UCL Programme Specifications - General information
Academic Support contact for initial enquiries - Sandra Hinton
A statement on UCL's approach to Programme Specifications
1. In its ‘Guidelines for Preparing Programme Specifications' (July 2006), the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) states that :
a programme specification is a concise description of the intended learning outcomes of an HE programme, and the means by which the outcomes are achieved and demonstrated.
2. The QAA also recognizes in its ‘Guidelines' that:
- while programme specifications provide essential information for its review activities, these activities do not require specifications to be provided in a particular format;
- that they are just one of a number of ways in which institutions can describe the intended learning outcomes of their programmes;
- while some programme specifications focus on the student audience, others are used primarily as quality assurance documents, particularly in design, approval and review processes;
- and that programme specifications must be fit for the purpose that they fulfil in each individual institution.
3. UCL's position is that programme specifications are a useful internal quality assurance tool, but are not an effective or accessible means of communicating programme-related information to a diverse range of external stakeholders. Consequently, while programme specifications form part of UCL's internal programme approval, monitoring and review processes, they are not intended to be, or designed to act as, primarily a source of information for students, potential students, employers or other external stakeholders - relevant information for these various stakeholders is provided in more appropriate and accessible formats, e.g., the UCL prospectuses, departmental handbooks, programme guides, course outlines, many of which are available online.
UCL’s use of Programme Specifications in Programme Approval, Monitoring and Review processes
1. In the programme approval process, the Programme Institution Questionnaire (PIQ) includes the UCL programme specification template. The completion of the template enables UCL to ensure that the design of new programmes involves teaching teams taking due note of external reference points and discussing explicitly the programme's intended learning outcomes. For more information on Procedures and Forms for Programme and Course Proposal, Amendment and Review please see the Registry Website at
2. Programme Specifications also form part of UCL's Annual Monitoring (AM) process. The Annual Monitoring Report (AMR) template includes a question to Programme Organisers asking them to confirm whether there have been any developments in the previous year which require changes to be made to the programme specification. They are then required to confirm that the programme specification has been reviewed and updated and to send in their updated programme specifications by email each year to Rob Traynor in Academic Support for uploading on to the Academic Support website.
3. As part of the Augmented AM procedure (AugAM), Programme Organisers are requested to reflect on a range of questions relating to whether the programme has met its stated aims and learning outcomes, and an up-to-date programme specification is submitted as part of this process.
1. The UCL programme specification template specifies institutional-level core reporting requirements, which individual faculties may, if they so wish, supplement in order to reflect the particular nature of their provision or to include particular information of relevance to their students and stakeholders e.g., in vocationally-oriented subjects.
2. Guidelines for UCL staff on the preparing a programme specification including a programme specification template and worked examples are available here.
3. Programme specifications for all UCL taught programmes are available online here.
Page last modified on 10 may 12 17:02