College of Humanities and Social Science Postgraduate Studies Committee
Supplementary guidance on presentation of proposals for new or
changed taught postgraduate programmes and courses in 2005-06
This document should be read in conjunction with the guidance given by Senatus PGSC at
Informal preliminary discussion with the College Postgraduate Office and the Dean of
Postgraduate Studies is invited in all cases, and particularly where a proposal has unusual or non
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*** 19 October 2005***
Responsibilities and authority
New programmes must be formally approved at school level by the Board of Studies (or
equivalent); at College level by the College Postgraduate Studies Committee; and at the
University level by the Senatus Postgraduate Studies Committee.
The initiating school is responsible for preparing the case for the new programme or course.
Documentation to be prepared includes:
• programme specification
• programme proposal
• degree programme table (for programmes)
• completion of CCAMS templates.
The proposal must be duly considered and approved by the school Board of Studies.
College Postgraduate Studies Committee
The College Committee will consider proposals for programmes and courses and, if supported, transmit
them to the Senatus Postgraduate Studies Committee. In practice the College Dean of Postgraduate
Studies will routinely approve the following:
• requests for minor changes to existing programmes, e.g. change of programme director,
addition or substitution of courses within the programme
• requests for new or changed courses that constitute part of an already approved
programme provided that such new or changed courses:
o are standard courses, i.e. conform with curriculum project and academic year
requirements as specified below
o have been duly considered and approved by a school Board of Studies or
equivalent. Such a board must include representatives from outwith the subject
area proposing the course. The full written proposals and the minutes of the
relevant Board meeting should accompany requests for approval.
Changes more substantial than those itemised above will be considered by the College PGSC or
(at the discretion of the Dean) a subcommittee of it.
Senatus Postgraduate Studies Committee
The Senatus Committee will consider proposals transmitted by the college committees. For new
standard programmes it is more often the case that the Senatus Postgraduate Studies Committee
receives proposals for information. For non-standard programmes this Committee will play a
more active role in considering and approving proposals.
Standard programmes are those which fit completely with the agreed curriculum project
and academic year
Non-standard programmes are those which do not fit with the above mentioned curriculum
project and academic year requirements. Any programmes which are collaborative in nature or
which have elements of distance/flexible learning delivery are also classified as non-standard.
Content of proposals – general remarks
It may be helpful to think of the proposal for a new programme under two main heads: academic
strategy and resource issues.
Under academic strategy, proposals for new programmes should explain:
• the relevance of the programme content in the context of the school’s teaching and
research strengths; the place of the programme within the school’s general academic
• complementarity with existing and planned academic activities; areas of synergy and
collaboration with other taught programmes
• whether it is intended to replace an existing programme
• the appropriateness of the academic standards
• conformity with standard expectations in terms of credit rating, subject guidelines etc.
• conformity with quality assurance requirements
Under resource issues the following questions should be addressed:
• how many students is it aimed to recruit? who are they and what evidence is available to
assess how realistic the estimate is? what is the potential for overseas recruitment?
• what is the competition?
• will the programme support or feed other programmes?
• what level of fee is proposed? (do not just assume the standard postgraduate fee – see
• what would be the new demand on library, laboratory, office space and computing
equipment resources? how would this be met?
• what would be the new demand on administrative and support staff and how would this
• who will staff the programme? is there a reasonable degree of resilience in case of
academic staff departures, retirals, sabbaticals, etc., over, say, a five year period?
• will the programme share modules with other master’s or honours programmes?
For specific requirements on presentation of proposals please refer to the SPGSC guidance at:
It is for the head of the respective school (or schools, in the case of joint proposals) to determine
whether the programme is consistent with the school’s resource planning and budgetary
Fees and costs to be charged for a programme are determined by the College office. It is
recommended to see advice at an early stage from the fee strategy group. Please contact Helen
Taylor, Resources Administrator (Mondays – Wednesdays only) or Frank Gribben, College
Registrar. In considering what level of fee to set it is worth bearing in mind that the full
economic cost of providing a student place is likely to be of the order of the overseas
postgraduate student fee (£8900 for PhD/MPhil, £9450 for Masters, 2006/7 rates). The home
student fee (approximately £3150 for PhD/MPhil, £4100 for Masters, 2006/7 rates) reflects the
economic cost of programmes that receive SHEFC funding and this may well not be available
for any new programme proposed. You should also consider the fees being charged for
comparable courses elsewhere.
Fee income to the university is divided between central services and the schools. As a rule of
thumb, it would be reasonable to expect about 60 per cent of the fee income to be channelled to
the school to meet locally incurred costs.
Submission procedure and deadlines
Proposals for new or amended programmes should comprise the four documents referred to
above plus confirmation of approval from the relevant board(s) of studies. Proposals for a new
type of qualification (e.g. a degree programme not covered by existing MSc regulations in the
DRPS) must also include draft regulations for incorporation in DRPS. Thus the complete list is:
• programme specification
• programme proposal
• draft degree regulations (where applicable)
• degree programme table
• copy of completed CCAMS templates for courses within programme
• formal minutes of the approving board or boards of studies.
• External Assessor’s reports (see below)
*NB. There is no need to fill out the old Word course cover sheets that are found at:
http://www.aaps.ed.ac.uk/committees/senate/ugsc/guide/casindex.htm These are no longer in
Proposals for new programmes should be accompanied by an external assessor's appraisal. The
school should appoint as external assessor an individual with broad experience and repute in the
academic field covered by the new programme, who can provide an independent assessment of
the academic merits of the programme and of its prospects for successful recruitment in
comparison with similar programmes at other institutions. The school should offer the assessor
an appropriate honorarium for providing a report; the honorarium must be met from the school's
Proposals for new or substantially altered programmes must be submitted electronically in
Word or PDF format to the Secretary of the CPGSC not later than 13 February 2006. They
should be accompanied by proposals for the component courses of the programme unless these
already have prior approval.
Schools wishing to propose programmes earlier than this date may do so in consultation with the
Proposals for new or amended courses should comprise a copy of the completed CCAMS
template and formal minutes of the approving board(s) of studies. They should be submitted
electronically in Word or PDF format preferably also by 13 February 2006. Proposals for new
or amended courses that will comprise part of an already approved programme may however be
considered up to 19 April 2006.