Developing the University’s Programme Portfolio

What is the University’s Programme Portfolio?

The University has a raft of different programmes to which students can apply at all levels of study and within every Faculty/School. Together, these programmes form the University’s programme portfolio. This portfolio is kept under continuous review to ensure the University can maximise recruitment and manage its offer to students effectively, addressing changes in the market demand.

How does the University Establish What Programmes Should be Developed to Enhance its Portfolio?

Each year the University assembles key recruitment data from the Higher Education Statistical Agency (HESA) and other sources which allows it to analyse global markets and national recruitment trends over time across all subject areas. By triangulating this data with information from international agents, professional bodies and other external agencies (including the Welsh Government) and working with Faculty/School specialists, the University develops a list of subject areas or programmes for targeted development. This list is discussed and agreed with Faculties/Schools through business planning in the first quarter of each calendar year, and submitted to the Programme Management Board for review and approval, updating the University’s Strategic Portfolio Development Plan.

In this way, the University aims to focus resources on programmes most likely to enhance recruitment and/or strategic ambitions and reduce the amount of programmes which do not recruit well.

What Informs the University’s Approach to Programme Development?

The University’s strategic approach to programme development is informed by HEFCE’s i-MAP Guidance Innovation in the Market Assurance of New Programmes.

Why has the University Implemented the i-MAP Guidance?

The University has identified that a more strategic approach to programme development is required to prevent the proliferation of large numbers of programmes with very low student recruitment (notably at taught postgraduate level) and to focus effort on delivering programmes which will drive the University’s growth and income. Following its publication in November 2012 and update in 2015, the University reviewed the analysis and recommendations contained within, and implemented the recommendations within its own processes, notably that:

‘“Instant success” was highly predictive of sustained success. Contrary to common perception, starting with very low levels of admissions and then growing to viable numbers has been uncommon.’

It is clear that the University cannot afford to waste resources developing programmes which do not recruit strongly, and therefore a full viability review of all new proposals has been introduced to streamline and align development to the University’s strategic aims.

How can I find out Which Subject Areas are Recruiting Students?

Each year, the Statistics Unit and Student Recruitment produce reports based on national HESA data which is made available to Faculties/Schools and reviewed centrally on behalf of the Programme Management Board. Each Faculty/School is presented with a specific report to help inform development and business planning, which provides recruitment trends in relevant subject areas nationally, for both home and international students. The reports also provide comparator data for Swansea, to enable Faculties/Schools to determine whether there is an opportunity to enhance recruitment for existing programmes.

What is the University’s Strategy for Programme Development?

The University is committed to delivering exponential growth in terms of student numbers to 25,000 by 2025, and having maximised recruitment to many of its existing programmes, it is exploring opportunities to develop new subject areas, programmes and approaches to delivery which will increase and maintain the overall rate of growth. Currently, the University is exploring the potential for expanding into online and distance learning, along with overseas delivery through transnational education partnerships.


Establishing Proof of Concept >