Create a New Course

Information and resources connected with the approval processes for the introduction of new programmes. The information on this page also applies to the major modification of existing courses.

Information for staff

The development of new modules and programmes and the major modification of existing ones 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 an early business case and a full business case and the second stage is to develop an academic case.

The first stage is the remit of the relevant College and the second stage is the remit of  the Quality and Standards Sub-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.

1. Development of a Business Case

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

The first formal stage in the approval process is for the relevant College Advisory Group (or equivalent) to approve the full 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 Advisory Group.

2. Academic Case

Once the business case is approved the proposal can move to the academic approval phase. Firstly College consideration at PPDG is required, before submission to a Programme Approval Panel (PAP), and advice on these can be provided by the relevant College Academic Advisor.

Go to: Programme approval Panel - PAP role | Preparation for the PAP | The meeting | Afterwards |
Programme approval: Core documentation | Additional resources

Programme Approval Panel (PAP) role

The Programme Approval 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 PAP 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: Core documentation below);
  • complete the required programme approval documentation and submit it to the programme approval secretary by the required deadline.

The panel meeting: timing and discussion

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 (including Programme Approval Response Form) 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 Quality and Standards Sub-Committee. The PAP 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;

Programme approval - core documentation

DocumentLevelTemplates and guidance

Programme Approval Form:  Section C
(sections A and B are completed as part of the business planning process)



Programme specification

Module specification


  • Word Template (Word) (for 2017/18 onwards)
    Email if you encounter technical difficulties in using the module specification template.
  • 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
Skills matrix


Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Guidelines (PDF) | Excel Template (Excel)
Optional but preferred
Response All Programme Approval Response Form (Word)

Additional Resources

The Assessment and Feedback Lifecycle

The Leicester Learning Institute has created a set of resources to support good assessment design.

Learn about the various steps in the assessment and feedback cycle, the considerations you should take into account and how to follow good practice for that step.

Adobe Acrobat (PDF) Guide to writing Intended Learning Outcomes (PDF)

Read this Guide by the Leicester Learning Institute for information about what ILOs are and for help with phrasing them in a measurable format
Guidance on embedding transferable skills Read this Guide by the Career Development Service for help with embedding transferable skills into the curriculum
Checklist for accessible curriculum design Read this Guide by the Leicester Learning Institute for help with embedding transferable skills into the curriculum
Adobe Acrobat (PDF) iMSc creation from an existing MSc (PDF) Guidance on the approval route when seeking to create a new intercalated masters from an existing MSc

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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