4.1 Definitions

  • The programme specification, and associated programme documentation, may be considered as the ‘contract’ between the University (as the awarding body), its Departments and Faculties, and its students, which sets out the terms of delivery of a programme. Within this context, it is recognised that it may be necessary to make changes to existing programmes from time to time, in order to maintain the currency of the provision, to satisfy the requirements of accrediting or commissioning bodies, or to enhance the student learning experience.  

    These changes must be approved through the processes described in this section to ensure that staff, students, applicants, and other interested parties have access to accurate definitive programme information at all times.

    Modifications have been categorised according to their significance for the programme as a whole (see below), and the approval processes tailored so that they are proportionate to the changes being proposed (see section 4.2).

    Routine updating

    4.1.1 For routine updates to modules and programmes, an appropriately authorised member of the Faculty (i.e. with the consent of the Programme Lead) must notify the Student Central Course & Student Administration Team (CSAT) should be notified using the CSAT Syllabus Update Request Form, in order that PIP can be updated. 

    This may include updates such as:

    • change to module leader
    • textual amendments/updates which do not change the focus of a module or fall into a minor change category (see 4.1.2 below)
    • updates to reading lists (updates to module bibliographies should also be negotiated directly with the appropriate Academic Liaison Librarian to ensure additional resources are made available to students)
    • updates to list of level 4 recommended modules available to a programme (see 4.1.4 below). 

    Once the update has been carried out by the CSAT team, any amended documents should be lodged with the Faculty Quality Officer and the APQO.  

    Where they consider that a requested update constitutes a minor or major change, the Course & Student Administration Team will refer it back to the Module Leader or Programme Lead, who should follow the appropriate approval process as set out in section 4.2

    Minor changes

    4.1.2 Minor changes refer to modifications to existing modules which relate to the teaching and learning experience.

    This may include changes to the following validated arrangements: 

    • Module title  
    • Module aims and learning outcomes  
    • Module assessment strategy 
    • Curriculum content  
    • Teaching and learning strategy - mode of delivery; the allocation of learning hours to different activities; etc. 
    • Pre- and co-requisites 
    • Extending the use of the module as acceptable to another programme  
    • Deletion of the module  

    Major changes

    4.1.3 Major changes refer to modifications at the level of the programme.

    This may include changes to:

    • Programme title 
    • Exit award/s available 
    • Professional body accreditation requirements  
    • Programme learning outcomes 
    • Significant changes to the overall approach to teaching, learning and assessment, affecting multiple modules across the programme (especially where the Unistats return may be affected) 
    • Curriculum structure (this may affect the Unistats return) 
    • Criteria for admission – e.g. changes to prior qualifications required (changes to specific ‘A’ level grades/tariff points are not subject to this process) 

    Major changes also include: 

    • Extending the use of an existing module to another existing programme as a compulsory module
    • Approval of new modules for inclusion in an existing programme
    • Variation from the University Regulations (see section 3.2 for the process to be followed)

    Note: Changes to resource requirements for programme delivery should be dealt with by the Head of Department/Faculty Executive group.  

    Revalidation

    4.1.4 Faculties should be mindful of the cumulative effect of a significant number of individual changes to programmes over a period of time, and must ensure that all changes are approved through the appropriate process, and clearly communicated to students, staff and other relevant stakeholders in a timely manner.

    Revalidation of an existing programme, following the new programme approval process set out in section 3, should be initiated where substantial curriculum change is required, covering several of the areas listed in 4.1.3 at once. This may occur, for example, in the case of changing professional or industry requirements, or where the addition of a significant number of compulsory modules results in a change to the programme learning outcomes. 

    Note: The addition of additional acceptable modules to an undergraduate programme may be dealt with through the minor/major change process and should not, on its own, trigger a re-validation.