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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) is a design framework for all programmes which are run by Northumbria University, which was implemented from 2015-16 onwards to bring a cross-institutional consistency to the structure and delivery of Northumbria programmes and those delivered at 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.

The framework design process is briefly summarised here: 

Additional information on PFNA is available here for Northumbria staff.

The Approvals Framework consolidates 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 (whether programmes or Educational Partnership arrangements) are only progressed if they meet the agreed criteria at each gateway.

More details for Northumbria staff can be found here

Northumbria's Student Engagement Plan contains a key objective to optimise student satisfaction and experience, which is achieved in part by ensuring that students are considered as partners in terms of enhancing their learning experience.

Specifically for programme approvals, this is achieved through the active involvement of students within our Approvals Framework process. Student Reviewers are regularly engaged in programme approval activity to provide a student perspective; and students also work with members of the Students' Union Sabbatical team to participate in review panels.

Click here to read more about student involvement in Programme Framework for Northumbria Awards and the Approvals Framework processes.

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


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 and risk taking place, taking into account student expectations and the need to consult across stakeholders.  Changes are assessed principally on any possible effect on student learning experience and quality standards, 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 higher risk require a higher level of authority for sign off and a need to demonstrate information, consultation or consent with applicants and/or students impacted upon. 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 regulatory requirements.

Additional information on PFNA is available here for Northumbria staff.

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