Programme Approval

In this section you will find information on how to develop new programmes, make changes to existing programmes and request derogations from the Academic Regulations.

See the Collaborative programme approval process for details of what form to submit where.

Support Information – initiation phase
The following documents are useful when engaging with the initiation phase for a proposal for a collaboration:

-  Glossary of Terms
-  Collaborative Award Types and Taxonomies
-  Due Diligence and Risk Management
-  Formal Agreements

Support Information – programme development phase
The following documents are useful when engaging with the programme development phase for a collaboration:

-  Programme Structures
-  Admissions
-  Financial Arrangements (inc. Fees)
-  Student Registration and Services
-  Assessment (modules)
-  Award Classification
-  Transcripts/Diploma Supplements, Parchments and Conferring

Support Information – monitoring and review phase
The following documents are useful when engaging with the monitoring and review phase for a collaboration:

-  Annual Monitoring and Periodic Review
-  External Reporting
Collaboration type What is it? Award type
Access/Feeder Programmes Students from Access/Feeder programmes are recognised as having met the admissions criteria for entry to a specified programme. Normally used as recruitment tools.

The partner is responsible for the delivery of the programme.
Admission to programme leading to UCD award.
Accreditation An institution without its own degree awarding powers is given authority by the University to exercise powers for academic provision.

The University remains responsible for the quality of the programmes.
One award provided by UCD as the accrediting institution.
Agent A person or organisation employed by the awarding institution to facilitate a collaboration or the recruitment of students. Normally used as a recruitment pathway into programmes. Admission to programme leading to UCD award.
Articulation The University reviews the components of a programme at another institution and judges if it provides an appropriate academic standard to allow entry to a programme leading to a UCD award. One award provided by UCD.
Co-Tutelle/ Inter-Institutional Co-Supervisory Arrangement When a doctoral student receives joint supervision by UCD and another institution and submits a single doctoral dissertation for a single examination. More than one award provided by more than one institution.
Double Degree Awards (multiple, dual or double) Awarding institutions contribute to two separate awards in instances where there are legal barriers for a partner to participate in a joint award. More than one award provided by more than one institution.
Exchange A reciprocal exchange of staff or students. Students are admitted to and graduate from a home institution, but spend time at a host institution. Includes ERASMUS exchanges. One award provided by the home institution.
Franchising When the University authorises the delivery of its programmes leading to a UCD award to a partner institution.

Serial Franchising is when a partner uses a collaborative programme arrangement as a basis for further collaborations of its own with third parties, but offering the original institution’s awards. UCD does not permit serial franchising.
One award provided by Franchiser institution UCD).
Joint Degree Awards When institutions contribute to a single award from all participating institutions. Students are normally admitted to and receive their awards from a home institution but spend part of the programme at host institutions. One award jointly provided by more than one institution.
Off-Campus Delivery Teaching/supervision is provided by UCD staff, but some or all delivery takes place away from campus. One award provided by UCD.
Validation When the University judges that a programme delivered by another institution is of the equivalent standard as a programme delivered by the University. One award provided by the delivering institution and validated by UCD.
Contact UCD International and UCD Legal for assistance with developing formal agreements. Note that only the UCD President is authorised to sign such agreements.

Agreement Type About
Letter of Intent Indicates intent to investigate future areas for collaboration and often precede the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding.
Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) An agreement between parties which expresses a intended common line of action. It lacks the binding power of a legal contract but provides a framework for future cooperation.
Memorandum of Agreement (MoA) An binding legal agreement between parties which articulates plans to work together on particular projects.
Student Exchange Agreement (MoA) TMoA (Student Exchange) is a reciprocal arrangement (under a fee-waiver agreement) that allows students to study at a partner institution for one or two semesters.
Study Abroad Partner Agreement (MoA) MoA (Study Abroad) provides for a partnership between UCD and a non-EU university where students from the university can study at UCD for a semester or a full year on a fee-paying basis.
Mixed/Hybrid Agreement (MoA) MoA (mixed) provides for a partnership arrangement between UCD and a non-EU university where exchange places are agreed and students can study at UCD on a fee-paying basis.
Co-Tutelle A Co-Tutelle is normally established between UCD and another non-Irish institution. These agreements are developed by the universities with an individual agreement for each student. Students pursue their doctoral studies at two universities under two different supervisors.

See the Inter-Institutional Co-Supervisory Agreements and the Inter-Institutional Co-Supervisory Agreement Template.
High Risk Medium Risk Low Risk
-  UCD Franchise to overseas partner
-  Non-domestic, non-third level institution
-  Large number of students (>100 p.a.)
-  Third party involvement
-  Unfamiliarity with partner
-  Domestic non-third level institution
-  Medium-sized number of students (>50-100 p.a.)
-  Double/Dual Awards
-  Accreditation
-  Validation
-  Off-Campus Delivery
-  Exchange
-  Co-Tutelle
-  Access/Feeder programmes
-  Articulations
-  Small number of students(< 50 p.a.)
-  Prior experience working with partner institution
The relevant Programme Boards and Admissions Officer/Tutor are responsible for determining the admission criteria. The recommendations need to be approved by UPB and published by Admissions. This criteria will be implemented by those who have authority to make applications decisions.

When admissions criteria is agreed jointly between the institutions it is important that the recommendations are routed back to the UCD Programme Board, UPB and Admissions in Registry. This also applies when there is a single lead institution or ‘administrative hub’ and when there is a single portal for admission.

When the student’s home institution is not UCD, the other institution will need to share the data about the students on the collaborative programme (preferably at the point of admission) so that they are registered correctly in UCD.
Fee Rate
The fee rate must be negotiated between the partners and will be added to the student’s record. Where there are no fees payable, a ‘no fee’ rate code is applied to the student’s record. Where fees are payable, the normal UCD fee arrangements apply. Schools are responsible for registering students on collaborative programmes and confirming the correct fee rate.

Fee income distribution
The distribution of fee income must be clearly articulated in the Memorandum of Understanding or Memorandum of Agreement. Where large cohorts of students are taking UCD modules, but few UCD students are going to the other institution, it is necessary to reach a financial arrangement with the partner to ensure that UCD receives appropriate payment. Financial arrangements should be agreed locally together with the College Finance Manager.
Registration Status
The registration status determines fees and access to services and should be negotiated between the partners. Students from other institutions taking modules in UCD are registered as either RE or VE:

-  A student with a registration status of RE is registered as normal and may be required to pay fees or not, depending on the agreement. These students are entitled to a student card and full use of University Services. Students on joint/dual degree programmes are set up the same way as the UCD students
-  A VE registration status is used for external students with another home institution and they are normally not required to pay fees. These students are not entitled to a student card or use of University services, with the exception of UCD Connect and Blackboard

US Study Abroad programmes
-  Students are set up on occasional programme codes and get a UCD Student Card.
-  Students are required to register online
-  Students pay fees to UCD or to their home institution

EU (Erasmus) and non-EU International Exchange
-  Students are set up on occasional programme codes and get a UCD Student Card
-  Students are required to register online
-  Students pay fees to their home institution

Non-EU (Erasmus Mundus) programmes
-  Students are required to register online and get a UCD Student Card.
-  There are different fee arrangements for different students. A comment should be added to the student’s record by the School
-  Students are either set up on occasional programme codes and do not receive a UCD award or they are registered to a UCD programme and receive a UCD award

Joint (or double degree) programmes
-  Students are required to register online and receive a Student Card from both institutions
-  Students are registered to the UCD version of the programme as either registration status RE (fees to UCD) or VE (fees are paid to another institution).
-  Students on joint programmes are students of both institutions, and receive a joint (or double) degree award by both institutions.

Recording non-UCD modules
Where a module is delivered by another institution it should be recorded as follows in Banner:

-  The School’s subject codes will be used
-  The current module coding convention will be used
-  Indicate the institution in the module title. Example: CHEM40240 – Spectroscopic Techniques (TCD);
-  Associate the module with the institution in the Transfer institution field. This can be used to exclude the module from FTE/RAM calculations

Your School administrator will also need to associate the modules to the programme/major via the Curriculum Management System.
There are three options in UCD to capture the module information offered by another institution:

Transfer credit block
-  A single block of credits is attached to the student’s record to represent credits from another institution. The partner institution normally sends the list of completed modules to the UCD Programme coordinator

-  These credits do not show the details of the individual modules that a student has taken. They are grade point and GPA neutral unless the institutions have agreed on a combined grade for the transfer credit block. For combined grades there must be a ‘Grades/Marks Table of Equivalences’ and the grades must be ratified by a UCD Programme Examination Board.
-  Example: If a student spends a semester at the University of Deusto (Spain) they may be registered to a single module called ‘Transfer Credits (Deusto)’ of a value of 30 credits put up against their record

Shadow modules
-  ‘Shadow modules’ are external institutions’ modules that are set up on the UCD system. Collaborative Programme coordinators may request shadow modules through the Curriculum Management System in the same way as normal (the delivering institution should be in the title).
-  The grades for these modules need to be converted to the UCD grading system and entered into Gradebook. The grades will contribute to the student’s GPA. There must be a ‘Grades/Marks Table of Equivalences’ included in the Memorandum of Agreement

-  Example:
BIOL40337 Environmental Biotechnology (Groningen), 10 credits – for a module offered by Rijksuniversiteit Groningen, The Netherlands

External PhD modules
-  A PhD student may take individual modules that are not part of a UCD Doctoral Programme in an external institution pending Graduate School Board approval. The grades can be converted to the UCD grading system or the student receive the credits but no grade. Recommendations of the Graduate School Boards are implemented via the Delegated Authority Decision process
-  Example:
EP601 Terahertz Optics and Long-wave Quasi-optical systems (NUIM), 5 credits – for a module delivered by National University of Ireland, Maynooth

-  Collaborative Programme Coordinators should seek to obtain grades for modules as soon as the module has been completed. If the timing of the partner’s Examination Boards is not identical to that of UCD, please consult the Chair of the Examination Board and the Director of Assessment in Registry

Recording assessment
-  Grades will be recorded in Gradebook by Schools when returned by the partner institution. Grades will only be included in the calculation of semester and stage GPA where there are agreed equivalences and such modules will appear on the student’s transcript

Award Classification
-  See the UCD Academic Regulations (6.3) for information on award classification.

UCD classifies research awards as Pass or Fail. For Collaborative programmes there are two options:

-  The partners agree to use one partner’s system of award classification. If this is not the UCD system, the UCD proposer will need to seek derogation approval from the UPB
-  The partners agree on a table of equivalence that shows how the award classifications correspond to each other. This option permits both institutions to apply their own award classification simultaneously, and both classifications may appear on official documents
Collaborative Transcripts, Diploma Supplements
UCD produces transcripts and Diploma Supplements for all programmes, including collaborative. Joint transcripts and Diploma Supplements include the logos and details of all institutions. These transcripts are produced manually and students cannot use the UCD online document self-service function.

1. Programmes leading to Joint Award
Each partner institution takes responsibility for developing the joint transcript/Diploma Supplement and parchment.

Parchments for joint awards will usually have all the partners’ logos and the production and design of the parchment needs to be negotiated between the partners. UCD parchments are produced by the UCD Conferring Unit and follow a standard format
A student will only receive a parchment with the logos and other details of the institutions they attended. See sample parchment below:

The Conferring Unit is responsible for ensuring that NUI requirements are met. University Secretariat will liaise directly with the UCD Registrar and Deputy President to seek final approval for the parchment.

For joint degree awards there are different options:
-  A single conferring ceremony for all students at a neutral venue. The entity responsible for production of the parchments must be agreed
-  To rotate the responsibility for holding the conferring ceremony for all students
-  Groups of students within the same cohort graduate from different institutions simultaneously (depending on which institution they are attending at the time of completion)

2. Programmes not leading to Joint Award
For programmes not leading to a joint award each institution is normally responsible for its own transcripts. The student can also obtain a transcript with information about the modules taken from any other institution they attended.

The arrangements for the conferring of awards for collaborative programme follow the normal procedures as all other UCD awards.

UCD conferring ceremonies must be approved by the UCD Conferring Unit, follow the normal timeframes and students who are conferred in other institutions will be conferred in UCD in absentia.

Collaborative Programme Data Upload
The Collaborative Programme Upload Process allows for students from other Universities/Organisations to have a record created in Banner via an upload facility. Data for upload must be presented using a spreadsheet in a particular format. Contact for more information

Current usage includes:
-  Institute of Banking
-  Institute of Public Administration
-  University of Ulster
-  Study Group Foundation
-  Global Schoolroom


-  Contact your School/College for assistance with developing your proposal
-  Contact UCD Teaching and Learning for support with curriculum development and design
-  Contact for assistance with completing the forms or to submit a proposal which no longer requires UPB approval
-  Contact for guidance on regulations or to submit a proposal to UMT or UPB
-  Contact for international partnership queries