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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)








Academic Registrar Mr Mark Erickson