Validation and Periodic Review

All programmes offered by the University have gone through a process of development and validation before being offered to students as a programme of study. In addition, all programmes are periodically reviewed to make sure that they remain current and relevant.

There are two main types of approval process used for all programmes currently offered and all new programme developments at the University, which are:

Validation -  the process of initial approval, development and consideration for any new programme.

Periodic review/ Revalidation - the process of re-approval, re-development and consideration for any existing programme (home or collaborative) offered at the University/ at a partner institute.

Why is it necessary to carry out a validation of a programme?

It is necessary to formally validate our programmes of study (i) to be sure that the standards of the awards given by the University of Hertfordshire are in line with sector expectations as articulated in the QAA  UK Quality Code for Higher Education; and (ii) to ensure currency of content, programme coherency and educational challenge; and (iii) appropriate student support, learning, teaching and assessment strategies that together result in an excellent student experience.

To achieve the above, the University must be satisfied that the proposed programme:

  • Reflects Subject Benchmark statements and/or relevant Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) requirements;
  • Satisfies the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications
  • Is appropriate in the light of student demand, employer expectations and employment opportunities;
  • Reflects the University’s  academic drivers and initiatives;
  • Is sufficiently resourced in terms of both the availability of staff and physical resources;
  • Reflects current research and practice in the application of knowledge in the relevant discipline(s), technological advances, and developments in learning and teaching.

Why do we review programmes?

The periodic review process enables the University to ensure that the portfolio of study remains relevant to both the School and to our prospective students, that the curriculum content is appropriate, and that learning and teaching is up-to-date and well-resourced. This process also ensures that our internal requirements are met, for example, University strategic policies and Academic Quality regulations, as well as all external requirements, such as the Frameworks for Higher Education Qualifications of UK Degree-Awarding Bodies (2014),  the OfS conditions of registration, QAA Subject benchmark statements and any relevant professional and statutory regulatory body standards requirements. Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) regulations are also considered during the development of programmes.

All academic programmes are required to undergo periodic review (and revalidation for programmes offered by our collaborative partners) no longer than every six years. However, revisions to programmes may be required in between these events with some requiring a full periodic review and others requiring approval only at programme level. The process for approving these revisions, based on the scale of revision required is outlined  here:

Amendments to programmes in between full Periodic Review

Deadlines

All programmes undergoing validation, re-validation or review have to be ratified by the Academic Board before they can be delivered. Staff can find the relevant deadlines here:

Validation and Periodic Review deadlines

Any exceptions to these deadlines must be agreed with the Director of Academic Quality Assurance. An extension to the deadline may be granted in certain exceptional circumstances, set out in the paper 'Requests for Extensions to Validation and Periodic Review Deadlines', available to University staff. If you require an extension to a validation or periodic review event, then you will need to inform and seek advice from the relevant Associate Director of Academic Quality Assurance.  You must complete the Validation and Periodic Review extension form and send it to your Schools Academic Services Officer (Academic Quality Assurance) for permission to be sought from the Director.

The processes of validation, revalidation and periodic review

The Centre for Academic and Quality Assurance (CAQA) manages all validation, revalidation and periodic review activity at the University liaising closely with Schools and programme teams during the process. Schools will be aware of which programmes are due for periodic review or revalidation in the current academic year. CAQA also offer a workshop for leading a Programme Development or Periodic Review, as well as various other relevant workshops, which can be booked via the Staff Core portal.

CAQA Workshops

The processes for validation and review activity are detailed in the UPR AS17 Section B: Development and approval procedures for new programmes of study. The process involves a number of steps. Detailed information on how to undertake a validation, revalidation or periodic review can be found in the relevant handbook.