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How long does it take for a new course or module to be approved?

The diagram of course and module approval routes shows the formal University academic committees that scrutinise and approve new modules and courses. With respect to courses, if a proposal is straightforward and committees approve it at the first opportunity, the whole approval process takes a matter of weeks. The first University committee in the chain is the Faculty Graduate Studies Committee or Undergraduate Studies Committee/Sub-Faculty. These usually meet in the second, third or fourth week of each term. You need to send paperwork in a few weeks in advance, so the secretaries have time to arrange the copying and circulation of papers. These committees given final approval on some modules, and make recommendations on new and amended courses. Course proposals then go to the Board of Graduate or Undergraduate Studies (BGS/BUGS) for final approval. These Boards usually meet in the third and seventh weeks of each term. So if you send in the paperwork for a new course at the start of term, and it's a relatively straightforward proposal, it should be approved within two months.

There are, of course, exceptions. A course which involves collaboration with a partner institution, distance learning, or raises issues of principle, will need to be considered by more committees (inevitably!).

  • Distance learning courses are considered by the Collaborative, Flexible and Distributed Learning Sub-Committee (CFDLSC) in addition to the"normal" committees - but as CFDLSC slots in between the faculty-level committee and BUGS/BGS, this adds no extra time to the whole process.
  • Collaborative courses and modules also go to CFDLSC, which then makes a recommendation to AQSC and, through them, to Senate. So new collaborative courses do take a little longer to gain approval - Senate usually meets in the last week of term or the week after.
  • A course which raises issue of principle might be considered by the Faculty Board and/or AQSC, and maybe even Senate, in addition to the "normal" committees - so again this might add a few weeks to the overall process.

If any of the committees involved don't approve the proposed new course or module, it may be approved "subject to (minor) amendments" - once you've made these, they can often then be approved/signed off by the Chair of the relevant committee. Or the committee may decide that your proposal requires more thorough reworking, in which case you're likely to need to send it to the next full meeting of the committee, which will usually be one term later.

Don't forget that the first part of the course approval process is gaining the support of your department - and this can sometimes take longer than you might expect! 

Module proposals are considered by the relevant department committee. How long module approval takes will therefore depend on the frequency with which those committees meet and whether approval is straightforward.