Withdrawing or Suspending an Existing Programme


Programme withdrawal is a permanent process. Alternatively, a programme can be suspended for up to two years, after which it will be withdrawn unless a programme reactivation form is completed.

When withdrawing or suspending a programme, consideration must be given as to whether it has current students and/or prospective students. Ideally, programmes will be ‘taught out’, i.e. any students registered on the programme will be able to complete it as planned, with the programme being deactivated once they have completed.

If the programme cannot be taught out, and/or there are prospective students on the programme, please contact your College Academic Policy Partner, as it will need to be ascertained whether the University’s Student Protection Plan will need to be triggered.

As with any changes to programmes that may affect students, you should ensure you consult the Policy on Consultation with Students (PDF - 123KB), its associated guidance (PDF - 122KB), and the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) guidance.


Approval Route

Withdrawing, suspending, or reactivating a programme requires approval by the School Education Committee (or equivalent), College Quality Assurance and Approval Committee (CQAAC), College Board, and final verification by the University. Withdrawals, suspensions, and reactivations are also reported to the University Recruitment, Admissions and Targets Board (URAT).

The Student Protection Plan

The Office for Students (OfS) requires every University to have a Student Protection Plan, which sets out the measures that the University of Birmingham has in place to protect its students should a risk to the continuation of their studies arise.

If you are planning on withdrawing or suspending a programme that currently has students registered on it, and/or it has offer-holders, and the programme cannot be taught out (i.e. current/prospective students will be impacted by the withdrawal/suspension) you must immediately contact your College Academic Policy Partner (CAPP). Your CAPP will then contact senior colleagues to ascertain whether the Student Protection Plan will need to be triggered. Please do this before making contact with students and/or applicants. When contacting your CAPP, please include as much information as possible, e.g. the number of students involved and what alternative arrangements could be offered, e.g. transfer to a similar programme.

You can access the University of Birmingham’s approved Student Protection Plan here


Frequently Asked Questions


Can I withdraw a programme after the prospectus has been published, before prospective students have accepted offers?

As long as no prospective student has been issued with or accepted an offer, a programme can be withdrawn with minimal risk. This is because no binding contract will have been formed with any prospective student, as it is the point at which an offer is accepted that a binding contract is formed. In these circumstances, Marketing are able to remove the programme (or the ability to apply for the programme) from the website.

In the case of undergraduate programmes, Admissions can also ensure that the withdrawal is reflected on the UCAS website. Prospective students (i.e. enquirers and applicants) will need to be contacted immediately once the withdrawal has been formally approved. You should work with your College Marketing Team to develop the communication, which can be sent using the CRM system (contact your College Marketing team for further information).

Please note, the undergraduate prospectus is published more than 18 months before the corresponding intake. For example, for September 2025 entry the prospectus is published in January 2024.

What if I need to withdraw a programme once prospective students have accepted offers?

This carries very significant risks and so can only be done in exceptional circumstances. Please contact your College Academic Policy Partner, as the University’s Student Protection Plan may need to be used.

What do I do if I want to withdraw from a collaborative arrangement?

The decision to withdraw from a collaborative arrangement should be taken in agreement with senior staff at School and College level. The Collaborative Provision Office can advise on how best to proceed, depending on the circumstances and to avoid any potential issues (reputational, financial etc.).

A short form needs to be completed and submitted for approval to the Collaborative Provision Committee. An official letter is then sent to the collaborative organisation to inform them of the intention to withdraw from the arrangement. Please click here for details on the Collaborative Provision Office and to access guidance. If the full programme is being withdrawn (i.e. it will not be offered outside the collaborative arrangement) the programme withdrawal form will need to be completed.

Why do I have to contact Taught/Research Student Administration?

Taught or Research Student Administration in Registry will be able to inform you of any students who have the right to retrieve a failure in this programme or if there are students on a leave of absence.

Why is it important to consult with the Birmingham International Academy if an Undergraduate programme is being withdrawn/suspended?

Many Undergraduate programmes can be ‘fed’ by Foundation pathways run by the Birmingham International Academy. These programmes are advertised to students seeking to undertake the foundation pathways, to illustrate the programmes to which they can progress and their requirements. It is therefore crucial that the Birmingham International Academy are informed of any changes in offering so that the marketing material can be amended accordingly.  

The list of UG programmes that are currently being advertised to prospective BIA students is available on the Degree Finder on Kaplan's website. This searchable list should be consulted whenever a decision to withdraw or suspend a UG programme is being made.




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