Policy for Closing or Suspending a Programme of Study
Closing or Suspending a programme
1. This policy sets out the University procedures for closing or suspending any programme of study, in order to protect the interests of students, applicants, and the University. A School many not close or suspend a programme on its own authority, because of the contractual liabilities between students and applicants and the University.
The University will automatically close any programme which has not had a student registered upon it for three years and for which there are no outstanding applications, unless the School is able to demonstrate likely future recruitment of significant numbers of students onto that programme.
2. Obtaining approval from Quality and Standards Committee
1. The recommendation to close or suspend a programme must be made by the administering School for that programme. In the case of joint, major/minor, and interdisciplinary courses, the School must obtain the agreement of the partner School(s) to the closure or suspension. The recommendation to close or suspend must be made to Quality & Standards Committee.
2. Where there are no students registered on the programme being closed or suspended, and there are no applicants who have accepted offers on the course, a written recommendation signed by the Head of School to close or suspend a course will be automatically accepted on behalf of the Quality & Standards Committee.
3. In all other cases, the recommendation to close or suspend a programme must cover the following areas:
• The rationale for closure or suspension (see 3 below)
• The proposed arrangements for students currently registered on the course (see 4 below)
• The proposed arrangements for applicants who have accepted offers of a place on the course (see 5 below).
Quality & Standards Committee will only accept the recommendation if the rationale is sufficiently strong to justify the disruption to students and applicants, and if the arrangements for students and applicants satisfy the requirements set out below.
3. Conditions under which a programme may close
1. The following may be regarded as sufficient cause for closing or suspending a programme:
• The demand for the programme is too small to cover the cost of delivery.
• Staff involved in teaching the programme are temporarily or permanently unavailable and it is unduly difficult or impossible to replace them.
• Updating of the School's curriculum has led to a change in the range of programmes the School wishes to provide.
Where a School seeks to close a financially viable, successful, or strategically important programme for any reason, the recommendation should only be submitted after the Head of School has discussed the proposed course of action with the PVC for Academic Planning.
4. Arrangements for current students
1. Current students must be allowed to complete their designated period of registration on the programme unless they give their explicit written consent to the contrary. Such consent must not be sought until a closure or suspension recommendation has been agreed (subject to the students' consent) by Quality & Standards Committee. Where a programme is being closed to new entrants only, the School's proposed arrangements for students currently registered on the programme (including those whose registration is suspended but have not yet completed the programme) must encompass the following:
• Current students should be informed of their options in regard to transferring to another programme within the University or to another institution.
• The standard of provision to current students must be maintained throughout their period of registration.
• The previously stated learning outcomes of the programme must still be achievable by current students, even if the range of module choices is smaller because of staffing reductions.
Such arrangements should not be activated until a closure/suspension recommendation has been accepted by Quality & Standards Committee. The views of current students on the proposed arrangements should, however, be sought by the School and included with the recommendation to Quality & Standards Committee. The only exception to this is on programmes where none of the current students would be affected by the closure.
5. Arrangements for prospective students
1. All communications with applicants on the following matters must be undertaken by the Admissions Office or equivalent. Applicants who have accepted offers should not be contacted until a closure/suspension recommendation has been accepted on behalf of Quality & Standards Committee. These applicants should then be informed of their options in regard to transferring their application to another programme within the University or to another institution. Applicants who have been made offers, but have not yet accepted them, may however be contacted at an earlier stage to be informed that a closure/suspension recommendation has been made. Such applicants should be told that the offer of a place is suspended until a decision has been made and will be withdrawn if the recommendation is accepted. UCAS should be notified by informing the University UCAS correspondent when the closure/suspension recommendation has been accepted on behalf of Quality & Standards Committee.
6. Amending University publications / marketing material
1. Once a closure/suspension recommendation has been accepted, the School must ensure all necessary amendments are made to School and University publications and Web sites.
A template form for requesting closure or suspension of a programme can be found here.
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