Please click on the one of the following links for further information:
If you have a question relating to approval that is not listed on our FAQ page please email firstname.lastname@example.org
There are a number of resources available to help with writing unit and programme specifications, including how to formulate aims and learning outcomes. Please see our Quality Assurance Information page for further information or get in touch with your faculty liaison contact for advice.
Due to the changes to the approval process we advise that you contact your Faculty Education Director at an early stage to discuss your proposal.
A process brief for the new approval process is available.
New units: New optional units are normally approved at School and then Faculty level whereas new mandatory units may also require central approval if they form part of a significant programme change. Creation of any new units will always require you to update the structure of a programme(s) to add the new unit in accordingly.
Changes to units: It is possible to make some changes to your units for future academic years without requiring formal approval. The fields that can be updated are: teaching block, unit director, description, pre/co-requisites, open unit status and the key reading and references.
If you edit any of the fields outside of those listed above, this will be considered to be a change that requires approval.
For further information on creating new units and formulating unit aims and learning outcomes, please see the Quality Assurance Information page.
New programmes: Approval is required from the School, Faculty, Education Committee, Senate and Council.
For further information on creating new programmes, including formulating programme aims and learning outcomes, please see the Quality Assurance Information page.
Changes to programmes: There are some changes that you can make to your programmes for future academic years without requiring formal approval. The fields that can be updated are: the Programme Director, Additional Information and the Source for Further Information.
The relevant Faculty Education Director will decide if a change is major or minor within the context of assessing the potential risks to the University. Further information about the definition of major and minor changes is available here.
If you just change a programmes' optional units then this is normally considered a ‘minor’ change and approval is required by the School and Faculty.* Significant reduction of options for students will normally be considered as a major change.
A change to a programme is normally considered ‘major’ if you make any other change to your programme not listed above. This primarily includes changes to:
* Please note that for Joint Honours programmes, changes must be approved by all Schools and Faculties involved. The (draft) document Joint Honours Students Experience Requirements (developed after the 2012 review of the student experience on joint Honours programmes) should be consulted, particularly if you are proposing a new programme. Please email email@example.com if you require a copy of this document.
During the implementation of the new policy for approval in 2012/13 there may be changes to the information required for approval, in the meantime please use the current forms. We are in the process of updating the Online Approval Tool so that it better supports the new approval process. If you have any questions about this, please do get in touch.
The Business Case includes the completion of the business case template and the detailed financial information. This stage of the approval process will not take place within the Online Approval Tool. The business case template and financial information should be approved by the Dean of the Faculty and the Pro Vice Chancellor (Education and Students). You should discuss your proposal with your Faculty Manager who will the business case/financial plan is sent to the Dean and the Pro Vice Chancellor for approval.
Once these approvals have been given, the Faculty Manager will contact the Education Support Unit (ESU). The ESU will then assign a Critical Friend to the proposal and inform you of who this is (- please note proposers or their Schools are not able to assign a critical friend of their own choosing). The Critical Friend is a member of the University with significant experience of programme management and development. The role of the Critical Friend is to advise the proposer on the Academic Case and write a brief report which forms part of the approval paperwork to be considered by the Faculty and Education Committee. You should allow a minimum of two weeks for the Critical Friend to review your completed proposal before it is due for consideration by your Faculty Committee. It is essential, therefore, that you make contact with your Critical Friend as soon as possible, and keep them informed during the key stages of your proposal's development.
Proposals for new programmes and major changes to existing programmes are then required to complete an Academic Case template.
In addition to completing the template, the academic case then consists of:
For any new units:
The online approval tool is in the process of being updated to reflect the new academic case template. In the meantime, the fields it uses are still related to the forms from the previous programme approval process which are available here for information.
The following information is needed for a minor change and for withdrawing a programme.
Proposers should bear in mind that withdrawal of a programme or unit is a formal process which requires approval by any School/Faculty involved. (The online approval tool can show you which programmes include a unit you intend to withdraw and you should ensure the relevant programme director/school administrator is made aware of the withdrawal).
New programmes are also required to complete an Intended Learning Outcomes mapping document. The Intended Learning Outcomes mapping document must be amended to reflect any changes to an existing programme's learning outcomes. Guidance on completing the mapping document.
Consultation with students must be undertaken for all new programmes and major changes to programmes. Please ensure that you allow enough time to carry out your student consultation. We advise that you start this process early on in developing your proposal in order to accommodate student feedback. When presenting proposals to students, please consider the likely effect of any changes on the student experience and specifically include this for students to comment and feedback on.
Student consultation can be done in a number of different ways, e.g. through Student-Staff Liaison Committees, focus groups supported by email or Blackboard. The method used may depend on the type of programme, the location of the students or timing of the proposed change and more than one method may be needed. We recommend that wherever possible focus groups are used as this gives students a better opportunity to engage and is likely to allow more representative feedback. Student representatives should be included in focus groups.
For major changes to your programme we recommend that you consult with students across all years of a programme even if the changes don't affect them as, for example, final year students are likely to have a better understanding of the implications of changes to the first year of a programme.
For new programmes we recommend that you consult students on related/similar programmes to ask if they would have been interested in applying for the proposed programmes or have any comments on the content, for example. If you were changing your programme title you could ask your current students if they would have applied for the new title.
Please see the Student Agreement for terms and conditions relating to changing programmes of study.
For the purposes of approval, please use the Student Consultation template to upload into the Online Approval Tool.
External comments are requested for all new programmes and major changes to programmes. We request that two sets of external comments are sought, one of whom may be your external examiner.
Please download the External Referee template and ask your external referees to complete. The two completed forms can be uploaded into the Online Approval Tool in the ‘References’ section.
If your external referee has asked any questions or raised any concerns, please respond directly to the comments, return to your external and include any further comments from them on the form. If the proposal has been modified in response to the externals’ comments, please indicate this on the form.
Any changes which affect the Ordinances and Regulations, such as a programme title change, will be managed through the Online Approval Tool.
Faculty Education Directors are empowered to review proposals and subsequently make changes to the approval workflow. FED's are able to log in to the Online Approval Tool to read, review and authorise proposals and will also have the ability to change the status of a proposal from minor to major or vice versa.
If you have any questions or concerns please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
We are in the process of stripping out a number of the authorisations in the online approval tool in line with the new approval process, however in the meantime the following still applies.
Authorisation in the approval tool is the online equivalent of obtaining the signatories for a proposal.
If you are required to ‘authorise’ a proposal an email will automatically be sent when a proposal is submitted with a link to the Online Approval Tool where you can login and read the proposal. You are asked authorise the relevant sections of approval information for your area, for example, the Faculty Financial Controllers are requested to check any financial plans submitted for new programmes and any financial implications for major changes to programmes. You are also able to comment on the proposal and this information will go to the relevant committees.
Please see the guidance notes on how to authorise a proposal on the Online Approval Tool Home Page.