Course design, approval and modification

Our course and module approval processes are designed to ensure:

  • courses meet the academic standards and quality required by the University as a registered provider with degree awarding powers regulated by the Office for Students
  • courses and approval processes align with the requirements of external agencies such as the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA)
  • course data is collated at approval stages so the University publishes accurate and clear information
  • there is an appropriate level of external input to new course design and approval

Course design and advice

Advice is offered by teams across the University on the various aspects of new course and module approval, from initial development of a proposed course or module, through to ongoing review and amendments once the course has been approved and is being offered.

New courses

The University has a risk-management approach to the approval of new degree courses and awards. The intensity of scrutiny which a new course is subjected to is determined largely by the volume of the curriculum that is new and whether there are any aspects of the course which are new to the department or University, and the academic risk it therefore represents.

New modules

Proposals for new modules on existing courses should be submitted in line with deadlines for the annual update of modules and courses.  Proposals can be submitted at other times of the year, as long as they are in advance of the final deadline for the annual update. New modules designed as part of a new course proposal should be incorporated into the approval process and documentation for the new course, and should account for deadlines for the course start.

Changes to existing courses and modules

All courses and modules are updated annually as part of the ongoing cycle of monitoring and review.  The nature and scale of the request for changes to existing courses and modules will dictate whether approval is needed and when changes can be introduced.

Guidance is given on what to take into account when considering changes, how to find information to help, who to consult and who to contact for training and guidance.

Year-round delivery

Like most UK Higher Education Institutions, Essex has a ‘standard’ academic year which runs from autumn to summer, with term dates approved by Senate. However, we also have modules and courses that operate across dates that fall outside of these typical terms, which we refer to as ‘year-round delivery’.

If you are considering creating or amending a module or course for year-round delivery, as well as working with QUAD in the usual process, consulting, notifying and liaising with key University teams is equally important, particularly for the students’ experience at Essex. We have developed guidance (.pdf) to support those considering introducing year-round delivery, including the teams you should include in your planning.

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Quality and Academic Development
Telephone: 01206 873944