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Programme and Module Approval and Modification

Taught Programme Approval

Student in Laboratory

Proposals for new taught programmes first need to receive the approval of the Programme Development & Approval Sub-Committee (PDASC).  Upon receiving this initial approval, Faculties develop the programme and approve via their Education Committee (or equivalent).  

Full details of the process (along with links to the required forms and documentation) are found on the internal website

The following are the basic steps for taught programme approval:
  • A department who wishes to propose a new programme must firstly consult with their Executive Dean of Faculty and Education Lead;
  • Along with a signed Programme Proposal Form (PPF), the initial proposal must have a Business Case and a Marketing Report included.  Without these documents, the proposal will not be considered - please contact QSE if you require the forms.
  • If the proposal includes collaborative activity then the Collaborative Provision Partner Profile & Checklist and Site Visit Checklist forms must also be submitted.  The Programme Proposal and Collaborative Provision Partner Profile & Checklist forms must be signed by the Executive Dean and the relevant Provost (Health or Arts and Sciences);
  • Once initial agreement has been given by the Programme Development and Approval Sub-Committee, the department must attend an Embedding Employability in the Curriculum workshop;
  • The Faculty then approaches an External Specialist to complete a report on the final Programme Approval Form (programme specification) before writing a response to the feedback received;
  • The Programme Approval Form and External Specialist Report is submitted to the FEC for consideration and approval;
  • Once the FEC has approved the PAF the full paperwork is submitted to the Academic Regulations, Quality and Standards office for final checking.  It is anticipated that the majority of new programmes will then be approved via Faculty, with a final report noting these approvals being submitted to Programme Development and Approval Committee.
  • Those programmes that are deemed complex i.e. are delivered across faculties or have major collaborative activity attached, then these are sent to the Programme Development and Approval Sub-Committee for final approval
Notes & Guidance

The guidance notes have been incorporated into the Notes of Guidance chapter of the procedural handbook.  These guidelines include:

  • Guidance on risk and ethics assessment in the design of modules;
  • Guidance on the production of programme specifications and the completion of programme and module approval and modification forms, which includes guidance on equality of opportunity;
  • Guidance for Faculties (Institutes/School) on the use of external specialists and external peers for programme approval and review;
  • Guidance on flexible and distributed learning;
  • Guidance on the operation of collaborative teaching activity;
  • Guidance on student placements;
  • Definitions of collaborative activity;
  • Guidance on joint awards;
  • Guidance on the design of taught interdisciplinary, joint honours and major/minor combination programmes.

If you are unsure of what you should be noting at any time during the process then please consult the Quality Assurance Handbook.

In order to complete the final Programme Approval Form (PAF), which eventually forms the Programme Specification, you will need access to Student Records.  If you do not yet have this access, please speak to your Faculty Education Manager.


OPAMA User guides

The following user guides have been produced to assist users of OPAMA at any time of the process:

Golden Rules For Using OPAMA
  • Please read the guidance above!  Although it appears lengthy, the vast majority of pages are screenshots that will walk users through the process of completing a PAF
  • Use the 'Email a copy of the proposal to yourself' function and proof-read your work in hard copy before submitting.  Copying and pasting into OPAMA, using ampersands (&), and leaving additional blank spaces after text can all cause formatting issues that are not apparent when editing in the system - the PAF will form the final Programme Specification document that is available on the external website
  • Save your work as specified in the guidance. When you have finished editing in a text-box, click out of the box (i.e. elsewhere on the page) before clicking 'Save and Continue'. Also click 'Save' whenever returned to the Summary page
Technical Issues
If you have any issues in relation to the technical side of OPAMA then please contact IT Services.


What collaborative provision information should I be noting?

Contact the Head of Collaborative Provision for guidance on the definitions of collaborative provision and due diligence processes

Where can I go for guidance on completing the business plan?

The business plan should be discussed with your faculty business accountant/manager.

Who approves new staff for the programme being proposed?

New academic posts should be discussed with Faculty Education Chairs and Territorial Vice-Principals, and requests submitted as part of the annual Planning Round. Deadlines for such requests are aligned to the Planning Round and Faculties’ strategic reviews with individual deadlines set for each of the Faculties. All requests should be completed by December each year.

What is the programme code?

The Faculty Quality Administrator should be able to provide these.

How do I retrieve work that I started but then saved to return to later?

In "My online tasks" section of the system you will find the work that you have already started.  Click on the relevant task to be worked on.  Do not set up a new record as this results in multiple records on the system.

What approval signatures are required on the PAF?

The following approval signatures should be provided, prior to paperwork being submitted:

  • Chair of Faculty Education Committee
  • Representative from other Faculty (whether this is a College Education Committee member of member of another Faculty Education Committee);
  • External Peer;
  • In those programmes where modules being taught involve another faculty then that Faculty's Chair of Faculty Education Commtitee
  • Your Workshop facilitator should also be  requested to sign-off the process
What admissions information should I be noting?

Staff in the admissions office are available to guide faculties on the relevant qualifications to be noted as entry criteria.

What are the timescales for programme approval?
  • For new undergraduate programmes, final approval should be obtained before 1st January 2021 for a 2022/23 start.
  • For new taught post-graduate programmes final approval should be obtained before the 1st June 2021 for a 2022/23 start.

If you are unable to meet these deadlines, please contact Marketing 

Where do I enter information on English Language (IELT) requirements?

There is no requirement for noting this information on the PAF as it is expected that the programme will follow standard requirements.  

For UG programmes standard requirements

For PGT programmes standard requirements

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