Academic Policy & Governance (APG) is a unit formed from the former Senate and Academic Collaboration Offices. (See APG Welcome page for further information.)

Periodic Subject Review (PSR)

Periodic Subject Review (PSR) is one of the main ways by which the University assures itself of the quality of the provision of our degree programmes. Reviews consider a single or combination of related subjects and focus on:

  • teaching;
  • learning and assessment;
  • quality enhancement and assurance.

Management, research, and resource issues are considered as they relate to these areas. PSRs are an opportunity to reflect and critically evaluate our provision, through a positive and enhancement focussed process.

Overview of PSR

The PSR review covers the following aspects:

  • strategic approach to enhancing learning and teaching;
  • enhancing and supporting the student learning experience;
  • enhancement in learning and teaching;
  • quality assurance and maintaining and reviewing academic standards;
  • approaches to identifying and sharing good practice.

The aims of the PSR are to provide support to the Subject/School by enhancing its taught provision through:

  • Evaluation
  • Discussion, and
  • Reporting


Evaluation of:

  • the relevance of programme aims and intended learning outcomes for each programme to each other and to the overall aims of the Subject's provision; the effectiveness of teaching, learning and assessment methods in meeting the intended learning outcomes for each programme;
  • the correlation of provision with the relevant QAA Subject Benchmark Statements, the Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework and other elements of the QAA’s ‘Quality Code’;
  • the currency and validity of each programme in the light of developing knowledge within the discipline, and the application of that knowledge in practice;
  • the effectiveness of the measures in place to assure the quality of provision and maintain standards;
  • recent and proposed enhancements to the quality of the student learning experience in taught provision;
  • the effectiveness of how the Subject/School engages students in developing teaching, learning and assessment practice.



Discussion with the Subject/School, its staff, students and stakeholders on:

  • the quality of teaching, learning and assessment, and learning resources;
  • the Subject/School’s approach to the enhancement of provision, including recent developments and future plans;
  • the quality of the student learning experience, and ways in which it might be enhanced;
  • ways of promoting student motivation and effective learning.



Reporting the outcome of the PSR review covering:

  • an evaluation of the quality of the provision under review, including a statement on the Panel’s conclusions on the currency and validity of the programmes offered;
  • an evaluation of the Subject/School's procedures for assuring the standards of awards and the quality of provision;
  • an evaluation of the Subject/School’s approach to the enhancement of the student learning experience in taught provision;
  • an evaluation of how effectively the Subject/School engages with students in developing teaching, learning and assessment practice, including preparation for the PSR process;
  • an evaluation of collaborative provision (if appropriate);
  • an evaluation of student mobility and work based and placement learning;
  • the identification of good practices for dissemination across the University, as appropriate;
  • recommendations for action to address any identified weaknesses and to further strengthen provision and thereby further enhance the provision of teaching, learning and assessment.


Outline of the PSR Process

The University of Glasgow PSR process has been designed to ensure that the principles from the UK Quality Code for Higher Education are addressed. Our PSRs all follow the same key features:

  • The preparation and submission of a Reflective Analysis (RA) and supporting documentation by the School.
  • Review of the documentation by a review panel whose membership includes internal and academic staff and external subject specialists.
  • Student participation in all stages of the review process.
  • A review panel visit with a thematic agenda.
  • An informal meeting of the Student Panel member with class representatives of the School or Subject being reviewed. The summary of which is discussed with the students by the panel.  
  • A brief survey will be distributed to staff prior to the review. This provides the Panel with a sense of how staff across the Subject/School views the provision of, and support for, teaching and those involved in teaching. 
  • An outcome report which confirms revalidation of the programmes for a further six-year period and highlights commendations, best practice and enhancement recommendations which can include recommendations for university wide support services as well as for the School and College. 
  • Provision of a progress report (by the School and other services named in the recommendations) to Academic Standards Committee at six months from the receipt of the finalised report.
  • Further progress reports as deemed necessary by Academic Standards Committee.
  • Approval by the University Academic Standards Committee.

The duration of the review visit is between one and two days depending on the size and complexity of the Subject(s) and the provision. All reviews involve a private, pre-visit meeting of internal members of the Review Panel.

Frequency and Timing of Reviews

There is a rolling schedule of reviews and Schools/Subjects should normally expect a PSR every 6 years. The schedule is approved in consultation with the Vice Principal (Learning & Teaching), Deans (Learning & Teaching) and Heads of School.

Reviews are normally undertaken at School level, but due to the interdisciplinary nature of some Schools, this is not always practical. Heads of School are invited to advise on appropriate groupings for reviews. The schedule aims to distribute the reviewing load in any one year across Colleges and takes account, where possible, issues such as joint degrees and articulation with external accreditation timetables.  

Reviews are not normally held at the beginning or end of the academic session or during examination periods. For this reason, the reviews are typically held in the period December to March when students are available to meet with the Review Panel. The APG consults with School/Subjects over suitable dates.

Summary of the Review Process and Follow-up

TimescaleActivity ahead of the Review
August Vice Principal (Learning & Teaching) meets with Head and other relevant staff from the School/Subject to discuss arrangements for PSR.
- 6 weeks School/Subject submits the Reflective Analysis (RA) and supporting documentation to APG. (When a Review is at Subject level, the Head of School should be provided with the RA by the Subject Area).
- 4 weeks Review of the RA and documentation by the Panel (some further information may be sought at this stage). Vice Principal & Head of College and Dean (L&T), are also sent a copy of the RA and any commentary received is forwarded to the Subject/School in advance of the review visit. 
- 4 weeks Clerk to the Review Panel to liaise with School/Subject to establish suitable timetable for review visit.
- 1-2 weeks Internal Panel members hold an briefing pre-meeting and Head of School/Subject provided with a note of the main topics for discussion at the review visit (some further information may be sought at this stage).


TimescaleThe Review Visit
  Over the day(s), the Panel meets with the Head of School/Subject(s), Dean (Learning and Teaching), students, staff, GTAs and early career staff. At final meeting of the visit, the Convener of the Panel will give an indication of main areas likely to be included in the report to Head of School/Subject and the College/Dean (L&T). These can be discussed with colleagues.
  Activity following the review visit
+ 1-2 weeks The Convener and panel Clerk meet with the Head of School/Subject to discuss the draft recommendations.
+ 4 weeks The Convener receives the draft report for comment with one week to respond.
+ 6 weeks The Panel receive the draft report for comment with one week to respond.
+ 8 weeks The draft report is provided to the Head of School/Subject and the Vice Principal & Head of College and Dean (L&T) to check for factual inaccuracies and to ensure recommendations and commendations are transparent. The draft report is submitted to ASC for scrutiny and approval.
+ 10 weeks Any feedback received from the School or College is subject to approval by the Panel Convener. The report is finalised and provided to the School/Subject for wider circulation. Action on the recommendations should be initiated by the School/Subject and others named within the report highlighted.
+ 6mths from date of ASC meeting (ASC can request an earlier response if action deemed urgent) Provision of a progress report on recommendations by the School/Subject and others to be provided to ASC. The School/Subject should also report on the steps taken to feedback to students on the outcomes of the review and progress made in addressing the recommendations.
+ 1 year Further progress reports/updates may be requested by ASC, if deemed necessary.



Periodic Subject Review Reports are public documents. Reports are produced in full and in summary (intended primarily for students). Schools or Subjects are also required to produce a response to the recommendations in the report. The Reports, Summary Reports and Responses for the previous years Periodic Subject Reviews will be available below shortly:


Full Report Response
Academic & Digital Development Report  
Dental School Report  
Chemistry Report  
Film & Television Studies, Theatre Studies, and the Centre for Cultural Policy Research Report  
History Report  

Reports and responses for previous year (since 2002-03) are available here. Please note Periodic Subject Review was previously known as Departmental Programmed of Teaching, Learning and Assessment (DPTLA) Review).

Additional Information

Periodic Subject Reviews are governed by the Academic Quality Framework. The framework is supplemented by the following guidance information:

Any general enquiries in relation to Periodic Subject Review can be made to Mhairi Evans or Janet Fleming.