Programme Management Board (PMB)

What is the Programme Management Board and What is its Role?

The Programme Management Board reports to the Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee (LTQC) and is tasked with overseeing the management and development of the University’s programme portfolio, and with maximising the effectiveness of its provision to enhance recruitment.

The Board has a number of roles, namely:

  • Annual review of the institution’s entire programme portfolio to enable active viability management;
  • Establishment and monitoring of a market driven strategic programme development plan for the institution;
  • Review and approval of proposals for new programmes;
  • The review and oversight of annual strategic tuition fee setting.

Who are the Members of Programme Management Board?

The Programme Management Board features the following key members:

  • Chair: Pro-Vice Chancellor (Academic)
  • Deputy Chair of Programme Management Board 
  • Director of Finance
  • Student Representative
  • Representatives from Planning and Strategic Projects Unit and Academic Services
  • Head of Academic Quality Services
  • Market Intelligence Manager
  • Dean of International Programme and Partner Management
  • Dean of Postgraduate Taught Programmes
  • Dean of Postgraduate Research

In addition and as required:

  • Head of International Development Office
  • Head of Academic Partnerships Department
  • Proposing Teams are invited to present new proposals to the Board

Programme proposers may be invited to support Executive Deans (or their nominees) in presenting new programme proposals to the Board.

What Decisions will the Programme Management Board Make?

Once the Programme Management Board has reviewed the programme proposal and market intelligence report, it will make one of the following decisions:

  1. Approve the programme for full development (with or without conditions and recommendations).
  2. Recommend that the proposal be enhanced and refer it back to the Faculty/School.
  3. Reject the proposal for further development.
  4. Approve promotion via the University’s Expressions of Interest pages.

In exceptional circumstances and based on risk, approve marketing and recruitment subject to final approval.

No programmes will be permitted to progress to full development, or be marketed and recruit students, unless they have been approved by the Programme Management Board.

My Programme has been Approved for Full Development - What do I Need to do Next?

Once your programme has been approved for full development, you will need to complete a number of tasks:

  1. Address any conditions or recommendations set by the Group prior to or during the full development process.
  2. Provide relevant information for the Coming Soon page to
  3. Complete the full programme proposal development process.

My Programme has been Referred or Rejected - What Should I Need to do Next?

If your programme proposal has been referred to the Faculty/School for further enhancement, you will receive a list of key recommendations from the Board’s Secretary (member of Academic Quality Services). Once you have enhanced the proposal and addressed the recommendations made, you may then resubmit your proposal through the process outlined above. 

If your programme has been rejected you will be given a reason for rejection. You will need to reflect on why the proposal was rejected in order to establish whether anything can be done to enhance it to a point where the Group may reconsider a new proposal. Programmes are generally only rejected if they are not viable, based on the market intelligence provided. 

When can I Market my Programme?

You will be permitted to promote your new programme on the University’s Coming Soon pages immediately upon approval by the Programme Management Board, but you will not normally be permitted to fully market the programme and recruit students until the programme has been formally approved by the University by the Programme Approval Committee. 

Wherever possible, programmes should be developed sufficiently far ahead to maximise the effectiveness of recruitment, and to ensure full compliance with Consumer Law and the guidelines issued by the Competition and Markets Authority. Please see the Programme Development Timeline for information on the ideal development timeframes. 

Why can’t I Automatically Market my Programme Before Final Approval?

Due to compliance with Consumer Law and the Competition and Markets Authority guidance, Swansea University no longer markets programmes subject to approval. In exceptional circumstances, the Board can make a decision based on likely risk of completion, which will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis at the explicit request of the proposing Executive Dean (or nominee). 

The normal process is for all programmes approved to development to be promoted as ‘Coming Soon’.

How can I Market my Programme?

All new programmes can be marketing through the ‘Coming Soon’ section of the University website, and should develop a marketing strategy and plan to ensure all potential students, their advisors and parents and employers and other key agencies are aware the programme will be launched. In addition, the Market Intelligence Report will identify the key global regions where demand is highest, which should be targeted effectively. Recruiting to a brand new programme is challenging, notably to achieve viable numbers in year one, therefore a longer term approach to development and launch should be taken to ensure the greatest chance of successful recruitment. Faculty/School Marketing Officers should drive the development of the marketing plan in liaison with the Marketing, Recruitment and International team.

How can I Maximise Recruitment to my Programme?

Once your new programme is formally approved by the Programme Approval Committee, you should seek to market and promote your programme effectively to ensure you meet your recruitment targets in year one of operation.   

You will need to undertake the following actions with your Faculty/School Marketing Team: 

  • Create an outline course page/course pages on the University website for each programme;
  • Produce a prospectus entry – ideally this should be included in the prospectus for the year of launch, which will require careful alignment of the development timeframe with the publications schedule included in the Programme Development Timeline;
  • Work with the Marketing, Recruitment and International team to ensure that your programme is targeted effectively towards all markets;
  • Promote your programme on open days and at recruitment fairs as required. 

What is Marketing ‘Subject to Approval?

In exceptional circumstances, the Programme Management Board may approve for the marketing of new proposals ‘subject to approval’ and recruit students. All offers will be made subject to the programme being finally approved by the University. Any students holding offers for programmes which are not approved will be offered alternative programmes, although this approach does not provide the best service to applicants and the University seeks to minimise any programmes proposed for development that are not likely to complete the full approval process. 

It is preferable to ensure that programme developments are planned and approved sufficiently far in advance to permit a full marketing and recruitment cycle to be conducted prior to the first planned intake of students. There is a demonstrable negative impact on recruitment if students are not assured that programmes will actually run.   

N.B. This approach is for use in exceptional circumstances only and can put the University at risk if not carefully managed. 

Please see the Programme Development Timeline for further information on the ideal development cycle.

Is there a Minimum Recruitment Target for my Programme?

Yes, although this may depend on the type of programme proposed. The minimum recruitment target for each programme in the first three years of operation will be agreed by the Programme Management Board, based on market intelligence information and projections, and included in the Faculty/School Business Plan. Faculties/Schools are required to demonstrate that the recruitment target identified will at least cover the approximate delivery costs and will contribute to the University’s overall targets for growth. Recruitment to new programmes is monitored through the Annual Portfolio Review process, and if targets have not been met within three years, the University may take action to enhance a programme or withdraw a programme from the portfolio.

How are Tuition Fees for New Programmes Determined and Approved?

Faculties/Schools propose tuition fees to the Programme Management Board based on market information, approximate programme costs, national and international subject reputation and league table position, subject to a number of constraints.   

Tuition Fees are formally approved by the Programme Management Board on behalf of the Director of Finance and the University’s Senior Management Team. 

The Programme Management Board will, when reviewing fee proposals, take all factors into account to ensure that the fee level is set to ensure Swansea University’s programmes are benchmarked against relevant competitors. Tuition fees for all programmes are reviewed annually against sector benchmarks to ensure Swansea University remains competitive. 


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