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Durham University

Learning and Teaching Handbook

3.1: Schedule for Curriculum Development

University Guidelines

1. All proposals for new degree/diploma/certificate programmes, new modules, significant changes to existing degrees/diplomas/certificates/modules and withdrawals of modules to become effective for the following academic year must normally be approved by the appropriate Faculty Education Committee and, where appropriate, by the University Education Committee and Senate no later than the date of the second meeting of Senate in the Easter Term.

New Programmes

2. Proposals for new undergraduate and postgraduate programmes may be submitted at any time of year but proposers should note the following constraints in the timetables for publicising programmes and for the admissions cycle, which programme approval panels will take into account when agreeing a start-date for the new programme:

a. proposals for undergraduate programmes should normally be submitted by 1 September for programmes to commence in the next calendar year but one (e.g. submission by 1 September 2015 to commence in October 2017), allowing recommendations to go to a Michaelmas term meeting of Quality and Standard Sub-Committee. This allows the lead-time necessary for the programme to be included in the prospectus (copy deadline December, 18 months ahead of the start of the relevant academic year - e.g. December 2015 for programmes commencing in October 2017) and takes account of the undergraduate application cycle.

[Note: where a department intends to submit a new undergraduate programme proposal with a view to a recommendation being made to a Michaelmas meeting of QSSC, they should notify the Marketing Department as soon as possible in the Michaelmas term so that initial arrangements can be made to include this in the prospectus should the proposal be approved]

b. If proposals are submitted with a shorter lead-time (e.g. 1 September 2015 to commence October 2017) departments should be aware that the programme will not be included in the relevant prospectus which may hamper initial recruitment;

3. Proposals for postgraduate programmes should normally be submitted no later than the end of January for programmes to commence in the following academic year, i.e. by 31 January 2015 for programmes due to commence in October 2015.

4. The process of discussion with the panel and revisions to documentation may result in a programme being approved too late to for it to be introduced in the academic year originally requested, irrespective of the original date of submission. The panel may take this into account when agreeing the effective start-date for the programme.

5. Proposals will not normally be given final approval later than the Easter Term for commencement in the following academic year. This applies to undergraduate and postgraduate proposals.

Changes to Existing Modules or Programmes

6. Although it is important that changes be made to modules as soon as possible to ensure that the quality of the programmes is maintained and enhanced, it is also important that students can make module choices on the basis of clear information about the modules available to them. The following deadlines are therefore linked to the production of the Faculty Handbook Online, the Postgraduate Module Catalogue and the Calendar, and student registration.

7. It is also important that the Chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee have sufficient time to give proper consideration to proposals for changes and additions to the curriculum.

8. To this end proposals for new modules within existing programmes and for significant changes to existing modules/programmes should be forwarded to the Faculty Education Committee Secretary for consideration by the Chair of the Relevant Faculty Education Committee by the deadlines given below.

Undergraduate: 3 February 2020

Taught Postgraduate: 16 March 2020

9. Only in cases where there are exceptional grounds may proposals be considered for approval later than this date, e.g. the appointment of new staff. Such proposals will not normally be approved after the end of the Epiphany Term for undergraduate provision, and the end of the Easter Term for postgraduate provision. Changes to degree programmes outside the usual timetable may be considered subject to the following guidelines:

For undergraduate provision:

a. After the end of the Epiphany Term but before the Faculty Handbook Online is published, a case should be made in writing to the Chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee by the department explaining why the change is required and why it could not have been made within the usual time-frame. If permission is given for the change to be considered outside the usual time-frame, it will be considered in the usual way, with the Chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee taking Chair's action on behalf of Faculty Education Committee.

b. After the Faculty Handbook Online is published but before student registration, as above, but the department is responsible for ensuring that all students affected are made aware of the change(s) to the information in the Faculty Handbook Online.

c. After student registration, as above, but the department is responsible for seeking the agreement to the change in writing of all students affected. The change will require the approval of the Chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee.

For taught postgraduate provision:

d. After the end of the Easter Term but before the Postgraduate Module Catalogue published, a case should be made in writing to the Chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee by the department explaining why the change is required and why it could not have been made within the usual time-frame. If permission is given for the change to be considered outside the usual time-frame, it will be considered in the usual way, with the Chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee taking Chair's action on behalf of Faculty Education Committee.

e. After the Postgraduate Module Catalogue is published but before student registration, as above, but the department is responsible for ensuring that all students affected are made aware of the change(s) to the information in the Postgraduate Module Catalogue.

f. After student registration, as above, but the department is responsible for seeking the agreement to the change in writing of all students affected. The change will require the approval of the Chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee.

10. The case made to the Chair of the relevant Faculty Education Committee in support of the late change should explain fully:

a. Why the change could not have been made within the usual time-frame. This may include staff changes or feedback from student questionnaires;

b. The significance of the change, to distinguish essential changes, where the programme cannot be taught effectively if the change is not made (e.g. to resolve radical problems within a module) from desirable changes: where a change to a module is desirable but not essential to the delivery of the programme.