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Programme development and approval

Our programme development and approval policy and processes 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 development policy has been developed to sit alongside the collaborative provision policy, to ensure it continues both to support internal processes that function efficiently and effectively and to fully meet the expectations and practices set out in the UK Quality Code for Higher Education and the Standards and Guidelines for Quality Assurance in the European Higher Education Area (ESG)

Programme approval procedure

Programme Approval Policy

The policy provides an overview of the procedures, processes and requirements for the:

  • design and approval of new programme(s) or activity (including collaborative provision)
  • updating and revising existing programmes
  • discontinuing programmes
  • the continuous quality management of all credit bearing activity.

Programme development and approval process

There are three stages of the programme development and approval process.

Stage one: Strategic approval

For new programmes, strategic approval is taken at University level and addresses the key question, ‘In principle, do we want to do this?’ Answering this question involves careful consideration to market intelligence, business viability including costs and tuition fee income and risks (including reputational risks).

For changes to existing programmes, strategic approval is taken at College level but will still consider the same strategy, business viability including costs, risks (including reputational risks), student numbers and practical and academic considerations.

Stage two: Programme development

It is envisaged that more time invested during the programme development phase will increase high quality, innovative, programmes being put forward for academic approval. There is an expectation that a team approach is taken to developing proposals progressing from Stage one strategic approval with a full range of advice and expertise offered through the Centre for Education Support and Innovation.

At approval, the Programme and Partner Standing Panel will ask the question, ‘Is this academically robust?’ This will involve a consideration of curriculum design and delivery, the student experience, learning resources and support and administration arrangements. In addition, the panel will assess whether programmes meet external benchmarks and any specific PSRB requirements.

Stage three: University approval

After the proposal has been considered by the Programme and Partner Standing Panel, they will inform the School of the outcome and if successful, recommend approval to the Chair of the Academic Standards and Quality Committee.


To ensure that there is successful recruitment to all new programme proposals, clear timescales for final approval by ASQC have been established in the Programme Development Policy.

As each proposal varies in scale and complexity, it is important that appropriate time and resources are available throughout each stage of the process.  Proposals including collaborative provision may take significantly longer especially in cases where national government approval is required or where the programme may be subject to additional approval mechanisms at the partner organisation(s).


For more information, please contact:

Quality and Standards Team