Programme approval

Programme approval is the process by which we ensure that any named award of Cardiff University is of an appropriate academic standard and will provide a valuable and stimulating learning experience for our students.

The programme approval policy framework has been developed to sit alongside the collaborative provision policy framework, to ensure it meets the expectations outlined in the QAA UK Quality Code B1.

Programme approval policy framework

29 March 2016

Setting out the processes and highlighting the documentation and details needed in each programme approval proposal.


The framework sets out the approval process for:

  • developing new programmes
  • making major changes to existing programmes
  • making intermediate changes to existing programmes
  • making minor changes to existing programmes.

Approval process

The decision making processes are designed with a guiding principle of subsidiarity, whilst ensuring appropriate rigour and scrutiny. All levels of change have a specific approval route needing both strategic and academic approval; however, the requirements will differ considerably dependent on the scale of change presented.

There are three overarching principles of the programme approval process.

Stage one: Strategic approval

Strategic approval is taken at College level and addresses the key question, ‘In principle, do we want to do this?’ Answering this question involves consideration of strategy, business viability including costs, risks (including reputational risks), student numbers and practical and academic considerations.

Stage two: Academic approval

This is a single academic approval stage which asks the question, ‘Is this academically robust?’ This stage involves a consideration of curriculum design and delivery, the student experience, learning resources and support and administration arrangements. This stage completes the academic approval process.

Stage three: University approval

A formal sign-off of the approval by Academic Standards and Quality Committee (or alternate depending on the level of change proposed).


As the types of new programmes vary in scale, complexity and risk, the process of development and/or change may take a significant period of time to complete all stages.

The timescales for planning, development, implementation and marketing new programmes and making changes to existing programmes are outlined on the programme approval timeline.


For more information, please contact:

Quality and Standards Team