Programme Approval

Programme Approval

As a University and Designated Awarding Body, DCU is responsible for the accreditation of its own programmes and awards, which are, in turn, fully aligned with the National Framework for Qualifications (NFQ). Every proposed new programme must undergo validation (which involves the assessment of the programme’s relationship to University strategy and its likely viability) and accreditation (which involves scrutiny by a group of experts external to the University of its appropriateness in terms of academic content and standards).

The following information is intended for those

  1. preparing proposals for new programmes of study which have to undergo University approval (known as the validation and accreditation processes) or 
  2. preparing for revisions to existing programmes (revised academic offerings)

 

Validation and accreditation are important aspects of DCU’s academic quality assurance. The University is committed to ensuring, on the one hand, that all new programme proposals have a clear strategic focus and are fully aligned to the University’s strategic plan and component strategic plans and, on the other, that programme proposers have at their disposal a set of procedures designed to maintain the highest possible quality in terms of the preparation of proposals. The processes of validation and accreditation ensure, inter alia, that:

  • each proposal meets the requirements of Academic Council for the relevant award, and the standards and learning outcomes set are appropriate to that award.
  • individuals and groups are facilitated in creating new programmes of study within the University and/or in partnership with other institutions or organisations as appropriate. 
  • necessary human, financial and physical resources are available.

 

 

Collaborative proposals: In instances where a proposal involves a partner organisation, an alternative validation form is required.  Further information on collaborative provision is available here.


Online and Blended delivery: In instances where a proposal involves online or blended delivery, please refer to the following documents:

Where changes are being made to an existing programme that does not require re-accreditation, different procedures are followed.  Such proposals are submitted to Education Committee for consideration and recommendation using the Revised Academic Offering Form.  Proposals will only be considered once they have been approved by the relevant Faculty or Faculties.

The following summarises the approval pathways for proposals:

Proposal

Approval pathway

Significant restructuring of a programme (major award)

Faculty approval and referral to Education Committee for consideration and recommendation

Development of non-major award where the underlying module learning outcomes are mainly derived from an existing accredited DCU award

Faculty approval and referral to Education Committee for consideration and recommendation

Creation of exit award from existing major award

Faculty approval and referral to Education Committee for consideration and recommendation

Change of delivery mode (from traditional to online or blended delivery)

Faculty approval and referral to Education Committee for consideration and recommendation

Re-titling of existing programme

Faculty approval and reporting to Education Committee on annual basis

Change of delivery mode from part-time to full-time or vice versa

Faculty approval and reporting to Education Committee on an annual basis