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New programme approval

Introduction and Scope

A new single template* has been created for the development and approval of undergraduate and postgraduate taught programmes of study that lead to a named award of the University. The new template replaces NPP1 and NPP2, including the need for many of the associated separate associated pro-formas. 

For Word or PDF versions of the new template, please see below:

*NB only two additional associated pro-formas accompany the main template, and these are located in the 'Programme Approval Documentation' section located in the menu to the left of the screen.

The main aims of the review of current programme approval documentation was to:

  1. Front-end all information defined as 'material' by the CMA to ensure that we are publishing this information to prospective students at the earliest opportunity.
  2. Utilise the opportunity to streamline existing templates into one iterative document, removing duplication of information caused by several separate associated pro-formas.
  3. Enhance current documentation to ensure that information is captured for external reporting compliance with HESA and UNISTATS, in addition to facilitating Campus Solutions set-up (including creation of the publication record).
  4. Address published data quality issues identified by UNIAC in their final report March 2017 ensuring that all key published information is captured by the new template.
  5. Segment the flow of information appropriately in anticipation of future automation to manage the programme approval process, via the Student Lifecycle Project. 

Overview of the programme approval process

The single New Programme Proposal Form is divided into sections (Sections A to I) with quality assurance check-points and approval gateways identified via several signature points so that it is maintained as an iterative and collaborative process.

Sections A to F could be said to map to NPP1 and Sections G to I map to NPP2, so that two broad phases to the programme approval process remain in order to obtain approval in principle for the development of the programme (A-F) which essentially approves the business case and ensures that it fits strategically with the School, Faculty and University (Manchester 2020).  The second phase (G to I) is the full development and approval of the detailed structure and content of the programme.

The intention is that the New Programme Proposal Form can be used in one of two ways; to facilitate two distinct approval phases as described above, or to facilitate one combined approach where all sections A to I are developed.  Should colleagues wish to utilise the latter pathway please contact your Faculty Quality Administrator or Teaching and Learning Manager for advice, and please also consider that until ALL PARTS of SECTIONS A-F are fully completed and signed-off you MUST NOT publicise the programme at all.  Only once Sections A to F are fully completed and signed-off should programmes be published 'subject to approval'.

The process is summarised in the following flowchart:

Sources of Support

Timeframe for approval of programmes

The timeframe for the approval of new on-campus programmes will be tailored, within reason, to meet the demands of the environment in which programmes are offered.  Approval schedules should also consider the advertising deadlines for the different promotional media such as the prospectus and UCAS. 

All Undergraduate programmes must be fully approved by 31st March of the year (or minus 6 months in circumstances where the programme has a non-standard start date) they are intended to be delivered for the first time in order to be operational on Campus Solutions for student registration and unit selection.

All Postgraduate taught programmes must be fully approved by 31st May of the year (or minus 6 months in circumstances where the programme has a non-standard start date) they are intended to be delivered for the first time in order to be operational on Campus Solutions for student registration and unit selection.

Proposals can be considered quickly and out of the Faculty committee cycle provided that the Faculty is satisfied that the development of a coherent proposal will not be compromised.  Your Faculty Quality Administrator will be able to develop an approval schedule with you. 

All on-campus programmes must be fully approved by 31st March (for Undergraduate programmes) or 31st May (for Postgraduate taught programmes) of the year they are intended to be delivered for the first time.

A document showing the key dates of the programme approval procedure has been produced by the Faculty of Humanities and is available for reference at:

Online or blended programmes that are to be delivered through University of Manchester Worldwide (UMW) have a brief additional course approval process and a longer lead-in time. Please contact UMW colleagues for more information: Stephen Cooke (stephen.cooke-2@manchester.ac.uk) or Sarah Swithenbank (sarah.swithenbank@manchester.ac.uk).

Nomination of External Examiners

As part of the programme approval procedure, programme teams should arrange to appoint an external examiner for each new programme, in accordance with the guidance contained within the Guidance on External Examiner Procedures. This can be found under the 'Information for University Staff' section of the TLSD External Examiners webpage.