Taught module approval

New or  amended modules require certain actions and approvals before they can be offered. New modules are approved by the Programme Approval Group.  Amended modules are approved by the School Taught Student Education Committee.

Modules are the individual units of study. With other modules, they make up a programme. Successful completion of specified modules leads to the award defined for the programme.

Each module will have its own learning outcomes, syllabus and assessment schedule. The Programme Approval Group (PAG) approves new modules on the recommendation of the School Taught Student Education Committee (STSEC). Following PAG approval of a new module, the STSEC has authority to approve minor amendments to the module and report these to the Faculty Taught Student Education Committee (FTSEC).

Types of module

The different types of module in the University are:

Compulsory module

These are modules which must be taken to be able to progress with a programme or to be eligible for award. They contain the essential parts of the programme and so are compulsory to enable the learning outcomes for the programme to be met.

Optional module

Optional modules support achievement of the programme learning outcomes and form part of the approved programme specification. A list of possible optional modules will be stated for each programme of study and students on the programme can choose modules from this list.

Discovery module

A discovery module is one which is not required for achievement of the programme learning outcomes and is not therefore specified as part of a programme of study. Discovery modules are designed to give a student the opportunity to broaden their studies if they wish. Some programmes do not allow students to take discovery modules because of professional requirements. Students in their final programme year will not normally be permitted to take year 1 modules unless they are skills discovery modules (see below).

See also Discovery Themes and Discovery Modules as a feature of Broadening in the Leeds Curriculum.


Criteria for the designation of a module as a Discovery Module

To be designated as a Discovery Module, a module must:

  • Be designed to provide opportunity for the development of one or more of the agreed University list of skills and attributes;
  • Be no more than 20 credits in size, this being the maximum entitlement to take Discovery Modules in the final year of an undergraduate programme;
  • Have sufficient capacity that places on the module will be available to students during Discovery enrolment;
  • Usually have no pre-requisites; where they are necessary, they should be straightforward, broad, limited to one level and attainable while studying at Leeds prior to the student's final programme year;
  • Be approved by the appropriate Discovery Theme Leader(s) for inclusion in the Discovery Theme(s). Please email your completed module proposal form to: Discovery@leeds.ac.uk

See further information about Discovery Themes and Broadening on the Broadening website.

Discovery Modules will be reviewed on an annual basis using the criteria listed above.

Skills discovery module

Skills discovery modules are designed to develop specific skills. They can be taken in any year of the student’s programme. Year 1 skills discovery modules are the only year 1 modules which can be taken beyond the second programme year. A maximum of 20 credits, subject to the provisions of the programme of study concerned, may be taken in the final programme year. Skills discovery modules are always single-weighted in the classification algorithm. Skills discovery modules can be at year 1, year 2 and exceptionally year 3.

Changes to modules

What is a new module?

A new module is one that has not been offered previously in the same form in the University.

A module that has been substantially amended (eg changes to the credit weighting, credit level or substantive changes to the module learning outcomes) should be treated as a new module. This ensures the accuracy of a student’s Diploma Supplement and Transcript document and Higher Education Achievement Report.

New modules must always be:

  • given a new module code that has not been used before
  • recommended for approval by the STSEC and be formally approved by the relevant PAG.

Consistent opportunity and assessment

For each module, all students must have identical opportunities for learning and study, and experience identical assessment opportunities. If, within a single cohort of students on a module, it is proposed to assess some students by one method (eg an exam) and others by a different method (eg a coursework essay), these alternatives must be treated as separate modules and be presented to students through the programme catalogue as alternative modules.

Approval process

Preparing a new module proposal for STSEC

New module proposals are recommended for approval by the STSEC and approved by the PAG. Follow the process below:  

  1. Use the proposal form for a module which includes accompanying guidance to help ensure you have considered everything you need to. 
  2. Check that the Head of School has considered the outline proposal for the module to ensure that it is consistent with school/faculty strategy and is financially sustainable. If a reading list is required, module leaders should provide this through the reading list tool in Minerva (see the Library's reading list guidance page for more information). If a reading list is not required, this should be signalled in the reading list tool, which will populate the space with appropriate online library guides.
  3. The STSEC considers the new module proposal and recommends approval or revisions to be made.
  4. Following STSEC, ensure the module proposal is updated to reflect the revisions agreed by STSEC. You can enter the module onto the catalogue now or wait until it has full approval from the PAG.

After STSEC endorsement

Submit the module proposal electronically to your Quality Assurance team (QAT) faculty contact, with the relevant STSEC minutes detailing consideration of the proposal and a completed PAG coversheet. QAT then  arranges for it to be considered for approval by the relevant PAG.

Once the PAG has approved the module the School must ensure that the final version of the module is added to the module catalogue. QAT will then authorise it being made live on the catalogue.

Students may only enrol on a module when it is live on the catalogue.

Module amendments

STSECs have authority to approve module amendments and then report these to FTSEC via the STSEC business report and STSEC minutes.  (A copy of the amended module is not required by FTSEC).

All module amendments can be approved by STSEC except where the proposed amendments are considered major and affect the credit weighting, credit level or require substantive amendments to the learning outcomes. In such instances, a new module must be proposed and the existing module withdrawn.   The replacement module is treated as a new module for approval purposes. This retains the integrity and consistency of the historical record of modules and ensures parity for any student retaking a module in a future year.

Changing a module title is considered a minor change and can be approved by STSEC, however the re-titled module requires a new module code to retain consistency of the historical record. The existing module code will need to be withdrawn and the new module code and title confirmed to the Faculty TSEC in the report of STSEC business

Process for amending modules

  1. The changes to the module must be clearly indicated with a supporting rationale.  This proposal is then considered for approval by the STSEC. 
  2. A module catalogue report or amended module proposal can be provided if this is considered appropriate for STSEC consideration.
  3. Following approval, the module catalogue must be updated to reflect the changes.
  4. The module amendments must be reported to the FTSEC through the STSEC business report and the STSEC minutes, which must be sent to your Quality Assurance team (QAT) faculty contact.  

Please contact your Quality Assurance team (QAT) faculty contact if you have any queries regarding the process.

Typographical corrections

Typographical corrections are changes which affect the layout, expression, spelling and/or grammar of text fields, but which do not change the meaning of the text. Examples include correcting spelling, punctuation or grammar, paragraph layout or bullet points. Typographical corrections do not include any addition or removal of content. Typographical corrections can be made without committee approval. The catalogue retains a record of versions and usernames, where changes are made.

Open fields

Open fields impact the operational delivery of modules but do not affect the nature of study or the student achievement. Changes to information in these fields do not require academic committee approval but are usually subject to management approval within the parent School. These open fields are:

  • Staff
  • HECoS code(s)
  • Teaching periods, including part of term (semester) and caps on enrolment numbers, providing that the changes do not significantly change the structure of approved programmes.

"In principle" approval of new or amended modules

It is occasionally necessary to approve a new or amended module “in principle” before full information is available, for example, to facilitate advertising a new programme or online enrolment. Modules for “in principle” approval should be submitted with as much information as possible. As a minimum the following information must be provided: title, level, module code, credit weighting and semester of delivery (and this can be included in the programme proposal form). Before teaching starts, the full module proposal must be formally approved by the STSEC and PAG through the normal channels.

Withdrawal of a module

A module that is not a compulsory element of any programme and for which no students are registered for the next session may be withdrawn for the next and/or subsequent sessions. To withdraw a module the STSEC should include its termination in their meeting minutes and in the completed report of STSEC business to FTSEC.

Where a module is a compulsory or optional part of a programme, the school should include recommendations for necessary amendments to the programmes affected.  If appropriate, the School should also give students details of alternative modules that are available.

If students have registered for a module before it is considered for withdrawal the STSEC must consult the Pro-Dean for Student Education. The module can be withdrawn only after evidence has been supplied that all students registered on the module have been notified and have made satisfactory alternative module choices.

A module that is a compulsory or optional element in any programme owned by another school may be withdrawn only with approval of the FTSEC and after discussion with the parent school(s) for the programmes concerned.

Temporary suspension of a module (eg because of staff sabbaticals) is known as making it inactive. A compulsory module in any programme cannot be made inactive.