This page contains information about the new Programme Approval process (previously known as validation and revalidation), which was introduced in January 2021. There is currently a transition process towards the new process, and your Quality and Standards Manager will be able to guide you through the process. The following sections set out the key aspects of the process.
1. The Programme Approval Process
There are three key stages in the approval process:
- Programme Proposal
- Programme Development
Programme Proposal Stage
This stage will be completed using an online e:Vision tool (part of the SITS Student Records System) from the academic session 2021-22. Until then, the Quality and Standards team will be able to provide you with the paper-based form.
Guidance on using the evision tool is available in the following help guide, containing all the information that programme proposers and professional service approvers need to develop approvals and interact with the tool:
- Full User Guide - New Programme Approvals
- A series of stakeholder briefings were held during spring 2021 about the new programme approval process and the proposal proposal tool. A copy of the presentation is available here: Stakeholder briefing on new Programme Approval Process
During the programme proposal stage basic information about the programme is collated: this includes the programme learning outcomes and aims, award type, collaborative partnership (if applicable), information about market research and student consultations. This information provides the basis for the development of programme teaching and learning strategies via an Initial Programme Design workshop with CTESS and then the approval of the Proposal by your Faculty or Institute Academic Development Committee (F/IADC).
Programme Development Stage
The programme development stage is when the proposal is developed into a full programme. The information provided in the proposal can be developed further and embedded into the overal design of the programme. This process will be faciliated by Programme Design Intensives, run by CTESS, in which the development team can work with each other and specialist teams in the university to design the programme.
All programmes progress through Faculty / Institute ADC level approval, ADC approval and finally Academic Board. No programme may commence delivery until Academic Board has recieved notification of the approval.
2. Timelines for Programme Approval
Undergraduate Programmes: The key date for undergraduate programme approvals is approval must have been given by Academic Board in July in the year prior to the year in which delivery begins (for September starts). This means for example that a programme beginning delivery in September 2023 would need to have completed approvals (including notification to Academic Board) in July 2022.
An indicative timetable is available to guide plans for programme development: Sample Schedule
Postgraduate Programmes: Postgraduate programmes should follow the same timeline as undergraduate programmes.
Fast Track Programme Approval: In exceptional cases and subject to approval by the Quality Assurance and Enhancement Committee (QAEC), programmes may be developed using a shorter timeline. This route may only be followed where there is a clear rationale relating to one or more of the following:
- University / Faculty / Institute strategic plan
- Income generation
- Market opportunity
Academic Board must have received notification of the programme approval prior to delivery commencing. Programmes following this route will not recieve a full window of recruitment and the effect of this on student numbers and therefore projected financial income and alignment with Faculty / Institute growth strategies must be carefully considered.
The proposal form for Fast Track programmes is available here: Fast Track Programme Approval - request form. It should be completed in consultation with the Dean of Learning and Teaching, Head of Quality and Academic Partnerships, Dean/Director of Faculty/Institute and Associate Dean for Student Experience.
Collaborative Programmes: The timeline for developing Collaborative Programmes is considerably more flexible than for on-campus provision. Any proposals for collaborative provision should be dicussed with Rebecca Pointer or Luke Dillion, the Quality Standards Managers for Collaborative Provision, to develop an appropriate timescale. Academic Board notification must have been confirmed before collaborative provision programmes can commence delivery.
3. Programme Approval Documentation
The new programme approval process includes enhancements to the documents required. The proposal document is completed entirely online using the e:Vision tool.
There are three documents that are utlimately submitted to the Panel Event for approval:
- Programme Approval Document (template TBC)
- Student Handbook (including Programme Specification template)
- Module Outline template
4. Guidance for Initial Proposal Workshops and Programme Design Intensives
Guidance is being developed and will be available shortly.