Programme specifications provide a single source of information on intended learning outcomes, teaching and learning methods, and assessment methods for programmes, cross referenced with the Framework for Higher Education Qualifications and any relevant subject benchmark statement(s).
The College intends programme specifications for prospective and current students, and their future employers. They must therefore be easily accessible to people outside the College via the website and produced in a format which is appropriate to that readership. Programme specifications are currently available on the website through the course catalogue. They are also key elements of the documentation used in quality assurance mechanisms such as programme validation and amendment, Annual Review and Periodic Departmental Review.
A programme specification must be written for all validated programmes using a standard template. Exemplars for undergraduate and postgraduate programmes, and guidance and feedback on writing programme specifications, are available from the Educational Development Centre. The following basic principles apply:
- programme specifications are required for taught programmes at all levels (i.e. Certificates, First Degrees, Diplomas, Masters Degrees and Specialist Doctorates);
- it may not be necessary to produce separate programme specifications for each programme: where possible, a single programme specification should cover all programmes at the same level within the subject area, although this approach may be less appropriate at postgraduate level;
- Joint and Combined Honours degrees at undergraduate level should, where possible, be covered in the same programme specification as Single Honours programmes, by providing rationales for the combinations of subjects and by indicating which learning outcomes apply to each.
Course specifications provide a single source of information on intended learning outcomes, teaching and learning methods, and assessment methods for course units. They are intended primarily for current students, but may be given to prospective employers in order to supplement the information provided in transcripts and references. They are also key elements of the documentation used in quality assurance mechanisms such as programme validation and amendment, Annual Review, Periodic Departmental Review and reviews by the QAA.
The Learning, Teaching and Quality Committee Committee has issued a template for course specifications. Exemplars for undergraduate and postgraduate courses, and guidance and feedback on writing course specifications, are available from the Faculty Assistant Registrars.and members of the Educational Development team.
All registered students must be provided with a handbook containing information about their programme, the department and the College. This document forms the agreed basis on which the programme is provided to students during the academic year to which it relates.
The following information must be included in the student handbook:
- name(s) of Programme Director(s) and other staff involved in delivering the programme;
- a diagrammatic representation of the programme structure, including progression, year and course weightings, and pathways where relevant;
- any assessment regulations in addition to those stated in the College Regulations;
- for Joint and Combined degrees, details of how the teaching, assessment and administration of the programme is co-ordinated between departments.
The student handbook includes any further essential departmental and College information, including arrangements for student support and guidance, advice on study and assessment (including plagiarism and procedures in respect of illness and extenuating circumstances), an equal opportunities statement, and references to further information in respect of complaints and appeals.
Standard wording for College academic policies and regulations are issued annually and must be incorporated into handbooks.