Approval process overview

Compile full details of all new and amended modules and programmes before putting them forward for approval by the appropriate committees.

Approval processes and roles – who does what

Formal approval involves several groups:

  • The Portfolio Steering Group (PSG) ratifies the teaching portfolio, on behalf of the Senate.
  • The School Taught Student Education Committees (STSECs) and Programme Approval Groups (PAGs) consider the detail of programmes and modules, on behalf of PSG.
  • The school proposing the new or changed course is responsible for the completeness and accuracy of each proposal.
  • The school and its STSEC ensure that proposals put forward for approval are correct and complete at the first presentation.
  • PAGs oversee proposals and focus on selected academic elements, in particular, learning outcomes and methods of assessment.

Approval procedure

The approval procedure for the different types of proposal are set out below.

You need full details of all new and amended modules and programmes before you put them forward for approval by the appropriate committees.

Students will not be able to enrol on a module or register on a programme until it has been fully approved.

New programmes: are proposed by the STSEC, approved by the PAG, and ratified by PSG. The programme proposal requires approval in advance of Coursefinder going live to take full advantage of the recruitment cycle. A Quality Check is undertaken at least 6 months before the programme commences (normally by the appropriate PAG).  At the Quality Check any new constituent module proposals are approved, programme management arrangements are agreed, and the original programme documentation is reviewed to ensure that any issues have been addressed and all elements of the programme are fully aligned and deliverable. 

Major programme amendments: involve changes to the structure of an existing programme which have the potential to impact on the programme level learning outcomes.  See major programme amendment definition (PDF). Major programme amendments are proposed by the STSEC, approved by the PAG, and ratified by PSG.

Minor programme amendments: are approved by the STSEC and confirmed to FTSEC via the Report of STSEC Business and supporting STSEC minutes.

New modules: are proposed by the STSEC and approved by the PAG.

Module amendments: are approved by the STSEC and reported to FTSEC via the Report of STSEC business. If the proposed amendments include changes to the module learning outcomes, credit level or weighting you may need to propose a new module instead.  Please speak to your Quality Assurance team (QAT) faculty contact who will advise on the proposal.  

Deadlines and timescales

New programme proposals

Proposals for new undergraduate programmes need approval in advance of UCAS going live, by the beginning of April – 17 months before the programme commences.  Proposals for new taught postgraduate programmes need approval by the beginning of September – 12 months before the programme commences. Please speak to your Quality Assurance team (QAT) faculty contact who will advise on the proposal timescales.

See timeline for taught programme approval.

Changes to modules and programmes

All changes to existing modules and programmes need to be completed by 31 March in the academic year before enrolment/registration. This is so the catalogues are accurate before online enrolment for returning students starts, in early May.

By 31 March the final versions of the module(s) or programme(s) must be entered into the catalogues and approved by the relevant committees. Schools may not normally make changes to the catalogues for the next session after this date, as the University must meet requirements for the Competition and Markets Authority.

Changes to existing provision during or after online enrolment

In exceptional circumstances, a school may need to make an urgent change to a module or programme after the 31 March deadline. This will only be allowed where the school can prove an urgent need for the change and students will not be disadvantaged. The Pro-Dean for Student Education in the Faculty or PAG Chair will need to consider the proposal for approval, ensuring the appropriate process has been followed:

  • For existing modules, the school will inform all students enrolled on the module of the proposed changes, providing evidence of this and that students agreed to the change. 
  • For changes to existing programmes, the school will inform all students registered on the programme of the proposed changes, providing evidence of this and that students agreed to the change.

Changes to new programmes during the recruitment process

  • For any proposed changes to new programmes, you should seek advice from your QA Faculty contact as early as possible.  These may then be considered by Chair’s action or as part of the programme’s Quality Check by the PAG.  If approved, the relevant Faculty Admissions team will then contact all applicants to the programme to inform them of the changes and where appropriate, offer advice about alternative arrangements and the opportunity to withdraw.  

Module and programme catalogues

The module and programme catalogues are the definitive source of information on the University's teaching portfolio. They contain the formal programme specifications. It is vital they are accurate because:

  • students, examiners and others rely on the information in catalogues
  • several other systems get their information from the catalogues, including:
    • websites 
    • online enrolment and registration 
    • the Banner student records system 
    • University examinations 
    • the student portal.  

The School is responsible for ensuring that final details of  all approved modules and programmes are entered into the catalogues following approval. This should be completed within 5 working days of the programme/module being approved.

Responsibility for accuracy

Schools and faculties are responsible for ensuring that the catalogue information is accurate and complete, and that information provided to staff and students by other means matches that in the catalogue. Students, examiners and others must be able to rely on the information published in the programme specifications.

Guidance and training

SIMS training will help you to use the catalogue databases.

Go to SIMS training on the IT website for information, to book training and for course manuals.

The relevant training courses are:

  • B700M Module catalogue handbook
  • B700P Programme catalogue handbook

Recording changes

Keep full records of all changes to a school’s modules and programmes in the minutes of STSEC meetings.  Following STSEC, a consolidated report of all module amendments and minor programme amendments that have been approved by STSEC (along with the STSEC minutes) will be submitted to the Quality Assurance team (QAT) faculty contact for reporting at the next FTSEC meeting.

Report of STSEC business for FTSEC: module amendments
Report of STSEC business for FTSEC: minor programme amendments