Policy

Program Design - Policy

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1.0   Purpose and Scope

  1. A function of The University of Queensland (UQ or the University) under the University of Queensland Act 1998 (UQ Act) is to confer higher education awards regulated under the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF). The higher education awards conferred by UQ are prescribed in the University’s Awards Policy.
  2. This policy sets out the principles and requirements that inform the structure and design of all undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs leading to the conferral of a UQ higher education award.
  3. This policy applies to all new undergraduate and postgraduate coursework program (hereafter program) proposals from the date the policy is approved and all programs offered at the University for enrolments from 2021. This policy does not apply to Higher Degree by Research (HDR) or Higher Doctorate programs.

2.0   Principles and Key Requirements

2.1   Program Design Principles

Programs at UQ will be aligned to the University’s values and will—

  1. be underpinned by a set of program specific graduate attributes that are developed through the courses in the program;
  2. comply with the requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) including—
    • volume of learning, and
    • learning outcomes (i.e. knowledge, skills, application of skills and knowledge);
  3. be relevant and responsive to community and industry needs;
  4. take advantage of the University's research strengths;
  5. encourage cross-disciplinary collaboration and leveraging of expertise;
  6. provide students with clarity about expectations;
  7. provide a coherent and streamlined student experience; and
  8. use nomenclature that is—
    • unambiguously and readily identifiable with the qualification type, discipline, and (where applicable) the professional orientation of the program;
    • in the case of postgraduate coursework programs, consistent across a suite of postgraduate coursework awards and differentiates research from coursework;
    • easily recognisable by prospective students, employers and other stakeholders;
    • compliant with the AQF Qualifications Issuance Policy; and
    • consistent with nomenclature that has national and international acceptance.

2.2   Program Approval and Review

  1. In developing programs UQ will ensure—
    1. programs and plans are consistent with the University's academic and/or strategic priorities;
    2. programs and plans incorporate appropriate—
      • learning experiences and learning outcomes,
      • teaching approaches,
      • assessment, and
      • evaluation of student learning;
    3. the quality and integrity of UQ’s programs meet the highest academic standards;
    4. direct consultation occurs with—
      • all relevant academic units that can contribute to respective areas of discipline expertise, including adherence to the requirements of the Collaborative Service Teaching Policy;
      • all relevant organisational units and their leaders in relation to resource implications (e.g. UQ library, schools, institutes and faculties teaching into the program);
      • the office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement); and
      • relevant external and accreditation bodies, where applicable; and
    5. compliance with all relevant legislation, such as the Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (TEQSA Act) and the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (ESOS Act), and mandatory government requirements.
  2. The University-wide framework for approval of academic programs and courses is outlined in the Program Approval Procedure.
  3. The University ensures the systematic and regular review of curricula, teaching and program quality, and risk. All programs undergo annual review via the Curriculum and Teaching Quality and Risk Appraisal process, and a comprehensive review as per the Academic Program Review Procedure.

2.3   Program Nomenclature

Nomenclature must be consistent with Section 2.1 and the requirements outlined below.

2.3.1   Award Title Nomenclature

  1. Formal award titles must be displayed as follows:

the qualification type of the degree (e.g. Bachelor of) is listed first followed by an indication of the discipline (e.g. Science). For example, Bachelor of Science.

  1. Where relevant, the formal title of the award is augmented by a secondary descriptor to indicate the major(s) and/or extended major(s) and/or specialisation and/or field(s) of study. For example—
    1. For a major: Bachelor of Science with a major in Mathematics
    2. For an extended major: Bachelor of Arts with an extended major in History
    3. For a specialisation: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Chemical Engineering
    4. For a field of study: Master of Science in the field of Physics
    5. For a combination of a specialisation and a major: Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Civil Engineering with a major in Structural Engineering
    6. For a combination of majors: Bachelor of Arts with majors in English and History
    7. For a combination of fields of study: Master of Commerce in the fields of Applied Finance and Information Systems
  2. Minors and extended minors are listed on academic transcripts but are not listed on the testamur (refer to the Awards Procedure for more information).
  3. Where a new program or plan is proposed, faculties are expected to undertake appropriate consultation about the use of the proposed title with key stakeholders, both internal and external to the University.
  4. The following principles apply to all nomenclature—
    1. The descriptor 'Advanced' is only used—
      • for bachelor’s honours (minimum of 64 units in duration) and master’s level qualifications; and
      • where it can be demonstrated that the program outcomes are more advanced, and that the admission standard is higher than for programs in a similar discipline area that do not have this descriptor.
    2. The descriptor, ‘Research Extensive’ is only used in postgraduate coursework programs and where a 16-unit research project is required.
    3. Ampersands must not be used.
    4. The use of parenthetical descriptors must be appropriately justified.
    5. All or part of a program title appears also in the secondary descriptor only where an established and recognised pattern of usage can be demonstrated, e.g. Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) in Civil Engineering.
    6. Descriptors such as 'standard', 'general', ‘undeclared’ etc. are used for administrative purposes only and are not part of formal nomenclature.
    7. The same or similarly named programs and/or fields must be clearly differentiated through inclusion of appropriate text in the published program and plan information (for example, Master of Physiotherapy, Master of Physiotherapy Studies).
    8. Where more than one coursework award at the same level is offered in a discipline, the differences will be clearly identified by the program title (for example, Master of Health Economics, Master of Development Economics).
    9. While it is usual to list the qualification type before the discipline, the reverse order may be used where this is accepted nationally and/or internationally (for example, Juris Doctor).

2.3.2   Bachelor's Honours Program Nomenclature

In addition to the requirements under Section 2.3.1, bachelor’s honours programs must be titled using the formal title followed by the honours descriptor, the class of honours and, if appropriate, by the major(s) and/or extended major(s) and/or specialisation, and/or field of study. For example—

  • Bachelor of Engineering (Honours) with Honours Class I in Mechanical Engineering
  • Bachelor of Occupational Health and Safety Science (Honours) with Honours Class IIIA
  • Bachelor of Arts with Honours Class IIB in the field of History

2.4   Program Type and Duration

  1. The types of programs offered by The University of Queensland are outlined in Table 1 (Program Types and Duration) below. These are aligned to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF).
  2. Programs are only available in a single duration. Prior learning (for example, relevant professional experience) may be recognised for the purpose of granting a reduction in the duration of a program at the time of entry. Refer to Section 2.8.2 and the Credit for Previous Studies and Recognised Prior Learning Policy for more information.
  3. Program durations must be multiples of 8 units and meet the requirements shown in Table 1 (Program Types and Duration).

Table 1: Program Types and Duration

Award

AQF level

Minimum units

Maximum units

Duration of FTE study
(8 units per semester)

Diploma

5

16

32

1 to 2 years (2 to 4 semesters)

Associate degree

6

32

32

2 years (4 semesters)

Bachelor

7

48

64

3 to 4 years (6 to 8 semesters)

Bachelor’s honours – following bachelor

8

16

16

1 year (2 semesters)

Bachelor’s honours – embedded

8

64

80

4 to 5 years (8 to 10 semesters)

Graduate certificate

8

8

8

0.5 year (1 semester)

Graduate diploma

8

16

16

1 year (2 semesters)

Master’s (coursework)

9

16

48

1 to 3 years (2 to 6 semesters)

Master’s (extended)

9

48

64

3 to 4 years (6 to 8 semesters)

Professional doctorate

10

48

80

3 to 5 years (6 to 10 semesters)

  1. Bachelor’s degree programs, other than 16-unit bachelor’s honours programs, are in one of three categories:
    • Generalist Degree – a 48-unit AQF level 7 bachelor’s degree that has no or few common compulsory courses and a number of plans from which students choose.
    • Specialist Degree – an undergraduate degree where all or most of the components of the program are aligned with the requirements of the accrediting body.
    • Named Degree – an undergraduate degree that is not otherwise classified, i.e. does not meet the definition of a generalist or specialist degree.
  2. Dual and integrated programs must meet the requirements in Section 2.7.

2.5   Program Structure

  1. The program requirements set out the building blocks and any other specific conditions of the program. Programs must be made up of the building blocks set out in Table 2 (Program Building Blocks). Each building block (other than general elective courses) is a prescribed combination of courses set out in the program requirements. The total units specified for completion of the program must also meet the course level requirements set out in Table 3 (Course Levels for Courses Listed in Undergraduate Programs) for undergraduate programs or Table 4 (Course Levels for Courses Listed in Postgraduate Coursework Programs) for postgraduate programs.
  2. In addition to clause 1, the structure of a generalist degree program must also include 32 units of prescribed content and 16 units of general electives. The 32 units of prescribed content must require at least one major or extended major and allow for a Signature Learning Experience (SLE) block of 4 units to be completed.
  3. For professional doctorates, refer to the Professional Doctorate Procedure.

 

Table 2: Program Building Blocks

Building Block

Size (units)

Description

Programs in which each building block can be used
(but need not be used)

Undergraduate Program

One-year Bachelor’s Honours Program

Postgraduate Coursework Program

Generalist

Specialist

Named

Minor

8

These named plan building blocks consist of courses with a particular disciplinary focus.  They may include a mix of core and elective courses.

ü

ü

ü

 

 

Extended Minor

12 (at least 2 units at level 3 or higher)

ü

ü

ü

 

 

Major

16 (at least 4 units at level 3 or higher)

ü

ü

ü

 

 

Extended Major

24 (at least 6 units at level 3 or higher)

ü

ü

ü

 

 

Specialisation

³32 (at least 8 units at level 3 or higher)

 

ü

ü

 

 

Field of Study

³8

 

 

 

ü (16 units)

ü (8 units)

Articulation

8

Courses in an undergraduate program that can be credited towards a specific postgraduate program. This may include a mix of core and elective courses.

ü

ü

ü

 

 

Core Courses

 

One or more courses compulsory within the program.

ü (limited)

ü

ü

ü

ü

Flexible Core Courses

 

Program specific list of courses from which students must choose.

ü

ü

ü

ü

ü

Signature Learning Experience

³4

A list of specified courses.

ü (must be available)

ü

ü

 

 

Program Elective Courses

 

Courses which must be chosen from the program list.

ü

ü

ü

ü

ü

General Elective Courses

 

Courses which are chosen from the program list or other program lists.

ü (16 units must be allowed)

ü (limited or not available)

ü

ü

ü

 

Table 3: Course Levels for Courses Listed in Undergraduate Programs

Award type

Size in units

Maximum units at level 1

Minimum units at higher levels

Other requirements on listed courses

Bachelor

48

24

8 at level 3 or 4

No courses permitted at level 5 or higher.

64

24

24 at level 3, 4 or 5

No courses permitted at level 6 or higher.

Bachelor’s honours – following bachelor

16

0

16 at levels 3, 4, 5 or 6

Maximum 4 units at level 3. No courses permitted at level 7 or higher.

Bachelor’s honours – embedded

64

24

24 at levels 3, 4, 5 or 6

No courses permitted at level 7 or higher.

80

24

40 at levels 3, 4, 5 or 6

No courses permitted at level 7 or higher.

 

Table 4: Course Levels for Courses Listed in Postgraduate Coursework Programs

Award type

Size in units

Maximum units at level 1

Maximum units at level 2

Maximum units at level 3

Level 4 and 5 content

Level 6 and 7 content

Graduate certificate

8

0

0

2

Maximum 6 units

Minimum 2 units at levels 6 or 7

Graduate diploma

16

0

0

4

Maximum 8 units

Minimum 8 units at levels 6 or 7

Master’s (coursework)

16

0

0

0

Maximum 4 units

Minimum 12 units at levels 6 or 7 with at least 8 units at level 7.

 

24

0

0

6

Maximum of 12 units

32

0

0

8

Maximum of 20 units

40

0

Maximum 16 units at levels 2 and 3 with at most 4 units at level 2

Maximum of 28 units

48

Maximum 24 units at levels 1, 2 and 3 with at most 4 units at level 1 and 8 units at level 2.

Maximum of 36 units

Master’s (extended)

48

0

0

0

Not permitted

48 units at level 7 or higher

64

0

0

0

Not permitted

64 units at level 7 or higher

2.5.1   Program Requirements

  1. The program requirements and course lists of all coursework programs must be published in the University’s Programs Catalogue. This includes the plan(s) or plan type(s) or combinations of plans and/or plan types that are required or permitted in that program.
  2. If more than one plan is available in a named discipline within a program, then the building blocks for those plans must articulate seamlessly from the smaller plan(s) to the larger.
  3. Where a plan or building block allows elective choice, the number of courses listed may be limited by the Executive Dean.
  4. Variations to program course lists and course levels may be permitted for individual students with sufficient academic justification and/or in exceptional circumstances, provided that the academic integrity of the program is maintained. Any variations must be approved by the relevant Associate Dean (Academic).
  5. Approved exit awards and their respective requirements will be published in the Programs Catalogue.

2.6   Bachelor's Honours Programs

AQF level 8 bachelor’s honours programs must—

  1. be offered as either—
    • an additional one year (16 units) of study following completion of an AQF level 7 bachelor’s degree, or
    • a single qualification of at least four years (64 units);
  2. provide graduates with knowledge of research principles and methods; and
  3. qualify as a pathway for graduates to undertake research and further learning.

2.6.1   Research Requirements for Bachelor's Honours Programs

  1. A bachelor’s honours program must incorporate a minimum supervised research training component of at least 4 units—
    1. This research training comprises a combination of a substantial piece of research and/or research preparation, with the minimum contribution from a single contributing course being the equivalent of 1 unit (for example, 50% of a 2-unit course).
    2. Group work contributing to the research component is to be assessed individually.
    3. The courses contributing to the research training component must be included in the calculation of the GPA for the purpose of awarding the class of honours.
  2. In program proposals to establish or modify honours program requirements, faculties are required to identify the 4 units that provide research or research preparation in the courses that contribute to honours.

2.7   Dual and Integrated Programs

  1. Dual and integrated programs allow a combination of awards (constituent awards) to be awarded under one set of combined program requirements.
  2. An integrated program combines awards in the same or similar disciplines and meets the learning outcomes of both awards without necessarily meeting the individual requirements for the standalone programs. For example, a course required in the integrated program may meet the learning outcomes for both awards.
  3. A dual program meets the requirements of both standalone awards but uses cross-crediting of courses to allow the dual program to be completed in a shorter duration than the combined length of the constituent awards.

2.7.1   Principles for Dual and Integrated Programs

  1. The following principles apply to dual and integrated programs—
  2. The constituent awards may both be undergraduate, both be postgraduate or be a combination of undergraduate and postgraduate.
  3. The constituent awards may be available as standalone programs but need not be.
  4. All graduate outcomes of both constituent awards must be met.
    • The overall duration of the combined program is a fixed number of units which is a multiple of 8 units and must comply with the following durations unless a variation is approved—
    • dual undergraduate program – 32 units shorter than the combined duration of both standalone programs.
    • dual master’s program – a minimum of 32 units and no more than 48 units.
    • dual or integrated bachelor’s program and master’s program – a minimum of 16 units, and no more than 32 units, longer than the duration of the standalone bachelor’s program.

2.7.2   Dual Program Principles

In addition to the principles in Section 2.7.1, the following principles apply to dual programs—

  1. Where a constituent award is available as a standalone program, the courses undertaken in the dual program must satisfy the requirements for both standalone programs.
  2. Not all choices (e.g. elective courses and plans) available in the standalone programs may be available in the dual program, and not all choices available in the dual program may be available in the standalone programs. Where there exists the potential for confusion, a separate course list should be created for the dual program to provide clarity to students.

2.7.3   Integrated Program Principles

In addition to the principles in Section 2.7.1, the following principles apply to integrated programs—

  1. The constituent awards must be in the same or similar disciplines.
  2. Where a constituent award is available as a standalone program, the integrated program need not include all of the course requirements of that standalone program but must meet the graduate outcomes of that standalone program.
  3. Any specialisation, extended major or major applies to the integrated program as a whole and not to either or both of the constituent awards.
  4. The AQF level of the integrated program is the higher of those of the constituent awards.

2.8   Postgraduate Coursework Programs

2.8.1   Principles for Entry to Master's Degree (Coursework) Programs

  1. Entry requirements for each program must be listed in the program catalogue and provide statements of tertiary or post-secondary qualifications, work experience and/or other requirements needed to enter the program.
  2. Master’s (Coursework) programs must meet AQF entry requirements in terms of the level and discipline of the entry qualification as outlined in Table 5 (Minimum Requirements for Master’s Degree (Coursework) Programs):

 

Table 5: Minimum Entry Requirements for Master's Degree (Coursework) Programs

Master’s (coursework) program duration (units)

Minimum entry requirement

16

AQF level 8 qualification in the same discipline

24

AQF level 7 qualification in the same discipline OR

AQF level 8 qualification in a different discipline

32 or longer

AQF level 7 qualification in a different discipline

A program may require an entry qualification above the AQF minimum where it is appropriately justified. For example, a 32-unit master’s program may require a level 8 qualification in the same discipline.

  1. A level 7 or level 8 entry qualification must be assessed as being either in the same discipline or in a different discipline. The assessment decision must be made by the relevant Associate Dean (Academic) or delegate.
  2. Entry requirements may be reduced through recognition of prior learning (RPL) and/or prior study. RPL and any prior study must be assessed for equivalency to the learning outcomes of the required entry qualification. Any consideration of RPL must take into account students’ likelihood of successfully achieving the program outcomes and ensure that the integrity of program outcomes is maintained (refer to the Credit for Previous Studies and Recognised Prior Learning Policy for more information).
  3. Unless a strong case for exceptional circumstances can be made, students without tertiary qualifications will enter a suite of postgraduate awards at the graduate certificate level.
  4. Students who do not qualify for direct entry to another part of a suite of postgraduate programs may progress step-wise through the suite provided they meet the criteria set out in the Postgraduate Coursework Admissions Procedure or the individual program admission requirements.
  5. The minimum enrolment requirements for suites of postgraduate programs are set out below—

Graduate certificate – Post-secondary study (or equivalent) and/or work experience in a related discipline or a bachelor’s degree.

Graduate diploma – Post-secondary study (or equivalent) and/or work experience in a related discipline or bachelor’s degree or the graduate certificate in the suite of programs.

Where no specific bachelor’s degree is required, RPL may be considered (see clause 4 above).

General entry requirements for postgraduate coursework awards are contained in Postgraduate Coursework Admissions Procedure.

2.8.2   Advanced Standing in Master's Degree (Coursework) Programs

  1. Advanced standing and/or RPL must not reduce the minimum remaining units beyond the AQF requirement, as outlined in Table 6 (Advanced Standing Master’s Degree (Coursework) Programs).

 

Table 6: Advanced Standing in Master's Degree (Coursework) Programs

Equivalent entry qualification

Minimum remaining units

AQF level 7 qualification in a different discipline

32

AQF level 7 qualification in the same discipline

24

AQF level 8 qualification in a different discipline

24

AQF level 8 qualification in the same discipline

16

  1. Credit beyond advanced standing may be available for other studies and/or RPL in accordance with the University’s Credit for Previous Studies and Recognised Prior Learning Policy.
  2. In programs that allow advanced standing to be granted, the program requirements and/or course list must clearly specify the  requirements to be completed.

2.8.3   Research Requirements for Master's Degree (Coursework) and Master's Degree (Extended) Programs

  1. AQF requires all level 9 master’s degree (coursework) and master’s degree (extended) qualifications to incorporate ‘some independent research’.
  2. Master’s degree (coursework) and master’s degree (extended) programs offered at UQ must incorporate the following compulsory research requirements—
    1. A master’s degree (coursework) or master’s degree (extended) program must incorporate a minimum research training component of at least 4 units.
    2. The required minimum of 4 units of research may be distributed across the program and does not have to be a standalone course.
    3. Components of courses that contribute towards the minimum research requirement may include practice-based research, literature reviews, presentations, essays and published papers, case studies, clinical and work-based research and write-up, in line with 'disciplinary norms'.
    4. The compulsory minimum 4-unit research requirement for all master’s degree (coursework) and master’s degree (extended) programs is required to be individual work, although research undertaken within a group project may contribute if it is assessed individually.
    5. The mandated minimum research component required for any 2-unit course contributing to research is 20% research for that course, based on assessment.

3.0   Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

3.1   Vice-Chancellor

The Vice-Chancellor exercises delegated authority from Senate to approve new programs, changes to existing programs and program discontinuations on the advice of the Academic Board. The Vice-Chancellor also approves requests to vary or exempt a program from any of the principles outlined in this policy and the accompanying procedures.

3.2   Vice-Chancellor's Committee (VCC)

Members of VCC are responsible to the Vice-Chancellor on the quality and effectiveness of the University’s programs, and are responsible for coordination and implementation of changes to the University’s program portfolio.

3.3   Academic Board

The Academic Board (the Board) is the principal academic advisory body to the University Senate. The Board provides expert advice to the Senate and the Vice-Chancellor on all matters relating to and affecting University teaching, research and educational programs.

3.4   Faculties

  1. The Executive Dean has overall accountability for the administration and quality assurance arrangements of academic programs offered by the Faculty, including—
    1. the strategic aspects of new and major program initiatives before more detailed academic aspects of the programs are developed and referred for the Vice-Chancellor’s approval; and
    2. scheduled review of programs, including offshore program offerings and arrangements with third party providers (both onshore and offshore institutions).
  2. The Associate Dean (Academic) oversees the annual Curriculum and Teaching Quality and Risk Appraisal process of the Faculty and its Schools in consultation with the Executive Dean, and the Heads of Schools.

4.0   Monitoring, Review and Assurance

  1. The quality of the standardised structure and design of the University’s programs is assured through implementation of:
  2. The Program Bulletin provides access to the relevant forms, details of submitted program proposals, and the progress of these submissions through the approval process.
  3. The Academic Board through the Committee for Academic Programs Policy (CAPP) is responsible for monitoring university-wide compliance with, and review of this policy for its effectiveness and ongoing relevance with UQ strategic objectives.

5.0   Recording and Reporting

  1. Design features and structural details relating to all programs offered by the University are published in the Programs Catalogue.
  2. Records relating to the structure and design of the University’s programs, including approved variations and proposals initiated through the Program Approval Procedure, must be lodged with Records Management Services in accordance with the Records Management Policy.

6.0   Appendix

6.1   Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF) – a single comprehensive national qualifications framework that represents the national policy for regulated qualifications in Australian education and training.

Advanced Standing – A reduction in the duration of a program at the time of entry due to prior studies or recognition of prior learning. 

AQF Qualifications Issuance Policy – the official AQF policy that stipulates the structure and content of qualification titles awarded by authorised organisations as part of Australia's national qualification framework.

CAPP – Committee for Academic Programs Policy

Course – a distinct unit of study within a program, for which a grade is given. Each course is identified by its alphanumeric code, a title and a fixed unit value.

Credit – The granting of units towards the program requirements in the form of block, specified or unspecified credit (refer to the Credit for Previous Studies and Recognised Prior Learning for more information).

Curriculum – Curriculum is the intersection of knowledge, skills, and attitudes focused on what is taught, learned and created through the purposeful selection and structuring of content in courses and programs.

Dual Program – a sequence of study under one set of program requirements that leads to two awards conferred simultaneously on separate testamurs. A dual program uses cross-crediting of courses so that the program duration is shorter than the sum of those for the constituent awards.

Exit Award – a qualification that can be awarded if a student has met a defined subset of the requirements for some other qualification.

Extended Major – a prescribed combination of courses within an undergraduate program with a particular disciplinary focus having a value of 24 units including at least 6 units at level 3 or higher.

Extended Minor – a prescribed combination of courses within an undergraduate program with a particular disciplinary focus having a value of 12 units, including at least 2 units at level 3 or higher.

Field of Study – a prescribed combination of courses in a postgraduate coursework program having a value of at least 8 units or in a one-year bachelor’s honours program having a value of 16 units.

Generalist Degree –a 48-unit AQF level 7 bachelor’s degree that has no or few common compulsory courses and a number of plans from which students may choose.

Integrated Program – a sequence of study under one set of program requirements that leads to a combination of awards on a single testamur.

Major – a prescribed combination of courses within a program with a particular disciplinary focus having a value of 16 units, including at least 4 units at level 3 or higher.

Minor – a prescribed combination of courses within a program with a particular disciplinary focus having a value of 8 units.

Named Degree – an undergraduate degree that is not otherwise classified, i.e. does not meet the definition of a generalist or specialist degree.

Plan – a prescribed combination of courses within a program being either a field of study, major, extended major, specialisation, minor or extended minor.

Program – a sequence of study leading to the award of a qualification such as an undergraduate degree or diploma, and/or a postgraduate coursework qualification.

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) – previous informal studies that involved learning that is less structured in nature and that can be demonstrated to be equivalent to appropriate University of Queensland studies.

Specialisation – a prescribed combination of courses within an undergraduate program with a particular disciplinary focus having a value of at least 32 units including at least 8 units at level 3 or higher.

Specialist Degree – an undergraduate degree where all or most of the components of the program are aligned with the requirements of the accrediting body.

Testamur – Award certificate.

Units – the value of an individual course which contributes to the total unit requirement of a program. 16 units equals 1 EFTSL – the equivalent full-time study load for a year.

Custodians

Procedures

Program Approval - Procedure

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1.0 Purpose and Scope

  1. This procedure outlines the University’s processes for the development and approval of undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs (hereafter programs) in conjunction with the Program Design Policy.
  2. This procedure also covers the approval of program-related changes including:
    1. program-specific variations or exemptions to requirements stated in a policy or procedure for:
      1. admission, enrolment and progression requirements (in conjunction with the Coursework Admission and Enrolment Policy);
      2. credit limits (in conjunction with the Credit for Previous Studies and Recognised Prior Learning Policy); and
      3. calculation of class of honours (in conjunction with the Bachelor Honours Degree Policy);
    2. pathway arrangements for the UQ Foundation Year program;
    3. collaborative academic program arrangements (in conjunction with the Collaborative Academic Program Arrangements Policy);
    4. non-award study (e.g. enhanced studies, study abroad);
    5. shorter form credentials (in conjunction with the Shorter Form Credentials Policy);
    6. non-standard course design (e.g. unit values) (in conjunction with the Course Design Policy);
    7. professional doctorates (in conjunction with the Professional Doctorates Policy); and
    8. higher doctorates (in conjunction with the Higher Doctorates Policy).
  3. For Higher Degree by Research (HDR) programs refer to 4.60 Higher Degree by Research Candidates.

2.0 Process and Key Controls

  1. Proposals are developed in accordance with the requirements specified in Section 3 in consultation with identified stakeholders. The Executive Dean or the Associate Dean (Academic) may also set additional requirements as part of the development process. Following internal review, typically through the Coordinating Unit’s Teaching and Learning Committee, proposals are referred to the Faculty through its Board of Studies, which will advise the Executive Dean on the proposed content and structure; they may also provide advice on the business case as required.
  2. If the Executive Dean is satisfied the proposal aligns with the Faculty’s strategic objectives they will refer the proposal to the Committee for Academic Programs Policy (CAPP), except for:
    1. adding or removing a course listed in a program course list – proposals are approved by the Executive Dean.
    2. new and amended courses, shorter form credentials and standalone learning modules – proposals are approved by the Executive Dean unless covered under Section 3.1.6.
    3. new and amended shorter forms credentials in accordance with the Shorter Form Credentials Policy.
    4. new and amended course discipline descriptors – proposals are approved by the Academic Registrar.
    5. program variations to the Academic Calendar and/or courses to be offered in non-standard teaching periods – proposals are approved by the President of the Academic Board.
  3. CAPP reviews the academic and quality assurance aspects of the proposal, and ensures the requirements set under relevant University policy and/or procedures are met before it is referred to Academic Board for advice and recommendation. The following proposals also undergo compliance checks before they are considered by CAPP:
    1. New and amended program rules – by the Programs Sub-Committee (PSC).
    2. Admissions requirements and admission schemes – by the Coursework Admission Standards Sub-Committee (CASSC).
  4. The proposal, together with the business case (where applicable) and the recommendations of the Academic Board and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), is referred to the Vice-Chancellor for approval.

 

3.0 Key Requirements

3.1 Submission Requirements

  1. All proposals must address the following details (if applicable) in the relevant template, or in supporting documentation:
    1. the rationale for the proposal;
    2. evidence of market research and the sustainability of the initiative;
    3. marketing and/or communication requirements;
    4. teaching and learning resource requirements;
    5. student load issues;
    6. involvement of other faculties/coordinating units in delivery arrangements;
    7. evidence of consultation with relevant stakeholders as appropriate. For example:
      1. evidence of support from the unit leader (or delegate) of the Unit/Faculty contributing to the program;
      2. summary of findings from consultation; and
    8. potential duplication with other program and course offerings;
    9. additional requirements set in Sections 3.1.1 to 3.1.6 where applicable.
  2. The submission guide available from the Program Bulletin documents the minimum submission requirements and deadlines for all the types of program proposals required under this procedure to be referred to CAPP.

3.1.1 New programs and major program initiatives

  1. In addition to Section 3.1, proposals for new programs and major program initiatives must include:
    1. a Summary Business case for Program Initiatives approved by the Executive Dean and the Provost prior to submission to CAPP,  developed in consultation and with the support of the office of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement); and
    2. evidence of consultation with the office of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Engagement).
  2. Examples of major program initiatives include:
    1. a new dual or integrated program where one or more of the programs is new;
    2. proposals to offer a program on a collaborative basis with a partner organisation, including external delivery of a program - see Section 3.1.5 below; 
    3. transnational education arrangements such as joint degree programs (e.g. joint award of a degree or dual badging) – see Section 3.1.5 below; or
    4. major changes to the structure of an existing program (e.g. the introduction of larger plan types into a program where they were not previously available, or numerous changes to the plans within a program).

3.1.2 Changes to program structure and program rules

If the Faculty proposes to amend the program structure (e.g. the types of building blocks used) and/or programs rules of an existing program, in addition to Section 3.1 the Faculty must specify whether existing students enrolled in the program—

  1. will be permitted to choose either to:
    1. continue their studies under the superseded structure and/or program rules in which they were enrolled prior to the change (i.e. a teach-out arrangement), or 
    2. be transferred to the new structure and/or program rules (i.e. a transition arrangement); or
  2. will be required to transition to the new structure and/or program rules to be conferred the award (for example, for accreditation purposes); or
  3. will be required to follow a defined transition plan combining the superseded and new requirements.

Refer to Section 3.2 on the principles for transition arrangements. 

3.1.3 Discontinuations

  1. Where a proposal involves discontinuation of a program or plan that has student enrolments, in addition to Section 3.1 a teach-out plan must be included.
  2. If the Faculty proposes to offer students enrolled in the program the ability to transfer to another program, the proposal must include a transition arrangement that specifies:
    1. how courses completed under the superseded program will be credited towards the program completion requirements under new program; and
    2. the program requirements applicable to existing students under the new program;

Refer to Section 3.2 on the principles for transition and teach-out arrangements, and Section 3.2.1 for transfer of students from an undergraduate program to a postgraduate program.

  1. If the transition arrangement will result in the students exceeding the maximum credit limit specified in the Credit for Previous Studies and Recognised Prior Learning Procedure, the Vice-Chancellor may approve an exemption provided the requirements in Section 3.2 (and 3.2.1 if applicable) are satisfied.

3.1.4 Program suspensions

  1. Proposals to suspend a program or plan from new enrolments must outline arrangements for existing students’ enrolment in the program/plan. Suspensions are approved for a period of up to 12 months.
  2. Prior to the end-date of the suspension period, the Faculty must advise CAPP on the status of the suspended program/plan. After considering the Faculty’s submission, the Committee may recommend:
    1. the approval of a final extension, with a new deadline for recommencement of enrolments; or
    2. that the program/plan be discontinued. The Faculty’s response to CAPP’s recommendation will then be included in the submission provided to the Vice-Chancellor.

3.1.5 Transnational program offerings and teaching of a UQ program through third-party arrangements

  1. Faculties must establish, manage, and review quality assurance arrangements for all transnational program offerings and/or arrangements with third party providers that teach a UQ program (parts of a program or a whole program), including both on-campus and partner institutions.
  2. Where an external program offering or arrangement between the University and an external party to teach a UQ program (parts of, or in its entirety) is being developed as part of a new or restructured program, in addition to the standard program proposal in Section 3.1, the Faculty must meet the requirements set under the Collaborative Academic Programs Arrangements Policy and supply an Academic Quality Assurance Statement documenting the academic quality assurance arrangements put in place to ensure compliance with UQ policy, procedures and practices.

3.1.6 Courses, shorter form credentials and stand-alone learning modules

  1. Approval of courses and course-level changes are normally the responsibility of the Executive Dean. 
  2. Despite clause 1 a proposal should be considered by CAPP when the course—
    1. forms part of an introduction of a new program, or plan in an existing program;
    2. incorporates non-standard design;
    3. requires consultation with relevant academic units that can contribute to respective areas of discipline expertise, including adherence to the requirements of PPL 3.20.05 Collaborative Service Teaching - Policy; or
    4. requires consultation with relevant external and accrediting bodies.

The Executive Dean or Associate Dean (Academic) may consult the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) to determine if a proposal under clause 2 should be considered by CAPP.

  1. Stand-alone learning modules are approved by the Executive Dean or authorised decision-maker (typically the Head of School) and may be referred to CAPP for academic review at the discretion of the Executive Dean or Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic).

 

3.2 Transition and teach-out arrangements for programs and plans

In circumstances where a program is changed or discontinued, the University will put in place appropriate arrangements to ensure students who have commenced a program are given the opportunity to complete the program and be conferred the corresponding award, or a similar award.

The following principles apply to transition and teach-out arrangements:

  1. In some cases it may be necessary to transition students to a new or revised program or to a new set of program requirements. For example a course may be recoded or no longer be offered, and/or program requirements modified to align with industry practice or to meet external accreditation requirements. 
  2. A teach-out arrangement may be offered instead of a transition arrangement in the event that a program or plan is discontinued for new enrolments or superseded by another program or plan. For example, where the new program/plan has few to no comparable courses to the superseded program/plan.
  3. It is expected that the maximum period of a transition or teach-out arrangement is the duration of the program plus one year, with exceptions permitted at the discretion of the faculty.
  4. A transition arrangement cannot guarantee that all students that access the arrangement will be able to complete the new program in the same duration as would have applied had they remained in the original program.
  5. A transition and a teach-out arrangement will ensure:
    1. academic standards are not lowered;
    2. a student who accesses the arrangements is not disadvantaged;
    3. students are informed with clear communication regarding the details of the arrangement; and
    4. that the arrangement preserves the enduring value of the existing qualification that is being revised/replaced.

3.2.1 Transfer from an undergraduate program to a postgraduate program

  1. The Vice-Chancellor may approve a transitional scheme to allow students to transfer from an undergraduate program to a postgraduate program if the undergraduate program is being discontinued or replaced, wholly or partially, by a postgraduate program. 
  2. The transitional scheme must be set out in the program completion requirements for the postgraduate program. The following requirements will also apply:
    1. The transition arrangement under the scheme must:
      1. Define the cohort of students entitled to access the transitional scheme; and
      2. Specify the program of study and minimum number of units a student is required to obtain to be eligible for the postgraduate award; and
    2. The minimum remaining units the student is required to complete to be eligible for the postgraduate award must not be less than 50% of the program completion requirements for the postgraduate program.
  3. The Vice-Chancellor may exempt courses coded at level 3 or higher undertaken by students while enrolled in the undergraduate program from the limitation on the granting of credit towards a postgraduate course (Section 5.5.2 of the Credit for Previous Studies and Recognised Prior Learning Procedure) only if they are comparable to the courses the student is required to undertake in the postgraduate program.

 

4.0 Roles, Responsibilities and Accountabilities

4.1 Vice-Chancellor

The Vice-Chancellor approves:

  1. program development proposals including:
    • the introduction, amendment, suspension and discontinuation (including transition arrangements) of coursework programs;
    • program-specific requirements for admission, enrolment and progression; and
    • exemptions to requirements set under the Program Design Policy and policies and procedures with program-related changes.
  2. shorter form credentials, in accordance with the Shorter Form Credentials Policy.

4.2 Provost

The Provost recommends the strategic and financial aspects of new and major program initiatives before more detailed academic aspects of the programs are considered by the Committee for Academic Programs Policy and the Academic Board.

4.3 Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement)

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) recommends the strategic aspects of new and major program initiatives before more detailed academic aspects of the programs are considered by the Committee for Academic Programs Policy and the Academic Board. The office of Deputy Vice-Chancellor (External Engagement) provides support to faculties to complete the Summary Business case for Program Initiatives for new and major program initiatives.

4.4 Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)

The Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) makes recommendations to the Vice-Chancellor on proposals referred by the Academic Board for approval and assures they align with the University’s academic and strategic priorities.

4.5 Academic Board

  1. The Academic Board (the Board) is the principal academic advisory body to the University Senate. The Board provides expert advice to the Senate and the Vice-Chancellor on all matters relating to and affecting University teaching, research and educational programs.
  2. The President of the Academic Board is responsible for assessment and approval of applications for program variations to the Academic Calendar and courses to be offered in non-standard teaching periods.

4.5.1 Committee for Academic Programs Policy (CAPP)

  1. CAPP reviews the academic aspects of proposals prior to consideration by the Academic Board. The Committee also refers recommendations and advice to the Academic Board on matters of policy relating to admission, enrolment, and progression.
  2. CAPP has established a number of sub-committees to perform compliance checks of program related changes, including Programs Sub-Committee (PSC) and Coursework Admission Standards Sub-Committee (CASSC).

4.6 Faculties

  1. The Executive Dean is responsible to the Provost and has overall accountability for the administration and quality assurance arrangements of academic programs offered by the Faculty, including:
    1. the strategic aspects of new and major program initiatives before more detailed academic aspects of the programs are developed and referred through the program approval process;
    2. scheduled review of programs, including offshore program offerings and arrangements with third party providers (both onshore and offshore institutions).

Refer to the Roles and Responsibilities of Executive Deans Policy for more information.

  1. The Executive Dean is also responsible for ensuring appropriate processes are implemented by the Faculty and the Coordinating Units to ensure proposals meet the requirements of relevant University policy and procedures.
  2. The Faculty (or Program-based) Board of Studies is responsible for advising the Executive Dean on current and future issues that relate to the development, content and structure pertaining to academic programs, courses, and shorter form credentials in accordance with the Shorter Form Credentials Policy. Boards of Studies will generally:
    1. include representation from—
      1. coordinating units teaching into the programs offered by the Faculty;
      2. students enrolled in the Faculty’s programs; and
      3. relevant external professional or employer groups (as required); and
    2. advice from the Coordinating Unit on the development and review of courses, plans and programs administered by the Faculty.
  1. The Associate Dean (Academic) oversees quality assurance processes in the Faculty and coordinating units in consultation with the Executive Dean and the Heads of Coordinating Units.

4.6.1 Coordinating Units

The Head of the Coordinating Unit is responsible to the Executive Dean for the delivery and administration of courses, shorter form credentials and stand-alone learning modules.

4.7 Academic Registrar

  1. The Academic Registrar is responsible for the University's program and course catalogues and approves new and amended course descriptors.
  2. Where a program is to be made available to international students, the Academic Registrar is responsible for registering the program in the Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) to meet the provisions of the Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000.

 

5.0 Monitoring, Review and Assurance

  1. Academic Policy and Programs monitors the academic program approval process and administers the Program Bulletin which provides access to the relevant forms, details of submitted program proposals, and the progress of these submissions through the approval process.
  2. The Academic Board through CAPP is responsible for monitoring university-wide compliance with this procedure for its effectiveness and ongoing relevance with regard to UQ’s strategic objectives.
  3. Coordinating Units and Faculties are responsible for monitoring the effectiveness of their internal processes and alignment with this procedure.
  4. The Academic Registrar will review this procedure as required.

 

6.0 Recording and Reporting

6.1 Records

The records of all proposals initiated through this procedure shall be managed in accordance with the Information Management Policy

6.2 Reports

  1. The President of the Academic Board reports annually to the Senate on program development proposals referred through the academic approval process and provides regular reports to the Vice-Chancellor and the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) following each Board meeting.
  2. The Academic Registrar will provide reports to members of Vice-Chancellor’s Committee and the President of the Academic Board as required relating to the program approval process.
  3. Planning and Business Intelligence will make available reports to unit leaders on the program approval process and applicable performance metrics as required. 
  4. The Coordinating Units will provide reports to the Faculty as required. 

 

7.0 Appendix

7.1 Definitions, Terms, Acronyms

Building block – see Section 2.4 of the Program Design Policy

Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS) – the Australian Government register that lists all Australian education providers offering programs to people studying in Australia on student visas and the programs offered.

Coordinating Unit – the organisational unit that administers the course, typically a School or Institute.

Course – a distinct unit of study within a program, for which a grade is given. Each course is identified by its alphanumeric code, a title and a fixed unit value.

Dual program – a sequence of study under one set of program requirements that leads to two awards conferred simultaneously on separate testamurs.

Foundation Year program – a Certificate IV program offered by IES College that prepares international students for study at UQ. The Foundation Year program guarantees graduates admission to a range of UQ programs, provided requirements including quota restrictions, grade point average, subject prerequisite and English language proficiency are met.

Integrated Program – a sequence of study under one set of program requirements that leads to a combination of awards on a single testamur.

Joint degree programs - programs for which students are awarded a UQ degree (on the basis of study at UQ and credit for study undertaken at the partner institution) and receive an award from the partner institution (based on study at the partnership institution and credit for study undertaken at UQ). The arrangements for awarding the degree may include:

Joint award of a degree: Each institution awards a degree for the same program of work. An appropriate notation is made to this effect on the UQ testamur and is clearly specified in the agreement between UQ and the partner institution.

Dual badging: The University (or another institution) awarding the degree recognises the involvement of the partner institution by inclusion of their crest etc. on the testamur.

Non-award study – where a student is enrolled to study one or more courses without being admitted to a program which leads to an award of this University.

Plan – a prescribed combination of courses within a program being either a field of study, major, extended major, specialisation, minor or extended minor.

Program – a sequence of study leading to the award of a qualification such as an undergraduate degree or diploma, and/or postgraduate coursework qualification.

Program Bulletin – provides staff-only access to program development forms, details of submitted program proposals and the progress of these submissions through the approval process. The aim of the Program Bulletin is to:

facilitate information sharing at each stage of program development

encourage communication and collaboration

encourage wider scrutiny and early resolution of cross-faculty issues.

Program requirements – for the purpose of this procedure, program requirements means the courses to be taken to complete the program and any other specific conditions of the program including admission, enrolment and progression requirements. Program requirements include all requirements set out in the former ‘program rules’. 

Shorter form credential – a distinct unit of study with academically assessed learning outcomes, which is generally offered outside an award program and is usually completed in a short time frame. A shorter form credential may be structured as a single module (e.g. a MOOC), or as a suite of combined modules resulting in a larger credential (e.g. a MicroMasters®).

Stand-alone learning module – a university-led structured learning endeavour for which participants are not enrolled in a UQ course. Frequently, emphasis is placed on meeting the continuing professional development needs of individuals newly entering a field, returning to a field after a time of non-practice, maintaining currency, or in need of upgrading or updating skills. Stand-alone learning modules are not normally configured in SI-net.

Transnational education - means the marketing, enrolment processes and delivery of programs of study in a country other than Australia by UQ, where delivery includes a face-to-face component, regardless of whether or not the education and/or training leads to a UQ award.

Units – the value of an individual course which contributes to the total unit requirement of a program. 16 units equals 1 EFTSL – the equivalent full-time study load for a year.

7.2 Related Policies and Procedures

See Document Web Links.

7.3 Relevant Legislation and Information

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency Act 2011 (Cth) 

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2015

Education Services for Overseas Students Act 2000 (Cth)

National Code of Practice for Providers of Education and Training to Overseas Students 2018

Tertiary Education Quality and Standards Agency (TEQSA)

Commonwealth Register of Institutions and Courses for Overseas Students (CRICOS)

 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Custodians