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Course approval, modification and review

This section of the Quality Manual provides information on procedures for course validation and re-approval; course modification; and course suspension and withdrawal. 

For further information on all aspects of course approval, modification and review, please contact Dr Andrew Revitt, Educational Developer. 

Course approval

The University of Suffolk's procedure for the validation of new courses allows for a proposed new undergraduate or taught postgraduate course at the University or its partner institutions to be evaluated and approved by an acknowledged group of experienced peers including internal and external academics, employer representatives and student representatives.

More information on the course validation process (including guidance, forms and document templates, as well as separate procedures for the approval of short courses and non credit-bearing courses) is available on the course validation page.

For partner colleges delivering Pearson Higher National awards within their University of Suffolk portfolios, the process for approving these courses is available within the procedural document Delivery of Pearson Higher National Awards at the University of Suffolk, and there is also a separate Higher National course proposal form

Course modification

It is understood that courses are dynamic and are subject to modifications from time to time in order to maintain currency and secure ongoing enhancement. The University of Suffolk's procedure for the approval of changes to existing courses outlines the way in which changes to courses are approved within the University and its partner institutions.

The course modification form should be used to request approval of a change to a validated course. A revised definitive course record (with tracked changes), course modification summary, and where necessary, a revised/new module specification (with tracked changes) should accompany this form. Please contact the Validation and Exams team to be issued with the current definitive course record. You should also familiarise yourself with the implications of consumer protection law when considering modifications to courses (for further information, please see our staff guide to consumer protection law). 

Course modification forms must be submitted six months prior to the proposed implementation date, to ensure that students, applicants and other relevant stakeholders are provided with sufficient notice regarding planned course changes. For the 2018-19 academic year, the following deadlines will apply for submission of course modification forms and relevant accompanying documentation:

  • For courses starting in September/October 2019: 1 March 2019
  • For courses starting in January/February 2020: 1 July 2019
  • For courses starting in April 2020: 1 October 2019

In exceptional circumstances, for example where the change is a requirement of a professional, statutory or regulatory body (PSRB), a course modification submitted after the deadline may be considered. All other modification forms submitted after the deadline will be considered for implementation in the 2020-21 academic year.

For partner colleges delivering Pearson Higher National awards within their University of Suffolk portfolios, the process for approving changes to these courses is available within the procedural document Delivery of Pearson Higher National Awards at the University of Suffolk.

Course review and re-approval

All courses offered within the University of Suffolk and its partner institutions are subject to a review and re-approval process on a maximum of a five year cycle, in accordance with the procedure for the re-approval of existing courses. While the course re-approval process is ultimately designed to ensure that the course continues to be of an appropriate quality and academic standard to warrant a University of Suffolk award, an important element of the process is enhancement of courses through constructive discussion and debate with internal and external experts.

More information on the course re-approval process (including guidance, forms and document templates) is available on the course re-approval page.

Course suspension and withdrawal

As part of its portfolio planning processes, the University of Suffolk recognises the importance of reviewing the viability of course provision on a regular basis. Ongoing viability may be influenced by a range of factors, including alignment with strategic priorities, current and future market demand and external stakeholder engagement. As a result, there may be occasions when it is necessary for the University or its partner institutions to either temporarily suspend recruitment to a course or to withdraw a course completely. The University's procedure for the suspension or withdrawal of existing courses outlines the way in which decisions to temporarily suspend recruitment to courses or to permanently withdraw courses are approved, and how applicant and student interests are protected in such circumstances.

The course suspension form should be used when a department or partner college has decided not to recruit to an existing course during a particular academic year, and wishes to seek approval for temporaily suspending recruitment.

The course discontinuation form should be used when a department or partner college wishes to permanently withdraw a validated course (including not seeking re-approval of a course through the re-approval process). 

Staff should familiarise themselves with the implications of consumer protection law when considering course suspension or withdrawal (for further information, please see our staff guide to consumer protection law).