Taught programme withdrawal

To withdraw or temporarily suspend a programme, a school must seek approval from the Portfolio Steering Group, via the relevant Programme Approval Group (PAG).

The Portfolio Steering Group ratifies taught programme withdrawal , acting on behalf of Senate and PAG approval follows recommendation from the School Taught Student Education Committee (STSEC). Schools must use the programme withdrawal form to request approval. Depending on the timing, it may also be necessary to seek permission from the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Student Education (for example, if withdrawal/suspension is considered within an application cycle).

The programme withdrawal form must be completed to request approval. Consultation with other teaching schools/departments or external institutions contributing to the programme is required.  

Careful consideration should be given to the status of existing literature/information about the programme (for example, the prospectus and other print materials as well as Coursefinder and the programme catalogue) and the timing of application and recruitment cycles, open day presentations and the existence of any deferred applications/offers. Partnerships or collaborative agreements with other institutions or organisations require particular attention. Early consultation with the Faculty Marketing Manager is important.

Withdrawing a taught programme from marketing and recruitment

  1. If the proposal to withdraw precedes the start of the recruitment cycle for the next entry point and receipt of any applications, schools should complete the programme withdrawal form and seek approval from the Pro Dean for Student Education (DVC approval is not required in this situation). The start of the recruitment cycle is normally defined by the Coursefinder rollover point (for example, around March 2019 for both UG and TP entry in September 2021; though different cycles may apply for specific courses). If the proposal is straightforward and does not involve any co-teaching or collaborative partners, the school may proceed and request approval.
  2. In exceptional circumstances, if the proposal to withdraw comes after initial release of advertising/Coursefinder rollover, but before receipt of any applications, further to consultation with Faculty Marketing and Admissions, schools may proceed as above with the proposal to withdraw and an associated communications plan presented to the PAG/Pro Dean for Student Education for consideration.
  3. In exceptional circumstances, if the proposal to withdraw comes after receipt of applications or offers (including any deferred from previous application cycles), permission must be sought from the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Student Education and the specific approach to communications and further action must be agreed with Faculty Marking and Admissions (and detailed on the withdrawal form). Ideally, suitable alternative arrangements will be presented to any offer holders/applicants. Offering a place on a programme of study represents a contract between the University and the student in which the University sets out its obligation to provide the programme as advertised unless very exceptional circumstances outside the institution's control ensue (further details about such rare exceptions are set out in the student contract and, where appropriate, in advertising such as the prospectus).


The views of co-teaching schools/faculties involved in programme delivery (for example, contributing compulsory or optional modules) must be sought and properly considered. Particular attention is necessary if any external partners are involved; where withdrawal or suspension involves collaborative partners, the decision to withdraw must be agreed by all interested parties and must take account of any relevant provisions in the legal agreement in force at the time.

Teaching out programmes

Programmes withdrawn from marketing and recruitment activity may still have students registered on them, and the University’s commitment to their on-course experience continues so that the University’s obligations to individuals are reasonably and fairly fulfilled. The duration of the teaching-out period will include any study abroad or placement activity, the usual re-examination opportunities, and should accommodate students with temporary suspension from study. Communication with students on teach-out programmes is important to provide them with reassurance about the continuing coherence of their study, and consideration may need to be given to final cohorts’ continuing relationship with the relevant academic community (for example, students on related programmes, and any new programmes being introduced). This guidance does not permit the immediate withdrawal of programmes on which students are registered, as this would be contrary to the University's commitment to teach out.

Programme suspension

In the case of a programme being suspended, the same protocols for removal from marketing and recruitment apply as for programme withdrawal. In addition, the conditions for reinstatement should be set out at the point of suspension. These terms are likely to be case-specific (for instance due to funder demand, resource or space contexts, for example) but academic, resourcing and financial/strategic cases must be assured explicitly at the point reinstatement is considered for approval.

A proposal for the temporary suspension of a programme should be accompanied by a rationale for the suspension and reinstatement conditions. The relevant Programme Approval Group will consider and approve the case for reinstatement at such time that arises. Programme Approval Groups will also review the ongoing status/viability of any programme suspended for two successive years.