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Major changes

A major change to a course is considered to be anything which impacts the overall aims of the programme or the way in which it is delivered. This could include for example, a significant reworking or shift in the balance of course content or the introduction of a new mode of study i.e. part-time or distance learning. Academic administrators and heads of teaching or equivalent in departments should first consult Education Committee’s Policy and Guidance on new courses and major changes to courses (including closure). If there is any doubt as to whether a change constitutes a major change, please contact a member of the Academic team in the divisional office.


Minor changes

Vested interests

When staff are considering any change to a course they must be mindful of the impact that this change might have on students already studying for the award. Except in very specific circumstances changes should not be made which would impact on students who have already begun to work towards an assessment. Please consult Education Committee’s guidance on vested interests (Annex I)


Staff should also consider whether there may be any potential impacts on equality under the University’s Public Sector Equality Duty (PSED). This will involve firstly, determining whether the PSED is relevant, and secondly, separate consideration of each of its three aims and the scope for both negative and positive impact. Staff will need to ensure they have sufficient information on which to base a decision, which is likely to involve data analysis and in some cases, consultation with people from protected groups. For more information on the PSED, please see the Equality and Diversity Unit website.   

Changes that need approval at department level only

Changes to courses that require approval at department level only include: 

  • The addition or removal of specific ‘option’ papers (unless this needs a change in examination regulations). Note that this can only be implemented in the following academic year if students have been clearly advised in advance that not all options will be offered in all years. Please consult Education Committee’s guidance on vested interests (Annex I).
  • Changes to timetabling and content of lectures, classes, practicals and fieldwork
  • Minor changes to the assessment of practicals

 Changes that need approval at department and divisional level

 Any changes that require a change in the Examination Regulations will need approval by the division. Departments should complete the template for a regulation change using the guidance on writing examination regulations. Please then send this to the divisional office. If approved, the divisional office will arrange for changes to be published in the Gazette.

Very minor changes to examination regulations will typically be approved by the Associate Head of Division (Academic) on behalf of the division. These might include

  • Presentational changes e.g. re-formatting or re-ordering of information;
  • Revision to the title (but not the substance) of a paper
  • A small extension of a submission deadline
  • Addition of reading time in an exam
  • Minor corrections of regulation text to remove errors or clarify meaning

 All other minor changes will need approval by MPLS Academic Audit Committee, which meets in week 3 of each term. Departments will need to provide paperwork that provides a rationale for the change, and any draft changes to Examination Regulations and Examination Conventions. Minor changes might include: 

  • Increase, decrease or rebalancing of assessment workload
  • Change in assessment schedule (e.g. movement of submission deadlines)
  • Change in assessment methodology (e.g. from timed examination to submitted essay or vice versa) as long as not novel form of assessment
  • Creation of an optional exit award (e.g. BA)
  • Changes to a progression hurdle (e.g. to be eligible to move to the fourth year of a integrated masters course)

It is likely that multiple minor changes such as those above would together impact the overall aims of the programme or the way in which it is delivered. The changes would then need the approval of the University’s Education Committee as well.