Articulation: a process whereby all students who satisfy academic criteria on one programme are automatically entitled (on academic grounds) to be admitted with advanced standing to a subsequent stage of a programme of a degree-awarding body. These arrangements, which are subject to formal agreements between the parties, normally involve credit accumulation and transfer, so that credit achieved for the approved study at the first provider is transferred to contribute to the programme and award completed at the second (the degree-awarding body). The two separate components are the responsibility of the respective organisations delivering them but, together, contribute to a single award (of the degree-awarding body). Students normally have a contractual relationship with the organisation which delivers the first component and subsequently with the degree awarding body. [1]

If students articulate to Glasgow they will not normally receive an award from the partner institution but from the University of Glasgow once the final years of study at Glasgow have been completed and the requirements for the award of the Glasgow degree have been met.  

Typically, an undergraduate student will study for 1 or 2 years at another institution and enter the University of Glasgow for a further 2 years or 3 years to qualify with a Glasgow degree.  The University reviews the programme of the other organisation to see if it is at an appropriate level and that the curriculum content is comparable to the programme offered at Glasgow to which the student will ‘articulate’.  This is to ensure that at transition from the partner programme students are suitably prepared for their further study at Glasgow.  It also ensures that students who qualify with a Glasgow degree have undertaken comparable work to students who have studied at Glasgow throughout their degree programme.

In all cases there is a requirement that the student undertakes a minimum of 50% of the credit associated with a Glasgow degree at the University of Glasgow. 

[1] Definition drawn from QAA Quality Code Chapter B10: Managing higher education provision with others

Key Requirements

Key requirements for establishing an articulation arrangement are:

  • A mapping of the curriculum delivered by the partner to the University of Glasgow programme.  Incoming students should have completed a curriculum that will have prepared them sufficiently to move into the University of Glasgow programme and to participate alongside their peers without recourse to additional support or courses of study. If there are gaps in the coverage of the partners curriculum then additional provision may be put in place if the gaps are minor. For example, sometimes there is a requirement that students participate in a University of Glasgow Summer School programme. 
  • There must be sufficient capacity to accept students within defined limits, to maintain fair choice in the relevant courses and to provide supervision of any projects or dissertations (as applicable).
  • Fee levels should be agreed and these should be standard fees, subject to established discounting policies at College and University level (where applicable).
  • Entry requirements must be agreed.
  • The partner should be aware of statutory and regulatory obligations placed on the University of Glasgow and the implications of these e.g. data protection, freedom of information, quality assurance.  The ACO can provide advice on these points. 

The following questions might prove helpful in considering the key issues surrounding a new articulation arrangement:

  • Is there a market or demand for this type of collaboration? Is there evidence that this collaboration can attract high quality students in sufficient numbers?
  • Are students at the partner institution capable and willing to pay the fees at Glasgow? How do we know?
  • Is there sufficient compatibility between Glasgow’s mission and strategic objectives and those of the partner institution?
  • Is the partner involved in any other collaborations that might compete with the one being proposed? For instance, is the partner is about to enter a similar arrangement with another institution that may overshadow the arrangement with Glasgow?
  • What is the proposed structure of the articulation?
  • Is the curriculum structure at both institutions compatible and is there sufficient alignment of curriculum content to ensure cohesion and appropriate support for student progression within the overall programme of study?
  • What will the entry requirements be at the point of articulation?
  • What will be the minimum and maximum number of students?
  • How does the partner envisage meeting the recruitment targets for the programme?
  • Does the country of the proposed partner have its own quality assurance system? How about the institution itself? 
  • Have there been changes to the academic standing or credibility of the partner? For example, has there been a significant dip in their rankings?
  • What will the arrangements for the transfer of student information be? Are the procedures in line with the requirements of Data Protection legislation? Is the partner willing to sign a Data Processing Agreement subject to UK law and the jurisdiction of the UK Courts?
  • Is the partner aware of any general admission criteria of Glasgow, for example English language and visa requirements?
  • Is there mutual understanding of who the degree awarding body is and what kind of degree will be awarded? 
  • Are there likely to be any changes to the curriculum at the partner institution (or at Glasgow) over the duration of the articulation arrangement? If so, how will these changes be managed?
  • What are the capacity implications regarding student accommodation or learning and teaching space?
  • Has interdependence on other University or College resources been considered? For instance, regarding teaching facilities or other space being used for the duration of this collaboration?
  • What is the current capacity and capability of the School, Subject or staff directly involved with the proposed collaboration?

Benefits and Risks

Potential benefits:

  • Recruitment of additional students to an existing UoG programme.
  • Increased fee income.
  • Internationalising the student cohort and increased peer-learning opportunities.
  • Potential for increased and expanded collaborative activity with another institution.
  • Can raise the profile of both institutions.
  • Opportunity for students from FE institutions (HN pathways) to transfer to University, in some cases.

Potential risks:

  • Potential differing motivations regarding the articulation arrangements between the institutions, i.e. partner may wish to lever the articulation arrangement in terms of marketing to potential students or drive overall student numbers, whereas Glasgow may have a greater focus on quality of students and their performance.
  • Difficulty of managing occurring risks when motivations are not aligned sufficiently.
  • Students are not well prepared for study at Glasgow resulting in a drain in resources due to the level of support required. 
  • Lack of clarity around respective roles and responsibilities.
  • Students not sufficiently motivated to articulate due to cost of living, fees or other external factors not foreseen at the outset.