The University of Essex has a risk-management approach to the approval of new degree courses and awards. The intensity of scrutiny which a new award 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.

If you have any questions about the approval of new courses, or new modules, please contact:

New course approval process

New courses go through a number of stages and committees before the course can be advertised, opened for admissions and delivered for the first time.

It can be useful for those involved in developing the new course to meet at an early stage to talk through timelines and responsibilities - for example representatives from the department's course development team, the Quality and Academic Development Manager or Postgraduate Research Education team and the Executive or Deputy Dean.

Stages of course approval and information gathered

The information gathered on new courses builds as the course progresses through each stage.  Please review the guidance to see what forms and supporting information are collected at each stage, who is responsible for approval at each stage and what the possible outcomes of each stage are.


Although requests for new courses can be submitted at any time during the year, there are a number of key deadlines which should be considered in relation to when the course is intended to start.

The timeline allows information to be finalised in time for publication for students when they choose their course and modules.

Submitting documentation by the timelines below allows most new courses and any associated new modules to be approved in time for new course and module information to be published to students and taken into account in preparations for the new academic year, including updates to Course Finder, the module directory, timetabling and library resource.

Timelines relate to the first academic year the course is to be delivered:

  • Concept stage: when discussions over the new course begin
  • Development stage: early November
  • Final stage: by the end of January

Later requests

Later requests for a new course might be considered, although in some cases the date of introduction may be deferred.

  • Departments should aim to submit final stage information at the latest by mid-April to allow the course to be considered by Academic Quality and Standards Committee.
  • Where the new course includes new modules that will be available on other existing courses, these need to be submitted at the latest by 1 March (the Course Records Review and Modification deadline)
  • Time should be allowed beforehand for discussions over the course design, production of the documentation and consultation (in line with the course category)
  • Deadlines for approvals via validation events may be different, depending on the timing of the meeting, but will still aim to report to AQSC in the spring term.

Guidance and forms

Arrow symbol
Contact us
Quality and Academic Development
Telephone: 01206 873944