Course Approval 2020-21


Schools/Research Institutes have responsibility for approving all new courses, as well as all course changes and withdrawals.

  • This will be monitored by the Academic Standards Committee (ASC) and the College Boards of Studies.
  • The College Boards of Studies are required to audit annually and report to ASC on course approval activity by their Schools/Research Institutes. 
  • School Learning & Teaching Committees should include two members of the College Board of Studies from another School.

Covid-19: Course approval process for delivery for academic session 2020-21 was as follows:

This revised approach was drawn up with reference to current QAA guidance: Preserving Quality and Standards Through a Time of Rapid Change which recognises the need for an alternative approach in current circumstances noting that quality assurance processes should not block change and should be proportionate and flexible.

Blanket Approval for temporary* adjustments for 2020-21

  • Changes to teaching and learning may be required as consequences of transfer to remote/blended delivery in 2020-21. Where these temporary changes do not fundamentally digress from the original aims and ILOs of the course, they may be processed at school level, with local documentation, and do not require entry into PIP. 
  • Changes to the assessments may be required as consequences of transfer to remote/blended delivery in 2020-21. Where these temporary changes do not fundamentally affect the ability to assess the original aims and ILOs of the course, they may be processed at school level, with local documentation, and do not require entry into PIP.

*It is recognised that Schools/RIs may wish to retain changes introduced during 2020-21 for future years, or to retain them in an adapted form. Any changes that are to continue into 2021-22 will need to be submitted for approval under standard processes in the spring of 2021 – see below.

Schools and RIs may select the mechanism by which course changes are approved which may involve agreement on changes to multiple courses simultaneously. Changes must be documented and disseminated to students and external examiners, and also professional bodies where necessary. (Please note that, where courses are delivered to students coming from a Glasgow International College (GIC) pathway, information on changes should be shared with GIC as early as possible to allow this cohort of students to be advised). In managing the introduction of adjustments to delivery for next academic year it is recognised that Schools and RIs may need to prioritise courses scheduled for delivery in semester 1 and therefore information on the detail of changes for semester 2 may follow later. However, students must be advised in a timely way of the courses on offer and kept informed of which aspects of further detail will be available at a later point.

Documentation and Data Capture

Course specifications will not be updated, but all those published in the online catalogue will include a statement indicating that adjustments will be made to course delivery due to the Covid-19 pandemic and referring directly to Schools for further detail. This change to the catalogue will be made centrally; there is no requirement for Schools to action this.

Schools are required to ensure that all course documents (such as handbooks / Moodle course information) are updated to include details of revised delivery and any associated changes, such as those made to assessment.  

Colleges are requested to produce a summary of changes to remote/blended delivery and associated changes (e.g. to learning & teaching methods or assessment) that have been made for submission to the Senate Office by 1 February 2021.1

Detailed information for central processes, such as timetabling, course set up on MyCampus, and for external reporting requirements (e.g. HESA) will need to be gathered. Schools will receive instruction on this in due course.


1 This request is now no longer being implemented - instead this information should be reported as part of the Annual Monitoring process for 2020-21 and included in School Annual Monitoring Summaries - further detail is available here.

Withdrawal and Suspension

It is recognised that in revising the delivery of courses there may be the need to rationalise provision in some areas and therefore not all courses may run during 2020-21. In order to facilitate arrangements on central systems – timetabling and MyCampus - it is necessary to formally withdraw* any such courses on PIP.

The standard PIP process should be followed; however, the need for consultation beyond that which is internal to the University where the course is accessed by students across degree pathways has been waived due to permitted exception – “where the course is being withdrawn due to unforeseen circumstances” if the withdrawal is part of the reconfiguration of teaching in response to Covid-19.

Where possible, courses not due to run in 2020-21 should be withdrawn on PIP by Monday 13 July 2020 at the latest.


* The withdrawal process should also be used where this is expected to be temporary - i.e. for suspension, as the ‘un-withdraw’ option can be followed when a course is to be resumed.


Other Course Changes for 2020-21

Changes for 2020-21 and beyond that are unrelated to Covid-19 adjustments should be processed through PIP in the standard way – approval is required by 31 July 2020 (proposals can be entered into the system later than the normal deadline of 30 April).