Create a New Course

Information and resources connected with the approval processes for the introduction of new programmes and the major modification of existing courses

Information for staff

The development of new modules and programmes should follow the processes set out in the Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Code of Practice for the Development, Approval and Modification of Taught Provision (PDF).


The University operates a two stage development and approval process for new academic provision. The first stage is to develop a business case and the second stage is to develop an academic case. The first stage is the remit of the relevant College and the central University Fee Setting and Programme Development Committee, and the second stage is the remit of the Academic Policy Committee, delegated where appropriate to Programme Approval Panels.

Where a programme involves working with a partner external to the University, there are additional processes of approval set out in the Code of Practice for the Management of Higher Education Provision with Others.  Advice on these additional requirements and the operation of the Code can be obtained from the Quality Office.

Development of a Business Case

New programme teams are encouraged to consult with their College Programme Development Group. Details of the Group can be obtained from the relevant College Academic Advisor in the Quality Office.

The first formal step in the approval process is for the relevant College Business Group (or equivalent) to approve the business case for the programme. Development of the business case should take place in conjunction with the College Accountant, the Marketing and Recruitment teams and the Planning Office. The following additional offices should be consulted where relevant:

  • International Office (for advice on potential international markets and recruitment)
  • Registry (for advice on creation of the programme within the student records system)
  • Leicester Learning Institute (for advice on pedagogy and assessment methods)
  • Quality Office (for regulatory and process advice)
  • Library (to confirm the learning resources available for the programme)
  • Career Development Service (to consider how to integrate employability skills within the programme)

The business case should be completed using the standard Programme Development and Approval form (sections A and B) and also the income and expenditure spreadsheet (Appendix III). This should be submitted to the Secretary to the College Business Group. If College level approval is granted, further consideration may be required by the Fee Setting and Programme Development Committee (FSPDC), in line with the process set out in the Code of Practice. Advice on whether FSPDC consideration is required can be obtained from the Secretary (Imran Awan - or the relevant College Academic Advisor in the Quality Office.

Academic Case

Once the business case is approved the proposal can move to the academic approval phase.  There are individual College processes for approval of academic cases before submission to a Programme Approval Panel, and advice on these can be provided by the relevant College Academic Advisor.

Programme Approval Panel

The Panel's role is to ensure that the proposed course meets the required academic standards of the University and the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education (QAA). In doing so, the Panel will scrutinise aspects of the course such as:

  • the course aims;
  • the management and delivery of the course;
  • the curriculum and assessment methods and the learning outcomes associated with the course;
  • progression opportunities;
  • research supervision arrangements;
  • the mechanisms for student support;
  • the course documentation.

Preparation for the panel meeting

To prepare for the panel meeting, the programme proposal team should:

  • - look at the Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Code of Practice on Programme Development and Approval (PDF);
  • - consult the programme approval secretary (Kathryn Brennan, or 0116 252 3639):
      • to request the course approval is included in the PAP schedule;
      • for advice about the preparation of documents needed for the programme approval and the format of the panel meeting (See Programme Approval Documentation below);
  • - complete the required programme approval documentation and submit it to the programme approval secretary by the required deadline.

The panel meeting

The meeting will take place on an appropriate date in the programme approval schedule. At the panel meeting, the panel will identify any outstanding academic issues with the proposal and discuss with the proposal team how to resolve them.

After the panel meeting

  • Creation and circulation of written report: the panel meeting secretary (a member of the Quality Office) will produce a written report of the programme approval panel meeting. The proposal team will be supplied the report once it has been approved by the panel;
  • Address conditions/recommendations: the proposal team must respond to any panel conditions or recommendations contained in the report and finalise the course documentation (programme and module specifications and, for undergraduate courses, a skills matrix).
  • Panel chair review: the proposal team submit their written response and the finalised course documentation to the panel meeting secretary for review by the secretary and panel chair;
  • Formal PAP approval: when satisfied the course meets the necessary University and QAA academic standards, the panel chair will endorse the course for introduction.  The Secretary will then forward this for final approval by the Academic Policy Committee The secretary will confirm the sign-off with the proposal team and relevant head of department as well as relevant individuals in Marketing, Admissions and the Registry or Graduate Office;

Programme approval documentation

Document Level Resources

Section C of the Programme Approval Form
(sections A and B will have been completed as part of the business planning process)

All Word Programme Approval Form (Word)

Programme specification

Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Guidelines (PDF) | Word Template (Word template)
Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Guidelines (PDF) | Word Template (Word template)
Module specification


  • Word Template (Word) (for 2017/18 onwards)
    Contact your College contact in the Registry or email if you encounter technical difficulties in using the module specification template. Email Student Records if you need to complete a module specification template for 2016/17.
  • Module content description (free format)
    For the purposes of programme approval, module content descriptions should include a summary of the specific academic content of each of the modules to be delivered within the programme.
Module materials DL only

Complete learning and teaching materials for one module on the programme.

Contact for details

Skills matrix Undergraduate

Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Guidelines (PDF) | Excel Template (Excel)

Postgraduate Optional but preferred

Once the programme approval process has been completed and all issues have been resolved, the proposal team can move to Course and Module Set Up.

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