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Programme Design and Approval

This section includes information about the Programme Framework for Northumbria Awards (PFNA), Northumbria's process for approving and modifying programmes and modules as well as information about the development and approval of collaborative ventures partners and programmes.

More information for Northumbria Staff can be found here.

Details of Educational Partnerships can be found here.

Programme Framework for Northumbria Awards (PFNA)

Programme Framework for Northumbria Awards (PFNA) is a design framework for all programmes which are run by Northumbria University, which was implemented in 2015-16 to bring a cross-institutional consistency to the structure and delivery of Northumbria programmes and its partners.

The framework sets out clear and consistent criteria for all programmes which ensures that all Northumbria graduates are fully prepared for employment or future study at their point of graduation.

Additional information on PFNA is available here for Northumbria staff.

Approvals Framework

The Approvals Framework brings together the best of the common elements of previous Northumbria frameworks and approvals processes, consolidating established good practice into one approvals framework applicable to the development, approval, and delivery of all Northumbria awards and credit bearing activities, regardless of learning and teaching strategies or location of study.

The Approvals Framework is governed by and operates within Principles for Approval of Northumbria Awards, and is designed to ensure that Northumbria’s approval processes are fit for purpose and in line with the QAA Quality Code for Higher Education.

The approvals process is designed to be flexible and responsive yet robust enough to ensure that new developments (programmes or Educational Partnership arrangements) are only progressed if they meet the agreed criteria at each gateway.

Direct queries should be addressed to:

More details for Northumbria staff can be found here

Student Involvement

As set out in Northumbria's Student Engagement Plan 2015-16, a key objective is to optimise student satisfaction and experience, which can be achieved in part by viewing students as partners in enhancing their learning and higher educational experience.

For programme approvals, this process was started in 2015-16 with the implementation of Programme Framework for Northumbria Awards (PFNA), which enabled students to directly feed into programme design and approval processes for the first time. In 2016-17, this practice will be continued and further enhanced, through the involvement of students in the Approvals Framework process.

Students and members of Students Union Sabbatical team also participate in review panels.

Click here to read more about student involvement in PFNA (2015-16) and Approvals Framework processes.

Programme Specifications

 Programme specifications providing descriptive and detailed information on programmes can be found here.


Programme Changes

All Northumbria University programmes are reviewed annually, and continuous enhancement of our programmes results in changes to programmes in response to external requirements, student feedback and sector developments.  Northumbria University operates a hierarchy of approval proportionate to the degree of change taking place, taking into account student expectations and the need to consult across stakeholders.  Changes are classed as major or minor principally on any possible effect on student learning experience, and while all changes go through quality assurance to ensure that all changes made on the basis of sound rationale and follow policy, those considered as major require a higher level of authority for approval and a need to demonstrate consultation with the students concerned. The University will make every effort to provide programmes as promoted to the entry year, however there may at times be a need to make changes to ensure maintenance of external requirements.

Additional information on PFNA is available here for Northumbria staff.

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