The aim of accreditation is to satisfy an external Professional, Statutory and Regulatory Body (PSRB) that learning and achievement by students at the University meets national professional benchmarks. The award of an accredited degree may allow a graduate to qualify for a particular type of employment and, in some cases, gain exemption from PSRB examinations.The University therefore recognises accreditation of academic programmes by PSRBs as an important dimension of academic standards, providing an external reference point, and adding value in terms of employability.
Accreditation is essentially a discipline-related matter, with procedures defined by the PSRB. The primary organisational responsibility therefore rests with the relevant Dean or Programme Leader liaising with the PSRB contact. Certain PSRBs welcome the opportunity to conduct their accreditation events jointly with he University as part of the periodic programme review process. Such arrangements should be agreed in advance with the Quality and Academic Standards (QAS) office.
The Quality and Academic Standards Committee (QASC) has oversight of accreditation at the institutional level. All PSRB accreditation reports and the School responses to the reports must be submitted to the QAS office for consideration by the QASC.
The Dean (or their nominee) and the School Board (or designated committee) should maintain oversight of PSRB accreditation and follow-up actions.
The report from the PSRB accrediting team should be considered in a similar fashion to a report arising from programme review:
- The School Board (or designated committee) should receive the report, discuss it, and consider an action plan in relation to conditions or recommendations contained in the report
- The Dean (or their nominee) should submit a copy of the accreditation report plus the School response to the report to the QAS office for consideration by the QASC
- The Dean (or their nominee) should follow-up any issues as appropriate
- If the accrediting board's recommendation is that the programme is not accredited, or that a resubmission is required, the Director of Academic and Corporate Governance and the Vice-Principal (Learning and Teaching) should be informed as soon as possible. The Dean should determine a plan of action, consulting with the Vice-Principal (Learning and Teaching) as required
Outcomes of accrediting board report(s) should be taken into account in the Annual Programme Review; the School Learning and Teaching Enhancement Report; and, where the processes are separate, in the Periodic Programme Review Reflective Analysis.
Where accreditation is sought as part of the programme approval process, the School should consider PSRB accreditation criteria as a primary external reference point invite representatives from PSRBs to be members of approval boards; and consider joint University/PSRB approval events, subject to the approval of the Dean (or their nominee).
Particular care should be taken to ensure clarity of any information concerning accreditation that is made public, or made available to students or prospective students. This should include clarification of the following:
- the name of the PSRB
- the named programme and award, clarifying whether non-honours or honours, and if honours, any requirements regarding classification
- the level/nature of accreditation - using the PSRBs wording
- the cohorts of students and graduates who would be eligible for an accredited award
- any conditions or restrictions on accreditation, e.g. any modules that are options within University regulations, but are required by the PSRB, any required level of performance beyond a pass, any minimum periods of study within the University or within UK HE, any restrictions on awards that include recognition of prior learning
A list of accredited programmes is maintained by the QAS office and can be downloaded below.