Quality Manual

External Advice in Programme Approval

External guidance must be sought by Schools when developing new programmes. This would consist of guidance from some or all of the following groups:

• external advisers who provide relevant information and guidance on current developments in the discipline(s).

• academic peers from other disciplines within the institution

• any programme partners, for example, institutions with which there are collaborative arrangements

• students, either studying on the programme/related programmes or with an appropriate representative role

• graduates from the programme/related programmes/School

• appropriate PSRBs

• external sources and advisers who provide relevant information and guidance on current developments including, for example, in the workplace.

External advice must be sought from an academic peer(s) ‘external to the institution’ when Schools are developing new programmes.  Where a new programme is aimed at preparing students for a particular profession evidence of consultation with employers and/or professional bodies should also be provided through the completion of External Advice.  Comments from the external adviser should be submitted along with the Business Case and the Programme Specification for consideration by the relevant Faculty Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Quality and Standards Committee.

The external adviser should be asked to comment on:

  • the existence of a market for the new programme
  • the likelihood of the programme recruiting to stated targets
  • the reasonableness of the resources required for the programme
  • the validity and relevance of the proposed programme with reference to external reference points (such as Subject Benchmark Statements)
  • the definition and appropriateness of standards in accordance with the level and title of the award
  • the effectiveness of the curriculum and of assessment in relation to the intended learning outcomes
  • the relationship between the proposed curriculum and current research in the same area
  • the overall coherence and intellectual integrity of the programme. 


A template is available for the provision of external advice.


Revised 14 November 2014

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