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Guidance on the Quality Assurance and Award of Continuing Professional Development Programmes (CPD)


  • Accredited CPD credit-bearing individual units/ programmes/ short courses, academic credit awarded on completion
  • Non-accredited CPD non-credit-bearing individual units/ programmes/short courses, are not awarded academic credit on completion

CPD Awards

Participants who successfully complete a specific number of credits as part of an Accredited CPD course should be issued with a University transcript, bearing the following information:-

  • Title(s) of unit(s) completed
  • Number of credits for each unit; total number of University credits achieved
  • FHEQ Level of each unit
  • The mark achieved by the student in the unit assessment

Participants who take Non-accredited CPD courses will NOT receive a transcript. They may receive a simple certificate of completion from the host School (however, it should be made clear that this does NOT constitute a University award).


Accredited CPD should be approved using the School programme approval infrastructure, leading on to Faculty approval where appropriate, in accordance with the University programme approval procedures. Where units are already in existence and part of a cognate programme of study, unit specifications can be submitted using the programme amendment process, focusing on the specific requirements of CPD participants and that particular mode of study.

Where Accredited CPD units/ programmes or short courses are stand alone, brief documentation must be produced, including unit specification and including a contextual statement. This should be approved via the School approvals infrastructure.  

Non-accredited CPD should be approved by the relevant School. Brief documentation should be prepared, using a unit specification when appropriate and including a contextual statement.

All CPD should be fully costed, prior to approval being given. Any aspect of risk to the reputation of the University must also be carefully considered at the time of approval. Other areas of consideration may include:

  • marketing and promotion
  • anticipated numbers
  • competitor activities
  • access to learning resources
  • opportunities for eLearning activities
  • cross School or Faculty liaison (where appropriate)
  • strategic fit to institutional priorities  

The School must maintain a list of all Accredited and Non-accredited CPD activities performed in the University's name.

Quality Assurance arrangements

Where Accredited CPD comprises of units within cognate programmes, the usual Quality Assurance mechanisms apply.

When Accredited CPD programmes or short courses stand alone, the usual Quality Assurance mechanisms apply.
Non-accredited CPD remain the responsibility of the relevant School and are not subject to formal University Quality Assurance procedures. However, these activities should be approved and annually reviewed using internal School procedures.

Monitoring and Review

All Accredited CPD is required to have an External Examiner to act as a moderator with respect to assessment. Existing units currently taught on other programmes may ask an existing External Examiner to fulfil this duty. All External Examiners are subject to the nomination and appointment criteria detailed in the University's Code of Practice for External Examiners. The following monitoring and review procedures also apply in full:

  • A unit survey will be used for each unit.
  • Each unit will be subject to continuous monitoring and will be considered within periodic review every 5 years.
  • Schools must maintain records of attendees.

Schools should have their own approved procedure for the review and monitoring of non-accredited CPD. This must include some form of student feedback and continuous monitoring process. The continuous monitoring process must review the past years activities; reflecting on feedback received and achievement by participants. It should also include some form of action planning for the following year and must contain reflection on the financial projections compared with the actual outgoings and profits from that year. These could be monitored within current management or committee structures and must be formally recorded.

Programme Management

Each programme or short course is required to have a leader/director and appropriate academic and administrative support.

For Accredited CPD, the regulations within the University's Assessment Framework apply and marks must be ratified via an Examination Board.

Sources of Help

Should you require any assistance with the approval, review and quality assurance of CPD you can contact your Faculty Teaching and Learning staff for advice.