Joint honours programme approval

Joint honours programmes have extra approval requirements, involving liaison between the two teaching schools. Approval processes for new programme proposal, programme withdrawal and for programme and module changes are explained here.

A joint honours programme is a particular kind of interdisciplinary programme where students combine two different subjects in approximately equal proportions.

Full details are in the Joint honours programme approval guidance.

Programme amendment responsibilities

Schools have overall academic responsibility for all programmes they parent. For joint honours programmes, this includes responsibility for the co-taught disciplines through liaison with partner schools. Review and development of the curriculum may be instigated by either teaching school, but amendments to programmes (including changes to the module provision in either discipline) will be the responsibility of the parent school.

Programme teams and the co-teaching schools

The programme team is central to the process of reviewing and updating programmes. At the core of the programme team are the programme leader in the parent school and the link tutor in the co-teaching school. Directors of Student Education must ensure that programme leaders and link tutors are included in any discussions in their schools about changes in provision that may impact on the structure or content of joint honours teaching.

Co-teaching School Taught Student Education Committees (STSECs) should keep parent STSECs informed, at an early stage, of proposed changes to their provision which will impact on joint honours programmes.

Programme teams and especially link tutors need to be aware at all times of:

  • the approval timetable and committee deadlines within the parent school(s)/faculty(ies)
  • any impact on marketing materials, which are produced well in advance.

Module amendments

Amendments within a module which are not substantial enough to require a new module proposal / code will be approved by the teaching school and do not need to be formally reported to joint honours partners.

Any change which is substantial enough to require a new module code will need to follow the process below. Read more in Module approval.

Note that withdrawing compulsory/optional modules and/or proposing new compulsory/optional modules within either discipline counts as a programme amendment, even where the overall structure of the programme remains the same. Read more about major programme amendments and minor programme amendments in Taught programme amendment.

In practice, approval of amendments will happen in parallel: the teaching STSEC approves (and the FTSEC notes) the module provision within each discipline, while the parenting STSEC approves (and the FTSEC notes) associated amendments to the programmes they parent, while considering the balance between disciplines, interdisciplinary elements and skills training.

Review and development of the provision in a co-teaching school may result in recommendations to amend a number of different joint honours programmes, which may be parented in different schools/faculties.

Schools may wish to co-opt relevant members of partner schools to their Taught Student Education Committees (TSECs) to help communication.

Approval in the parent school/faculty

Formal approval of programme amendments will be through the parent STSEC and either the Programme Approval Group (for major programme amendments) or FTSEC (for reporting minor programme amendments). Catalogue records and workflow will be owned and managed by the parent school.

The parent STSECs will assure themselves that co-teaching partners have been consulted before recommending approval to the PAG or reporting the change to FTSEC. The catalogue software includes fields where this consultation can be noted. The level of consultation should be appropriate to the scale of the proposed amendment. For example, for a comprehensive review of the structure of a programme, the parent STSEC may wish to see notes from a programme team meeting where both disciplines have been represented, alongside endorsement of the Director of Student Education in the co-teaching school. For a minor change to the availability of different optional modules, a record that co-teaching partners have been informed would suffice.

Withdrawal of joint honours programmes

Withdrawal of a joint honours programme should follow the same process as for amendments. The withdrawal form includes space to note partners who have been consulted before a recommendation to withdraw a programme is made.  See programme withdrawal form.

Parent STSECs and PAGs must assure themselves that co-teaching partners have been consulted before recommending withdrawal. The recommendation to withdraw should be approved by STSEC and the relevant Pro Dean for Student Education and the parent school/faculty executive, and then reported to the co-teaching STSEC and FTSEC.

Proposing a new joint honours programme

A proposal for a new joint honours programme will be approved by the proposed parent school/faculty, who will satisfy themselves that partner schools fully support the proposal before recommending approval.