing out.
When no registered students remain on the course, it is closed.
6.2 Moves to discontinue provision may be initiated by the relevant Faculty, or may arise
from consideration by senior management of the University’s portfolio and strategic
6.3 Whether the moves for discontinuation have arisen at faculty or central level, the
proposal will be discussed at Executive Planning & Resources Committee, which
makes a decision whether or not to suspend recruitment to the provision. This
decision cannot be made at a local (School or Faculty) level – only EPRC can
authorise a suspension of recruitment. The decision will be reported to Academic
Development Committee for note, in order that relevant areas of the University
(Marketing, Admissions, Recruitment, Academic Registry, Student Services,
Timetable, Library & Information Services, and relevant Heads of School, Subject
Group Leaders and Course Leaders) may be informed.
6.4 Suspension may be permanent – that is, no further recruitment will take place – or
temporary for one year, where there is some possibility that recruitment may be re-
started. However, if there is no recruitment for two consecutive years, then the
provision will be deemed to be closing, and recruitment may not recommence without
formal approval from ASQC, normally involving a periodic review to ensure that the
curriculum remains current.
6.5 Once recruitment has been suspended, if there are students still registered on the
course, then phasing out arrangements (see 6.8) will be required in order to
safeguard the quality of the student experience.
6.6 When the last registered student has completed (or transferred/withdrawn), the
course is classified as ‘closed’ and will be removed from the University’s database of
‘live’ courses. The Finance and Planning representative will report this action to
6.7 In a case where a validated course had never recruited, and so the course code had
never been used, the course and its code will be removed from the database of
courses by Finance and Planning. Again, this action will be reported to ASQC.
6.8 The University’s procedures to cover the phasing out of discontinued courses ensure
that such courses are supported, that registered students are not disadvantaged, and
that quality and academic standards are maintained at an acceptable level. Faculties
wishing to phase out provision in specific areas are required to bring plans for the
maintenance of the quality of the student experience during the phasing out period to
FASQC, in June each year for approval. The precise phasing out arrangements will
be monitored by FASQCs and, via minutes, reported to ASQC which will to maintain
oversight of procedures.
7 Approval of off campus delivery of faculty provision
This section provides guidance on quality assurance of off campus delivery of faculty
provision. It has been developed with reference to Section B3 of the UK Quality
Code for Higher Education on Learning and Teaching.
Approval of locations of delivery for collaborative provision is covered in the
Handbook for Collaborative Provision.
7.1 There are a number of situations where University credits can be gained through
learning which takes place off-campus. The Handbook for Collaborative Provision
describes those arrangements which apply to fully collaborative provision (franchise,
validated, and articulation agreements). This chapter describes further potential off
campus delivery arrangements, for which other quality assurance measures are in
place as appropriate.
7.2 Work based and placement learning
This refers to a planned period of learning outside the University, where the learning
outcomes are an intended part of the course. University staff remain responsible
overall but other staff in the location (eg in a school, for education courses) may play
a mentoring role, for which they are trained and supported by University staff. The
course is approved through the University’s normal processes (see this section of the
Quality Assurance Handbook).
7.3 Off campus delivery by Faculty staff
This refers to a situation where University staff deliver a University award, or credits
towards a University award, at a location not owned or controlled by the University,
whether in the UK or overseas. The approval mechanism for the mode of delivery
(the course itself having been approved in usual way), is a Location of Delivery
Approval form (LODAF).
7.3.1 Subject Group Leaders are responsible for completing LODAFs which should include
the following information
the proposed location, address, website
key contact personnel
the rationale for off-campus delivery
awards to be delivered
overview of physical resources
forms of student support the location may afford
LODAFs must be signed by the Dean of Faculty to confirm that the resources are
appropriate for delivery and that they support the development. The form must be
received in Academic Registry at least four weeks before the visit.
7.3.2 Registry, in consultation with the host Faculty, will make arrangements for the visiting
panel. The approval panel will normally consist of:
a senior member of staff with QA experience, from outside the faculty
responsible for the provision (Chair);
an additional member of staff from the responsible faculty;
a Registry Officer, where appropriate.
Selection of the panel will be arranged by Academic Registry and approved by the
relevant Faculty Head of Quality and Standards.
7.3.3 The approval panel, via a tour of facilities and interviews with Faculty staff, will
produce a report designed to verify the information provided in the LODAF and
the rationale for off-site delivery;
an assessment of teaching spaces;
relevant information about other physical aspects of the proposed delivery
location (for example, any library or study centre facilities available at the
location; student access to IT services and to the Web; etc);
Student support arrangements.
7.3.4 Reports on LODAFs are received and approved by the relevant FASQC and reported
to ASQC via the minutes.
7.3.5 To be classified as off campus delivery by faculty staff, all the modules must be led
and assessed by UK-based University staff. If off campus delivery by Faculty staff
subsequently seeks to include any level of learning support from a third party or
from locally employed staff, whether employed by the University or the third party
then the FASQC will consider whether any additional level of approval is required. If
the role of the local staff is, for example, to support students between University
teaching visits or to co-teach during them, but not to teach independently or to
assess, then the additional assurance is normally a requirement for staff CVs to be
approved by the Dean of Faculty. If there is further delegation to a third party for
delivery or any assessment, then the arrangement might be considered to be
collaborative provision and would require the approvals set out in the Handbook for
7.4 Distance learning
Distance learning is defined as courses which can be undertaken without requiring
attendance at classes but where all teaching, support and assessment are provided
by the University at a distance. These courses are approved through the University’s
normal processes (see the Quality Assurance Handbook, chapter on Course
Planning, Validation and Approval).
Revised Dean of Q&S March 2012
Last revised Dean of Q&S September 2012