Programme Approval

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2 Programme Approval

1. New taught programmes are approved by the UCL Education Committee under powers delegated from the UCL Academic Board. The Education Committee is advised by the Programme and Module Approval Panel (PMAP).
2. PMAP also advises the UCL Research Degrees Committee (RDC) on the approval of taught components of new research programmes.
3. Programme approval takes place in two stages: Outline Approval, which is granted by the relevant Faculty Teaching Committee; Final Approval, which is granted by the Education Committee or Research Degrees Committee.

2.1 Approval Process

1.  The Programme Approval Diagram below describes the approval path for a new taught programme.
  Outline Approval
  Outline Programme Approval Process
2.
Once Outline Approval is noted at PMAP, programmes may be advertised in a limited way ‘subject to approval’. Additional development work is then undertaken to provide the documentation for the Final Programme Proposal (Stage 2) (previously PIQ2).
  Final Approval
  Final Programme Approval Process
3.
In the case of taught elements of research degrees, PMAP’s recommendation is forwarded to Research Degrees Committee (RDC) for approval.

2.2 Information Required

1.  The forms, for Outline Approval and for Final Approval, show the information required for programme approval. A summary of the requirements at each stage is provided below:
    Outline Programme Approval (Stage 1) Final Programme Proposal (Stage 2)
  Named Roles Initiator, programme director, External Scrutineer (if known), other nominees Initiator, programme director, External Scrutineer, other nominees
  Structure

Proposed start date

Location(s), level(s), mode(s) of study

Award title(s) and interim award(s), including proposed routes/pathways

Any programme specific entry requirements

New modules proposed (on an Outline Module Proposal form)

Existing modules (indicative list)

Programme Summary (in format for inclusion in student handbook)

New modules (On a Final Module Proposal form)

  Description

Programme Description (c. 500 words)

Strategic fit (with UCL 2034, Education Strategy, Faculty and Department strategies, Connected Curriculum; c. 250 words)

Confirmation of enclosures and processes completed with note on changes made following Outline Programme Proposal (Stage 1) (including responses to recommendations)

Programme Description (c. 1,000 words)

Strategic fit (with UCL 2034, Education Strategy, Faculty and Department strategies, Connected Curriculum; c. 500 words)

  Internal Partnerships Description of intent to make use of existing modules, and other internal partnerships with evidence of approaches made to module owners Documented confirmation of approval to make use of existing modules, and other internal partnerships
  External Partnerships (essential if any partnership activity envisaged) Description of any proposed Academic Partnership

Academic Partnership Proposal form

Checklists: risks and responsibilities; due diligence; site visit checklist

APRG approval (to be granted in advance of programme approval)

Draft Memorandum of Agreement with partner

  Business case

Market research

Programme income and expenditure, including fee levels

Student number projections

Note on updates following Outline Approval, if appropriate

Additional details in cases of variation from Outline Approval stage for Dean’s consideration

  Externality Statement on externality to date, and proposed externality in future development

Statement on externality used in development

External Scrutineer’s report

PSRB report, if appropriate

Note on engagement with Subject Benchmark Statements, Qualification Characteristics

  Sign-off

Department TC; Head of Department; Faculty Dean; Faculty TC

With recommendations as appropriate


Department TC; Head of Department; Faculty Dean; Faculty TC; PMAP; EdCom
2.  MRes proposals require a completed MRes Final Programme Proposal Appendix supplement form in addition to the outline and final programme proposals.

2.3 Roles and Responsibilities

1. The Roles and Responsibilities chart describes the actions required by the relevant parties at Outline and Full Approval.
  Role Outline Approval
Final Approval
  Programme initiator

Produce Outline Programme Proposal (Stage 1);

liaise with Faculty Tutor on process

Produce Final Programme Proposal (Stage 2) taking into account feedback from Outline Approval stage and External Scrutineer;

attend PMAP

  External Scrutineer Advise programme developer (optional, though recommended) Provide critical commentary on the proposal
  Faculty Dean

Sign-off (with/without recommendations) or reject Outline Programme Proposal (Stage 1);  on basis of: 1, proposal’s fit with Faculty strategy;

2, financial viability;

3, if proposal is in Faculty plan (confirmation required from Planning in cases where student numbers not agreed in advance)

Advise the Faculty Teaching Committee to sign-off or reject Final Programme Proposal (Stage 2);   on the basis that proposal still valid and (as appropriate) recommendations have been acted upon
  Faculty Tutor Advise programme initiator, Dean and FTC

Advise programme initiator, Dean, FTC;

attend PMAP

  Department Teaching Committee Review proposal and confirm endorsement before forwarding to Faculty Tutor for FTC Review proposal and confirm endorsement before forwarding to Faculty Tutor for FTC
  Faculty Teaching Committee Review proposal and confirm approval before forwarding to PMAP Secretary Review proposal and confirm endorsement before forwarding to PMAP Secretary
  School Finance Director Advise the Dean to sign-off (with/without recommendations) or reject Outline Programme Proposal (Stage 1);  on basis of proposal’s financial viability Advise the Dean on the basis of updated information following Outline Approval stage (if necessary)
  Planning Team Advise Dean in cases where proposal is not already within Faculty plan No role at this stage
  PMAP Members  Note Outline Approval by the Faculty Scrutinise Final Programme Proposal (Stage 2);  and confirm that the programme approval regulations have been followed and that the programme is fit for the UCL portfolio
  PMAP Secretary Record proposals receiving Outline Approval and initiate actions with central services Record proposals receiving Final Approval on basis of PMAP recommendation and initiate actions with central services
  Central services Receive Outline Approval-confirmed proposals and initiate local actions (e.g. marketing) Receive Final Approval-confirmed proposals and initiate local actions (e.g. admissions)

2.
Faculties and Departments may adopt local practices such as the involvement of additional committees or the Vice-Dean(s) Education. However, PMAP will continue to require sign-off from the named individuals and groups as listed in the Programme proposal forms.

2.4 Timelines

1.  For marketing of programmes to be given the best opportunity to attract the highest quality students, and for UCL to uphold its responsibilities with respect to the Competition and Markets Authority guidance and relevant legislation, the following deadlines are essential:
  i)

For undergraduate programmes:

Final Approval must be achieved not later than November of the calendar year two years prior to the intended start of a programme (22 months in advance of a September start).

  ii) 

For postgraduate programmes:

Final Approval must be achieved not later than the end of June in the year prior to the intended start of a programme (15 months in advance of a September start).

  iii) 

For all programmes:

Final Approval must be secured not later than the end of February preceding the first admission of students. Failure to do so will result in the programme launching in the following academic year.

2.
While these are the very latest deadlines, programme initiators should be encouraged to begin work on Outline Approval much earlier to give sufficient time for: effective competition/market appraisal (both within and outside of UCL); development and approval of the business case; obtaining Faculty approval. A recommended timeline for the development and approval of new programmes is included in Section 11 of this Chapter, under Further Guidance.
 3. Undergraduate programmes can only be advertised effectively through UCAS if Final Approval is obtained 22 months prior to the intended programme start.
 4. Programme initiators should also note the Annual Academic Review deadlines when developing new programmes.
 5. Programme initiators should note that in order to be considered by PMAP new programme proposals at Final Approval Stage must be submitted not less than 10 working days in advance of a meeting. Submissions received later than 10 working days in advance of a meeting will be considered at a subsequent meeting of the Panel.
  Term Date of meeting
Papers Deadline
  One Thursday 12th October 2017  10.00 – 12.00 Thursday 28th September 2017 by 5pm
   One Thursday 16th November 2017  10.00 – 12.00 Thursday 2nd November 2017 by 5pm
   One Thursday 14th December 2017  10.00 – 12.00 Thursday 30th November 2017 by 5pm
   Two Thursday 15th February 2018  10.00 – 12.00 Thursday 1st February 2018 by 5pm
   Two Thursday 15th March 2018  10.00 – 12.00 Wednesday 28th February 2018 by 5pm
   Two Thursday 12th April 2018  10.00 – 12.00 Thursday 22nd March 2018 by 5pm
   Three Thursday 17th May 2018  10.00 – 12.00 Thursday 3rd May 2018 by 5pm
   Three Thursday 14th June 2018  14.00 – 16.00 Thursday 31st May 2018 by 5pm
   Three Thursday 12th July 2018  10.00 – 12.00 Thursday 28th June 2018 by 5pm

2.5 Good Practice in Programme Design

1. 

There is extensive advice and guidance available to initiators of programmes and those involved in development and approval. The key resources are: 

  • UCL Arena (previously the Centre for Advancing Leaning and Teaching (CALT));
  • E-learning;
  • UCL Careers.
2.  Programme initiators are also expected to engage with the good practice guides found in Section 11 of this Chapter.