Academic Services

Reference Points

Internal and External context for course and programme proposals.

Internal Reference Points

Strategic Context

Course and programme proposals should take account of the relevant internal strategic context.  This may include: a School strategy; a College strategy; the University’s Learning and Teaching Strategy; and/or the University’s Strategic Plan. 

University Curriculum and Regulatory Framework

The University’s regulations provide a framework for courses and programmes, designed to maintain appropriate standards and consistency in certain aspects of the University's curriculum to enable flexibility within and across degree programmes.  The framework allows considerable flexibility in most areas of course and programme design to enable academic staff to develop pedagogies and programme designs appropriate to their discipline and to support innovation in learning and teaching. 

The Curriculum Framework (= Framework for Curricula + Models for Degree Types).  Outline structures for courses and programmes which aim to provide consistency in some key structural aspects of programmes and courses across the University, for example the volume of credits for courses (units of 10, 20, 40, or 60 credits), some key features of programmes and timetabling.  In addition, the University has a standard academic year structure.  Course and programme proposals which do not adhere to the Curriculum Framework or the standard academic year need to be approved at University-level by the Curriculum and Student Progression Committee (as well as at School- and College- level). 

Degree Regulations (= Undergraduate Degree Regulations + Postgraduate Degree Regulations).  High-level documents which outline the regulations that govern the University's degrees and degree-specific regulations by College.   Generally more applicable for programmes and covers aspects such as progression and permissible credit loads, and College degree specific regulations.

Assessment Regulations (= Taught Assessment Regulations + Postgraduate Assessment Regulations for Research Degrees) set out assessment rules which must be followed.  The primary focus of the regulations is on marking/moderation/Boards of Examiners aspects of assessment but a small number of the Regulations will be relevant for course and programme design such as the requirement for taught courses to have at least one formative feedback or feed-forward event.


Accessible and Inclusive Learning PolicySeeks to increase the accessibility and inclusivity of learning and teaching for all students by mainstreaming a small number of adjustments (types of academic support which are recommended for disabled students by the Student Disability Service).  The Institute for Academic Development’s accessible and inclusive learning resource aims to help address some common questions staff in learning and teaching roles may have about making their activities more accessible and inclusive.

Graduate Attributes Framework.  Helps staff and students understand what skills, abilities and mindsets students have opportunity to develop while completing their degree. 

Shared Academic Timetabling Policy and Guidance. Defines University policy, procedures and responsibilities in relation to the production of the shared timetable, use of space for learning and teaching activities and the use of learning and teaching spaces for other activities.  The Policy outlines key information relating to programme and course approval such as teaching times, how the day and week is divided, and that only in exceptional circumstances will core lecture or class slots be scheduled on Wednesday afternoon.

If applicable: Work-based and Placement Learning Policy.  Aims to ensure that academic standards are maintained, support roles and responsibilities are clear, procedures are in place for the approval and monitoring of arrangements, and the University's legal responsibilities have been met. 

External Reference Points

Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF).  The national qualifications framework for Scotland which helps broad comparisons to be made between qualifications and learning.  SCQF levels indicate the level of difficultly of a particular qualification.  Level descriptors outline the general outcomes of learning at SCQF under five broad headings which explain the range of skills and learning that should be achieved at each level.  SCQF credit points are a way of showing how much time it takes, on average, to complete a qualification or learning programme.  The SCQF works on the basis that one credit point represents the amount of learning achieved through a notional 10 hours of learning time which includes everything a learner has to do to achieve the outcomes in a qualification including the assessment procedures.  Courses and programmes at the University should be assigned a level and credit points. 

Quality Assurance Agency Subject Benchmark Statements.  Describe the nature of study and the academic standards expected of graduates in specific subject areas. They show what graduates might reasonably be expected to know, do and understand at the end of their studies.

If applicable: Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) requirements.

Employers and industry.  The Careers Service has supplied practical guidance on this: