Amending an Existing Programme

 

Why do we Need to Approve Changes to Programmes?

As with changes to any product, all changes must be reviewed and approved by the University before they can be formally launched for students. This ensures that the changes continue to meet the University standards and expectations, and the requirements of the Qualification Descriptors and QAA Subject Benchmark statements, along with any Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body requirements. There are two of levels of approval (College/School and University), and the University takes a proportionate and risk based approach to the approval process. 


What Constitutes a Change to an Existing Programme?

The following table provides a non-exhaustive list of changes that would trigger the Amending an Existing Programme process.

Any one of the changes listed would require approval either at College/School or University level, and any combination of changes would likely require University approval. Please contact Academic Quality Services at academicprogrammes@swansea.ac.uk to discuss your proposed changes, and the team will work with you to ensure the appropriate approval processes are put in place. 


What Changes would Constitute a New Programme?

If your proposed changes would in effect constitute a new programme, for example you are creating a variant of a programme to be delivered alongside the programme that you currently run, but with a different title and focus, then this would constitute a new programme. 

However to streamline the process, your existing programme can be cloned on the Programme Approval and Management system, to enable the use of the basic information as a template for development. Please contact Academic Quality Services at academicprogrammes@swansea.ac.uk for further information. 

For information on creating a new programme, please see the section on Developing a New Programme


When can I Change my Programme?

A programme can be changed at any time, but there are restrictions on when changes can be implemented for students, depending on what the changes are, as programmes need to comply with the Competition and Markets Authority guidelines and consumer law. A guide to when changes can be introduced is included below, but please contact academicprogrammes@swansea.ac.uk for further information before any changes are made. Changes to Postgraduate Research Programmes are more flexible due to the nature of the programmes, but should be made before students commence the programme.

It is important to plan changes effectively, particularly where those changes are in response to poor student feedback. Some changes can be made in year, provided they are deemed to be beneficial for the students. All changes which affect students on an existing programme should be discussed with the students prior to implementation. It is important that students agree to the proposed changes. If the changes will bring about improvement, this should not be problematic. If the majority students do not agree to proposed changes and it is part of the terms of their contract then changes can only be made for future students and existing arrangements would need to be run out. In order to avoid running into difficulties with proposed changes it is important to engage existing students as early as possible in the process. If you have any questions about how you might being to engage students speak to Academic Quality Services.

Area of Change  Deadline for Change 
Changes to module codes  Any time prior to the start of the programme, but ideally before the module selection deadline for students. 
Changes to module titles  Depending on the scale of change, these should be completed as early as possible to ensure marketing is consistent, and ideally no later than 31 March (UG) or 31 May (PGT) each year for September introduction. 
Changes to optional modules available  Any time prior to the start of the programme, but ideally before the module selection deadline for students. 
Changes to module learning outcomes  Any time prior to the start of the programme, but ideally before the module selection deadline for students. 
Changes to module assessment types  Any time prior to the start of the programme, but ideally before the module selection deadline for students. 
Resulting changes to the curriculum map from any of the above changes  Any time prior to the start of the programme. 
Resulting changes to the assessment  and feedback strategy from any of the above changes  Any time prior to the start of the programme. 
Wording changes to programme specifications which do not alter the fabric of the programme  Any time prior to the start of the programme. 
Changes to the title of a programme  Depending on the scale of change, these should be completed as early as possible to ensure marketing is consistent, and ideally no later than 31 March (UG) or 31 May (PGT) each year for September introduction. 
Changes to the delivery location  Depending on the scale of change, these should be completed as early as possible to ensure marketing is consistent, and ideally no later than 31 March (UG) or 31 May (PGT) each year for September introduction. 
Adding a Partner to delivery  Depending on the scale of change, these should be completed as early as possible to ensure marketing is consistent, and ideally no later than 31 March (UG) or 31 May (PGT) each year for September introduction. 
Changes to the mode of delivery (e.g. distance, online, part time)  Depending on the scale of change, these should be completed as early as possible to ensure marketing is consistent, and ideally no later than 31 March (UG) or 31 May (PGT) each year for September introduction. 
Changes to the programme duration  Depending on the scale of change, these should be completed as early as possible to ensure marketing is consistent, and ideally no later than 31 March (UG) or 31 May (PGT) each year for September introduction. 
Changes to the credit load  Depending on the scale of change, these should be completed as early as possible to ensure marketing is consistent, and ideally no later than 31 March (UG) or 31 May (PGT) each year for September introduction. 
Changes to the programme structure  Depending on the scale of change, these should be completed as early as possible to ensure marketing is consistent, and ideally no later than 31 March (UG) or 31 May (PGT) each year for September introduction. 
Adding a year or semester abroad or in industry  Depending on the scale of change, these should be completed as early as possible to ensure marketing is consistent, and ideally no later than 31 March (UG) or 31 May (PGT) each year for September introduction. 
Significant changes to the Programme Learning Outcomes  Depending on the scale of change, these should be completed as early as possible to ensure marketing is consistent, and ideally no later than 31 March each year for September introduction. 
Changes to core or compulsory modules  Depending on the scale of change, these should be completed as early as possible to ensure marketing is consistent, and ideally no later than 31 March each year for September introduction. 
Significant overall changes to the Assessment and Feedback Strategy (e.g. shift to programme level assessment)  Depending on the scale of change, these should be completed as early as possible to ensure marketing is consistent, and ideally no later than 31 March each year for September introduction. 
Any changes to independent learning modules for PGT programmes  Depending on the scale of change, these should be completed as early as possible to ensure marketing is consistent, and ideally no later than 31 May each year for September introduction. 
Adding or changing exit qualifications  Any time prior to the start of the programme. 
Adding interim awards which can be applied for (e.g. Cert HE, Dip HE, PgCert, PGDip, M Phil)  Any time prior to the start of the programme. 
Making modules ‘stand-alone’  and which taken as a Professional Learner  Where modules are required to be stand- alone the approval must be via the  Academy of Professional Development. 

This requires different module codes, and sign off by the Business Finance manager and Deputy Director of Finance. There is a different application process.Academic Partnerships Directorate manages the approval process and the student records process for Professional Learners. 

Conversion to a higher or degree apprenticeship  Any time prior to the start of the programme. 
Adding a foundation (level 3) year  Any time prior to the start of the programme. 

What Parts of my Programme can I Change?

You can change ANY parts of the programme, but changing some elements will require different forms of approval. If you propose to change the title, this must be accompanied by a revised Market Intelligence Report to ensure the new title will deliver enhanced recruitment. 


What Changes do not Require Formal Approval?

Generally most changes will require some form of formal approval. However, if you are simply updating and tidying up the Programme Specification, correcting minor errors or updating syllabus or terminology to reflect latest research, then you do not require formal approval.

The sections ‘What changes need to be approved by the College/School?’ and ‘What changes need to be approved by the University?’ describe what changes require approval.

Indicative reading lists should be checked and updated annually. If you are unsure, please contact academicprogrammes@swansea.ac.uk for further information.


What Happens if Current Students Reject the Proposed Changes?

Current students affected by the proposed changes must be consulted and have an active voice in the discussion. Normally, where proposed changes are rejected by current students, that change can only take affect for new students entering the programme, and the existing students complete under the original structure. However, where these is clear evidence that the changes will be of substantive benefit for students, further discussions should take place with student representatives.

It is important that students agree to the proposed changes. If the changes will bring about improvement, this should not be problematic. If the majority students do not agree to proposed changes and it is part of the terms of their contract then changes can only be made for future deliveries and existing arrangements would need to be run out.

In order to avoid running into difficulties with proposed changes it is important to engage existing students as early as possible in the process. If you have any questions about how you might being to engage students speak to Academic Quality Services.


What Changes Need to be Approved by the College/School and What Changes Need to be Approved by the University?

If you are proposing to make any of the following changes, then they can be approved by the College/School Learning and Teaching or Research Committee (as appropriate): 

Area of Change  Description 
Changes to module titles or codes  Changes to modular titles (providing it does not change the module significantly overall) and modular codes can be approved at College/School level. 
Changes to optional modules available  Any changes to optional modules can be approved at College/School level, as this does not impact on the overall fabric of the programme. 
Changes to module learning outcomes  Any changes at modular level can be approved at College/School level, ensuring that the standards and FHEQ level of Learning Outcomes are maintained.  All modules will be reviewed at any re-approval or Quality Review point. 
Changes to module assessment types  Any changes at modular level to assessment types can be approved within the College/School to support innovation and creativity, providing the overall assessment strategy and diversity either remains or is enhanced.  Wholescale changes which impact at programme level will require University approval. 
Resulting changes to the curriculum map from any of the above changes  Any updates to the curriculum map need to be made and confirmed, ensuring that the updated version is uploaded to the Programme Approval and Management system.  Ensure the Student Handbook is also updated. 
Resulting changes to the assessment  and feedback strategy from any of the above changes  Any updates to the Assessment and Feedback Strategy need to be made and confirmed, ensuring that the updated version is uploaded to the Programme Approval and Management system.  Ensure the Student Handbook is also updated. 
Wording changes to programme specifications which do not alter the fabric of the programme  Depending on the scale of changes, these may not need to be formally approved – see What changes do not require formal approval? 

If you are proposing to make any of the following changes, then there must be central oversight by the Universities Academic Quality Services. This usually involves approval by the University’s Programme Approval Committee following approval by the College/School Learning and Teaching Committee. However, this is not the only route to the approval of changes to programmes and the Academic Programmes Team in Academic Quality Services will be able to help your establish if going through PAC is the only way to achieve the required objectives.

Area of Change  Description 
Changes to the title of a programme  The title must reflect the academic content and be appropriate for the intended market. Therefore, the title should first be approved by the Market Intelligence team. 
Changes to the delivery location  Changes to where the programme is delivered, notably where delivery is with a partner (home or overseas) to ensure the academic integrity of the programme and to check that the student experience can be delivered to an equitable standard. 
Adding a delivery Partner   Any changes where a partner is involved with the delivery of the programme (including franchising or validation).  The Collaborative Partnership Board must also approve new partners. 
Changes to the mode of delivery (e.g. distance, online, part time)  Any programme where the mode of delivery is changed from the standard approved version, most notably any blended, online or distance provision, to ensure the student journey is sound and the quality of the student experience will be maintained or improved. 
Changes to the duration of the programme  Any changes to the overall duration of a programme, for example establishing an advanced initial degree (3-4 years), creating a 2-year Part Time Master’s programme.  This is to ensure the student journey is appropriate and the quality student experience is maintained or improved. 
Changes to the credit load  Any changes to the credit load, in particular if this impacts on the student journey or student experience, or includes the potential for extra-credit modules which may increase student workload. 
Changes to the programme structure  Any major changes to the structure of the programme, including revising module size, major changes to delivery order or adding significant elements to the programme. 

 

The Programme Approval Committee will ensure the student journey is appropriate and the quality of the student experience is maintained or improved. 

Adding a year or semester abroad or in industry  The University encourages programmes to include periods of student abroad or in industry in all programmes, and this process enables the Programme Approval Committee to streamline approval whilst maintaining effective oversight of the student journey, student experience and management plans for mobility periods. 

The University requires all periods of mobility study to be assessed effectively, as per the regulations and guidelines on student mobility

Significant changes to the Programme Learning Outcomes  Any changes to the approved programme learning outcomes.  The Programme Approval Committee will ensure that programme standards and curriculum integrity is maintained through the changes, and that the impact on assessment strategy has been considered.  This will require an updated Curriculum Map
Changes to core or compulsory modules  Any changes to the approved core and/or compulsory modules, as these form the basis of the syllabus and the Programme Approval Committee will ensure that programme and curriculum integrity is maintained through the changes.  This will require an updated Curriculum Map and Assessment Strategy
Significant overall changes to the Assessment and Feedback Strategy (e.g. shift to programme level assessment)  As the University moves forward and seeks more innovative and effective approaches to assessment, it is expected that Colleges will be seeking significant changes.  The Programme Approval Committee and External Assessor will review any major changes to assessment patterns across and entire programme (not individual modules) and will require a revised Assessment Strategy

The Committee will also be seeking examples of effective practice to share within the University. 

Any changes to directed independent learning modules for PGT programmes  Any changes to the directed independent learning modules at PGT level, for example changing between a traditional dissertation and a work focused project, or breaking the learning down into smaller credit blocks.  Given this is critical to the Master’s programmes, changes must be scrutinised carefully. 
Adding or changing exit qualifications  Any changes to the exit qualifications to ensure the academic content and completion by the point of exit match the qualification requirements.   
Adding interim awards which can be applied for (e.g. Cert HE, Dip HE, PgCert, PGDip, M Phil)  The PAM system will need to be updated. 
Making modules ‘stand-alone’  and to be taken as a Professional Learner  Where modules are required to be standalone the approval must be via the  Academy of Professional Development. 

This requires different module codes, and sign off by the Business Finance manager and Deputy Director of Finance. There is a different application process.Academic Partnerships Directorate manages the approval process and the student records process for Professional Learners. 

Conversion to a higher or degree apprenticeship  This is a significant change to the way in which the programme is delivered and changes to the PAM system will be required. 
Adding a foundation (level 3) year  Checks need to be made regarding the student experience and the PAM system will need to be updated. 

What is the ‘25% Change Rule’ I have Heard About?

The University used to state that if a programme changed by more than 25%, then it would require approval by the University. Any changes less than 25% could be approved by the College/School. This caused confusion – 25% of what? A programme is a complex set of information which isn’t easily converted into a percentage. In addition, it was possible to change 25% per year without University oversight – over a 4-year period this may mean that the result was a completely different programme to that which was approved. As a result the University no longer employs this approach, and has moved to specify which areas can be changed by Colleges/Schools and which need University approval. 


How do I Amend an Existing Taught Programme?

For any changes that can be approved at College/School level, update the relevant documentation (e.g. Module Proforma) and submit it to your College’s/School’s Learning and Teaching Committee for approval.

For any changes that require University approval, you will need to complete an Amending an Existing Programme form. You will also need to update your Programme Specification through the Programme Approval and Management system, and may need to provide updated Curriculum Maps, Module Proformas and Assessment Strategy, depending on the nature of the change.

Before you begin, contact Academic Quality Services or your College/School Engagement Officer, who will be able to advise you on the best approach.

Once complete, submit your form to your College’s/School’s Learning and Teaching Committee for review.

Once you have received approval for your proposal by the College/School Learning and Teaching Committee, submit it to academicprogrammes@swansea.ac.uk and it will be considered by the Programme Approval Committee. Proposals which have not been approved first by the College/School will not be accepted.


How do I Amend an Existing Postgraduate Research Programme?

Given the differences of Postgraduate Research Programmes, there are some minor differences in the process for amending programmes, but in general the process is the same as for taught programmes. We are continuing to enhance the quality assurance and enhancement processes for Postgraduate Research programmes, to protect the student experience and provide greater oversight.

For postgraduate research programmes with a taught element, the same rules apply in terms of programme and modular changes outlined earlier in this Code of Practice. For programmes which are research only, the focus will be on structural, management and student experience issues. Examples of changes could be delivery with a partner, changes to structure or changes to delivery location (including distance or blended learning). If you wish to develop joint, double or dual programmes, this will constitute a new programme, and should follow the New Programme Approval process for Postgraduate Research programmes.

To make any substantive changes to Research Programmes you will need to complete an Amending an Existing Programme form. You will also need to update your Programme Specification through the Programme Approval and Management system, and may need to provide updated Curriculum Maps, Module Proformas and Assessment Strategy, depending on the nature of the change.

Before you begin, contact Academic Quality Services or your College/School Engagement Officer, who will be able to advise you on the best approach.

Once complete, submit your form to your Research Committee for review.

Once you have received approval for your proposal by the College/School Research Committee, submit it to academicprogrammes@swansea.ac.uk and it will be considered by the Programme Approval Committee. Proposals which have not been approved first by the College/School will not be accepted. 


How do I Add a Year/Semester of Study Abroad or in Industry (or Other Work Placement)?

To add a period of student mobility you will need to complete an Amending an Existing Programme form. You will also need to create a variant of the new programme (if adding a year) through the Programme Approval and Management system, and may need to provide and updated Curriculum Map and Assessment Strategy. You will also need to create or add the relevant module covering the period of work or study, with appropriate learning outcomes and assessments.

Before you begin, contact Academic Quality Services or your College/School Engagement Officer, who will be able to advise you on the best approach. You should also refer to the Student Mobility Opportunities regulations and guidance contained within the Academic Regulations, which provides a framework for quality assurance and assessment of mobility.

Once complete, submit your form to your College’s/School’s Learning and Teaching Committee for review.

Once you have received approval for your proposal by the College/School Learning and Teaching Committee, submit it to academicprogrammes@swansea.ac.uk and it will be considered by the Programme Approval Committee. Proposals which have not been approved first by the College/School will not be accepted. 


How do I Amend an Existing Collaborative Programme?

Amending an existing Collaborative programme (taught or research) follows the standard process outlined earlier, with the addition that the partner institution(s) must be involved throughout any proposed changes (whether the changes arise at the home or partner institution).

For any changes that can be approved at College/School level, update the relevant documentation (e.g. Module Proforma) and submit it to your College’s/School’s Learning and Teaching or Research Committee as applicable, and the equivalent body at the partner institution(s) for approval.

For any changes that require University approval, you will need to complete an Amending an Existing Programme form. You will also need to update your Programme Specification through the Programme Approval and Management system, and may need to provide updated Curriculum Maps, Module Proformas and Assessment Strategy, depending on the nature of the change. Changes may also need to be reviewed by the Collaborative Partnership Board if there are any changes to the partnership arrangements.

Before you begin, contact Academic Quality Services or your College/School Engagement Officer, who will be able to advise you on the best approach.

Once complete, submit your form to your College’s/School’s Learning and Teaching or research Committee for review.

Once you have received approval for your proposal by the College/School Learning and Teaching or Research Committee, submit it to academicprogrammes@swansea.ac.uk and it will be considered by the Programme Approval Committee. Proposals which have not been approved first by the College/School will not be accepted. 


How do I Change my Programme to Deliver with a Partner (or Partners)?

To add a partner or partners to the delivery of a programme you will need to complete an Amending an Existing Programme form. You will also need to create a variant of the new programme (if adding a year) through the Programme Approval and Management system, and may need to provide and updated Curriculum Map and Assessment Strategy. If there are any changes to the programme itself, these will also need to be reflected in the revised Programme Specification – follow the process for Amending an Existing Programme outlined in this Code of Practice.

Any existing partners you wish to add will need to be subject to academic due diligence and scrutiny of any subject specific facilities and resources. Any new partners will need to be approved by the University’s Collaborative Partnership Board following the process for approving new partners.

Before you begin, contact Academic Quality Services or your College/School Engagement Officer, who will be able to advise you on the best approach.

Once complete, submit your form to your College’s/School’s Learning and Teaching Committee for review.

Once you have received approval for your proposal by the College/School Learning and Teaching Committee, submit it to academicprogrammes@swansea.ac.uk and it will be considered by the Programme Approval Committee. Proposals which have not been approved first by the College/School will not be accepted. 


How do I Change the Programme Title?

Programme titles are changed in the same way as any other amendment, with the addition of consultation with the Market Intelligence team to ensure the proposed new title will enhance recruitment potential.

The Programme Approval Committee and External Assessor will ensure that the proposed new title remains academically viable in terms of representing the programme’s content. 


Can I Change Core or Compulsory Modules?

Yes – If  these changes are substantive and change the overall nature, structure or content of the module, this will require University approval as the core and compulsory modules provide the framework for the programme, which enables to the University to ensure the overall curriculum and integrity of the programme is sound.

For programmes which have optional Core or Compulsory modules, this rule applies for optional modules. All changes should be implemented via the Syllabus Rules system. 


Can I Change Optional Modules?

Yes – optional modules can be changed and approved at College/School level through the Learning and Teaching Committee and updated via the Syllabus Rules system, unless they are compulsory or core options. 


Do Changes to Modules Require Approval?

Yes – modular changes may affect the overall programme, therefore modules do need to be approved when changed. However, provided they are not substantive changes to core or compulsory modules, these can be approved by the College/School Learning and Teaching Committee.


How do I Change or Update Modules?

Modules are updated through the Module maintenance or Module Proforma sections of the Programme Approval and Management system. You can either update the existing module or create a new one, which is easier for substantial changes. Modules should be reviewed and updated annually through the Quality Review: Annual Module Review process.

You will also need to update your Syllabus Rules to ensure your new or amended modules are included.

If you are unable to access the system, please contact quality@swansea.ac.uk for support. 


Is there a Limit to the Number of Modules I can Change?

No… but the more modules that you change, the more the overall character of the programme will change, therefore the Programme Approval Committee may need to undertake a full review and re-approval to ensure the quality and standards of the programme are maintained.

Optional modules can be changed provided that they continue to support the overall structure and philosophy of the degree programme. Core or compulsory modules may be changed, but Academic Quality Services and the Programme Approval Committee will judge whether the proposed changes will change the overall nature of the degree programme and affect the holistic integration. If the proposed changes will change the character of the programme, then the programme will need to be re-approved for the changes to take place, depending on the scale of the changes. Academic Quality Services will be able to advise and support you with the best approach to take. 


How do I Update the Programme Specification?

The Programme Specification should  be updated through the Programme Maintenance section of the Programme Approval and Management system, in the same way as regular annual updates as part of the Quality Review process.

Please see the Quality Review section for further information on updating your Programme Specification on the Programme Approval and Management system.


What do I Need to do on the Programme Approval and Management System?

You will need to ensure that the programme specification on the PAM system is updated to reflect your proposed change(s) , and that it is otherwise complete and up to date*. In addition, you will need to update and upload a revised Assessment Strategy, Curriculum Map and programme structure, and/or any new/revised module proformas.

Please see the Quality Review section for further information on updating your Programme Specification on the Programme Approval and Management system.

*We are currently working to ensure that the system has as much information as possible, but there will be fields which require updating. 


Why do I Have to Update the Programme Specification Separately?

At present the Amending an Existing Programme process is conducted ‘offline’ as we continue to work on the online Programme Approval and Management system, and plan to add the Amending an Existing Programme process to the online system as soon as possible. Currently this means that to keep the process efficient, the online Programme Specifications will need to be updated, as you would annually as part of the Quality Review: Annual Programme Review process.

We are working as swiftly as possible with the Business Systems Development Team to integrate our processes and systems, will keep this Code of Practice updated with progress and inform you when the system is ready for launch. 


Why Can’t I Propose Amendments to my Programmes Online?

At present the Amending an Existing Programmes process is conducted ‘offline’. We are continuing to develop the online Programme Approval and Management system, and plan to add the Amending an Existing Programme process to the online system as soon as possible. We will keep this page updated with progress and inform you when the system is ready for launch. 


Who Approves Amendments to Existing Programmes?

Amendments to existing programmes are approved in the same way as new programmes through the Programme Approval Committee (and the College/School Learning and Teaching Committee). This is to ensure consistent standards are applied to all programmes which are changed, and to continue to drive quality enhancement at all times.

For amended programmes, the process is swifter as the programmes represent a lower risk to the University.


 

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