This guidance has been created through consultation with Registry, External Relations, Planning, and the Deputy Pro-Vice Chancellor (Education). The timelines below are best practice rather than strict deadlines, and provide new programmes with the optimum chance of success in terms of meeting student recruitment targets. The guidance outlines the rationale behind these timelines and additional considerations, to ensure approval bodies (namely College Boards) are aware of the potential impact of the timing of when programmes are approved, to manage appropriately any risks involved.
This advice applies to the submission of new programme proposals and also exceptional programme modifications when the Appendix has been completed.
New Undergraduate Home Programmes
Advised Deadline for Final Approval: Approx. 20 months before planned delivery of the programme (e.g. December 2021 for September 2023 delivery). Meeting this deadline would allow the programme to be included in the prospectus (signed off in December) and in the market for the beginning of the admissions cycle in February, which is also when UCAS fairs begin. There are also UG Open Days in June. Additionally, from February staff will advertise the programmes in schools/colleges.
New Postgraduate Taught Home Programmes
Advised Deadline for Final Approval: 13 months before planned delivery of programme (e.g. August 2021 for September 2022).
Meeting this deadline would allow the programme to be included in the PGT prospectus, which is finalised in August, and at the PG Open Days in November and March.
Managing Risk and Additional Recommendations
Admissions data has shown that programmes that do not meet these deadlines are likely to have their recruitment potential in their first year significantly impacted, due to reduced visibility, e.g. if the programme is not included in the prospectus. While it is possible to add programmes to the market after the deadlines, the risks involved in potentially recruiting fewer students must be carefully managed.
The risks are correlated to the resource required to run the proposed programme. There could be a lower risk if the deadlines are not met if there is less resource associated with running the proposed programme, e.g. if it:
- Has shared modules with other programmes and very few/no bespoke modules.
- Does not require the recruitment of additional members of academic or non-academic staff.
- Is intended to recruit small numbers and/or only requires small numbers to be financially viable (in every year or in the first year).
- Is an Apprenticeship or commissioned programme that has guaranteed (or very likely) applicants.
- Is a smaller programme, e.g. a PGCert.
It is strongly recommended that all new programmes have threshold student numbers, by which its success can be measured.
In addition, Colleges should consider: