3. New awards and other variations from the regulations

  • There may be instances in which a new programme proposal does not fit within the existing University frameworks, and this section gives details of how to apply for variations. These processes may also be used for existing programmes.

  • 3.1.1 The University’s portfolio of awards is extensive (see University regulation A1.1) – it covers a range of awards at all levels of the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ), and it should be possible to locate the majority of new programme proposals within this list. Hence, a strong rationale is required for the addition of any new awards. Where a PDT believes it is necessary to establish a new award type, they must secure Academic Board approval as soon as possible after Faculty initial approval has been granted, well in advance of the programme approval event.

    3.1.2 The application for the addition of a new award to the University’s portfolio must be approved by the Faculty Academic Enhancement & Standards Committee (this may be done by Chair’s Action) and submitted for University approval to the Academic Enhancement & Standards Committee (AESC), using template T2.2a. AESC will assess the proposal and make a recommendation to Academic Board on whether or not to approve the new award.

    3.1.3 The submission must provide a clear rationale for the establishment of this new award, referring to:

    1. the list of existing University awards, giving an explanation of why none of the awards in the current portfolio will suffice;
    2. the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications and the Higher Education Credit Framework for England;
    3. the needs of the discipline, i.e. how the new title expresses the nature of the programme/s of study it will relate to; and the extent to which it is being used by other higher education institutions, including examples of the award being used elsewhere;
    4. employer requirements, i.e. how the qualification will be recognised within the relevant profession/industry.

    3.2.1 The University’s expectation is that new programmes of study should be designed to fit within the University Regulations, which are informed by relevant sector guidance. However, it is recognised that it may be necessary for a minority of programmes to vary from the regulations in certain respects in order to meet national expectations in the discipline or profession. Where a programme team wishes to apply for a variation from the University Regulations - either for new or existing programmes - AESC approval must be sought prior to the application of the variation. In the case of new programmes, this approval must be secured in advance of the approval event.

    3.2.2 The application for variation from the regulations must be presented on template T2.2b, which requires programme teams to provide a clear rationale for the proposal, including reference to:

  • the consultation process (students, employers, external examiners, etc)
  • the potential impact on any University policies on assessment
  • relevant professional body requirements
  • The proforma must be signed off by the FAESC (Chair) before submission to AESC for approval.