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Validation of new courses

The primary reference for teams developing a new course and preparing for validation is the relevant University course validation procedure:

Further information and guidance on course validation, including documentation templates, is available below.

New course proposals

Initial proposals for new courses go through agreed planning and consultation procedures prior to being presented to the University's Quality Committee for final approval to proceed to more detailed course design and development. The purpose of this initial approval stage is to allow the University to be assured of the quality and viability of the proposed new course before it proceeds to the next stage in the validation process and to permit initial publicity relating to the award. The Quality Committee acts under delegated authority from the University Senate in granting permission to proceed to publicity and full validation, reporting to Senate on any decisions made.

Proposals for new courses within the University and regional partner colleges (East Coast College, Suffolk New College and West Suffolk College) are submitted for consideration using the course proposal form with accompanying website information form, costing model (produced in liaison with the Finance and Planning team) and market research statement (produced by the Market Research and Development team in External Relations).

The partner course proposal form should be used for other partnership arrangements.

Course design and development

Once initial approval to proceed has been granted, course teams engage in detailed course design and development work in preparation for a validation event. This is a crucial stage in the process, and course teams are expected to allocate sufficient time and resource to enable the development of a high quality, coherent course. The course team is expected to consult widely to inform the design and development of the course, for example inviting input from industrial, business or community stakeholders and experts. This work will result in the production of documents for submission to the validation panel.

Guidance for staff

Validation events

The process culminates in a validation event, where the course proposal is subject to detailed scrutiny by an acknowledged group of experienced peers including internal and external academics, employer representatives and a student representative. During the event, the validation panel meets with students currently studying related local provision (where possible) and with the course team (including further employer representatives where appropriate). A tour of facilities and resources may also be provided. At the end of the validation event, the validation panel makes a decision on whether the course has been approved for delivery. Approval may be conditional upon certain points being satisfactorily addressed, either before the course commences or by a subsequent agreed deadline.

A report on the validation event is submitted to the Quality Committee for information. The Quality Committee reports to Senate on all courses that have been successfully validated, including confirmation of the agreed period of validation (which is normally five years).