Enhanced Curriculum Framework - Enabling Principles


The Education Pillar of the University's Strategic Framework states that 'The depth of our individual academic disciplines will provide students with greater opportunities to study across disciplines, more flexible and personalised study opportunities, and meaningful engagement with global challenges. We will support this by updating our programme architecture to support innovative curriculum design…' and the enhanced curriculum framework (below) provides the programme architecture referenced here. All active UG and PGT programmes from 2023/24 should be aligned to the enhanced curriculum framework, which is a set of enabling principles within which there is plenty of room for local, pedagogically-led decision making about the curriculum of the future. It is to be used as part of the programme design process, whether that is as part of initiating a new programme or reviewing/modifying an existing programme.

Currently, any queries you may have about the enhanced curriculum framework can be sent to Laura Powell, Senior Project Lead in Registry & Academic Affairs: l.j.powell@bham.ac.uk.

Core Aims of the Framework

To support enhanced research-based and future-focused curriculum planning, and to enable the development of increased opportunities for UG and PGT students to personalise their study pathways where appropriate.

The bases for the enabling principles are predominantly semesterised, 20 credit-based curriculum structures.

Where appropriate, 10 credit modules are permissible. It is recommended (although not required) that these are paired within semesters to make collaborations across Schools easier and more straightforward (i.e. more in-depth negotiation is likely to be needed in order to arrange collaborations across Schools where one or both have not adopted 20 credit modules/paired 10 credit modules). A minority of programmes will retain some year-long modules as appropriate.

Categories of Undergraduate Programmes

At Undergraduate level, programmes will be designated (internally) as either Specialist, Joint, or Integrated:

  • Specialist: ‘Single degree’, where students focus predominantly on one subject area, e.g. BSc Physics and BA History. Such degrees may include the option of specialist minors, i.e. a sub-area of the overall subject area, e.g. BSc Physics with Astrophysics.
  • Joint: ‘Joint degree’, where students either pair two different subject areas and take approximately the same number of credits in each, or pair two different subject areas and take more credits in one than the other (with the latter generally being known as a ‘Major/Minor degree’). Examples include BA History and Politics and BA English with History.
  • Integrated: ‘Multidisciplinary degree’, where students synthesise different subject areas, e.g. BSc Global Environmental Changes and Sustainability, BSc Human Sciences, BA Policy, Politics and Economics, and BA/BSc Liberal Arts and Natural Sciences.

Stage 1 of Undergraduate degrees will normally include a substantial ‘core’ element, to provide students with a foundation that facilitates pathway personalisation at Stage 2 and beyond.

The implications of choices made throughout the degree, and particularly at Stage 1, will be made clear to students.

Stage 2 will normally include a least one ‘core’ module or one ‘core grouping’ of modules, as well as a range of curated options and opportunities for pathway personalisation.

There will normally be a minimum of 40 credits of project/dissertation (i.e. research project(s) appropriate to the subject area and level) at Stage 3. 

To facilitate the above, small tweaks are being made to the minimum credit requirements for subjects named in degree titles; open the accordion below for further information. 

Credit Requirements for UG Programmes

Table indicating credit requirements for UG programmes
   Specialist Joint Integrated
Award Total Credit Value Minimum no. of credits taken by students in (the/each) subject area named in their degree title  
Bachelor's Degree  360 260
The minimum requirement for a named specialist minor would be 100 of these credits.
160 credits in a major subject, 100 credits in a minor subject. Where relevant, 160 credits for a named major subject; 100 credits for a named minor subject.
Integrated Master's Degree  480 340
The minimum requirement for a named specialist minor would be 120 of these credits.
220 credits in a major subject, 120 credits in a minor subject.  Where relevant, 220 credits for a named major subject; 120 credits for a named minor subject.


  • Students on UG degrees may also have the opportunity to add 120 credits in the form of a year abroad (‘with Year Abroad’), year in industry (‘with Year in Industry’) or intercalated year in another subject (e.g. ‘with Year in Computer Science’). Furthermore, 60 credits may be replaced by a semester abroad (‘with Semester Abroad’).
  • In terms of what students must pass to get their UG degree, this is determined by the University’s overarching award regulations, e.g. students must pass 100 credits at Level H (see Regulation 7).
  • Please note that there is flexibility for students to take a module ‘from a lower level’, if pedagogically appropriate (see Regulation 6 and link to additional guidance below). This will be extended to enable Stage 3 students to take a Level C module alongside their Level H modules or a Level I module alongside their Level M modules, again if pedagogically appropriate. This type of flexibility is less ‘risky’ for students than it used to be given that final stage resits have recently been introduced for students. 

Categories of Postgraduate Taught Programmes

At Postgraduate Taught level, programmes will be designated (internally) as either Classic or Flexible.

  • Classic: PGCert, PGDip and PGT Master’s degrees delivered on a FT or PT basis.
  • Flexible: PGCert, PGDip and PGT Master’s degrees delivered at least partly on a flexible basis (i.e. via stacked PG Microcredentials). 

PGT Master’s degree students may have a ‘specialism’ in brackets after their degree title, if they undertake 100 credits (i.e. 40 credits of taught modules and the dissertation) in a specialist area of the overall degree subject area. Credit requirements for Postgraduate Taught programmes remain otherwise unchanged.

Key Information for both UG and PGT Programmes

  • Where significant numbers of optional modules are available to students, but they can only choose one or two, it is advisable to group the modules into themed ‘optional module groupings’, with students choosing one from each grouping.
  • Learning outcomes for modules and programmes will include reference as appropriate to the University’s graduate attributes.



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