Manual of Policies and Procedures

C/4.1 Curriculum design, approval and accreditation

Policy Owner

Director, Curriculum Quality and Academic Integrity

Approval Date


Approval Authority

University Academic Board

Date of Next Review


4.1.1 Purpose
4.1.2 Application
4.1.3 Roles and responsibilities
4.1.4 Principles
4.1.5 Curriculum development and approval requirements
4.1.6 Definitions
4.1.7 Delegations
Related Documents
Modification History

4.1.1 Purpose

The curriculum design, approval and accreditation process at QUT supports the University’s overall vision for learning and teaching as articulated in the Real World Learning Vision.

The purpose of this policy is to describe the inclusive and consultative approach taken to curriculum design at QUT, incorporating expertise from a range of stakeholders.


4.1.2 Application

This policy applies to the development of new courses, re-accreditation of courses and revisions made to existing courses during the accreditation period.


4.1.3 Roles and responsibilities

Vice-Chancellor and President or delegated authority
  • approves transnational offering of award courses (C/3.5)
Vice-President (Administration) and University Registrar
  • approves proposals to dual badge award parchments for a particular course. The final form of any dual-badged parchment will be determined by the Vice-President (Administration) and Registrar (E/10.2)
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic)
  • endorses proposals for new courses, new Study Areas A (SAA) to existing courses if introducing a new discipline, and reaccreditation of higher risk courses before any significant development
  • facilitates the curriculum design, approval and accreditation processes, including provision of supporting resources
  • approves the QUT future-focused curriculum design approach following consultation with faculties and divisions
  • approves curriculum design, approval and accreditation protocols

Executive Deans

  • provides assurance to faculty academic boards and University Academic Board that the proposed curriculum development is aligned to University strategy and complies with relevant University policies and external standards, and that appropriate consultation, responses and documentation have been undertaken
  • designates responsibility to a senior officer who will be responsible for the oversight of curriculum design; assignment of responsibility to curriculum leaders and ensuring curriculum leaders understand their role and responsibilities and have sufficient workload to undertake the work

Head of division/Head of portfolio

  • provides appropriate support and advice to faculties during curriculum design and development
Curriculum leaders
  • are responsible for the design and fidelity of curriculum
University Academic Board (A/3.6)
  • accredits new courses
  • reaccredits and approves revisions to courses defined as higher risk (C/4.6)
  • approves the combination of accredited award courses into vertical double degrees
  • accredits new course codes as required for transnational delivery (C/3.5)
  • reports to Council on approved courses

University Academic Board may further delegate specific approvals to the Curriculum Standards Committee and Faculty Academic Boards under certain conditions. 

Curriculum Standards Committee (C/2.2)
  • assesses the quality of curriculum proposals against QUT strategy and policy, the Higher Education Standards Framework and other relevant reference points including discipline and professional standards, in order to provide advice and make recommendations to University Academic Board and faculty academic boards
  • where not identified as higher risk:
    • reaccredits courses
    • accredits existing courses for delivery through third party arrangements
    • approves the combination of accredited award courses into double degrees
    • approves corporate versions of accredited award courses where client-specific customisation results in curriculum change exceeding 30%
    • approves revisions to an accredited course where material changes exceed 30% of the course
  • approves specific matters relating to curriculum, to facilitate course reaccreditation and approval processes
  • approves exceptions to policy with respect to course and assessment design
Faculty academic boards (A/3.7and other entities delegated by University Academic Board
  • endorse the following for submission to Curriculum Standards Committee
    • course accreditation/re-accreditation proposals
    • exceptions to policy with respect to course and assessment design
  • approve the following curriculum changes:
    • proposals involving material changes less than 30% of an accredited course
    • new or revised study areas A or B in accredited courses
    • discontinuation of courses, study areas and units
    • new or revised units and unit outlines including the following:
      • the offering of a new unit
      • changes to approved delivery options including delivery mode and location
      • new or changed unit outlines (may be delegated to a faculty committee or authorised officer)


4.1.4 Principles

Curriculum design at QUT is based on the following principles:

  • curriculum design supports achievement of QUT's Real World Learning Vision, objectives outlined in Connections - the QUT Strategy 2023 to 2027, and facilitates high-quality curriculum
  • a whole of course approach to design that places learners, industry/professional partners and educators firmly at the centre of the curriculum design process
  • curriculum review, renewal and design are integral to the University's annual strategic planning cycle
  • all courses are accredited or re-accredited for a period up to seven (7) years by University Academic Board
  • approval and accreditation processes provide the flexibility to be responsive to market opportunities and incorporate strategic consideration of course performance, market issues, viability, risk and resource implications
  • curriculum design, approval and accreditation processes (C/4.1.5) ensure that curricula are demonstrably consistent with the Higher Education Standards Framework
  • implementation of approved/accredited curricula includes systematic processes for monitoring the progress of curricula against quality indicators (C/4.6), external benchmarking and review of curriculum outcomes
  • efficient and effective consultation with both internal and external stakeholders will occur during the curriculum, design, implementation and review process.


4.1.5 Curriculum design and approval requirements

The specific requirements for consultation and documentation are determined by faculties, in consultation with the Learning and Teaching Unit (QUT staff access only) and following the curriculum development, approval and accreditation protocols.

The QUT curriculum design process incorporates the following activities:

(a) Planning

Faculties should identify the need for significant curriculum development as part of the annual strategic planning and review cycle. This enables University-wide consideration of strategic matters relating to courses and provides an opportunity for relevant stakeholder input. 

(b) Design

QUT’s approach to curriculum design is organised around five design stages linked to consultation, feedback and approval milestones in the course accreditation/reaccreditation pathway.  These five stages of future focused curriculum design framework (QUT staff access only) enable and support strategic, end-user engaged and evidence-based curriculum change and transformation at QUT: 

  • Visualise future focused needs by identifying critical factors for consideration in the strategic redesign of learning.
  • Create a distinctive learning profile by translating future focused needs and strategic priorities into a distinctive and valuable offering for QUT learners.
  • Transform the course/program of learning by developing the learning architecture and planned progression of assessment and learning.
  • Realise the learning design by creating and curating learning activities, resources and assessment to realise future-focused real world learning.
  • Review and refine the learning design by implementing and evaluating the learning design and iteratively refining the learning designs informed by evidence.

(c) Consultation

Faculties undertake appropriate consultation and collaborative partnerships throughout planning and design, before accreditation/reaccreditation or approval.

(d) Documentation

Faculties develop appropriate documentation, depending on the scale and scope of the proposed curricular change. Documentation is managed in CourseLoop. The protocols approved under this policy provide guidance as to the required documentation.

(e) Implementation and monitoring

Following accreditation/re-accreditation, ongoing course performance is monitored and evaluated at both course and unit level against both QUT performance indicators and external measures of student satisfaction, graduate employment and professional requirements through QUT's course quality assurance processes (C/4.6).


4.1.6 Definitions

Course is a structured and coherent set of units or thesis components that leads to the award of a qualification.

Study Area is a set of units within a course that together form a coherent body of knowledge, undertaken at an advanced level.

Unit is a structured and coherent set of learning activities that normally work in concert with other Units to contribute to one or more course learning outcomes.

Curriculum is a learning environment: a planned arrangement of space, time, resources, people and ideas (adapted from a definition by Gail Halliwell, 1990). Curriculum is designed to assist students to achieve particular desired course or program learning outcomes. Students and teachers contribute to the human dimension of the learning environment, but the roles of facilitating and partnering in learning are particularly important. The term ‘curriculum’ captures far more than a list of content to be mastered, or a list of units in sequence.

Course design means the architecture of a course or program of study that embodies a philosophy of learning, teaching and assessment, articulates a clear set of intended learning outcomes and describes how the planned learning environment will support students to progress towards and achieve those learning outcomes.

Custom award course means an award course that only considers enrolment from nominees of the sponsor and/or related organisations.

Learning activities means the tasks that students undertake in order to develop and gain mastery of the knowledge, skills and professional behaviours that are desired as learning outcomes.

Learning experiences are constructed by individual students through their personal engagement with the learning activities, opportunities and resources provided, and are greatly impacted by life experience.

Higher risk refers to disciplines or courses new to the university, transnational courses and courses or Study Areas A that have received overall course performance scores in the underperforming range in at least three of the last five years.


4.1.7 Delegations

Refer to Register of Authorities and Delegations (C097, C098, C099, C159) (QUT staff access only).


Related Documents

MOPP B/3.5 Academic leadership roles in teaching and learning

MOPP C/3.1 Award courses

MOPP C/4.3 Capabilities for QUT graduates

MOPP C/4.5 Unit and module information

MOPP C/4.6 Course quality assurance

MOPP C/5.1 Assessment and feedback

MOPP C/5.3 Academic integrity

MOPP E/9.1 Review of grades and academic rulings

MOPP A/1.6 Management of contracts, deeds and memoranda of understanding

MOPP I/1.4 International Cooperation Agreements

Approval and Accreditation (QUT staff access only)

Connections - the QUT Strategy 2023 to 2027

Digital Learning Framework (QUT staff access only)

Learning and teaching protocols - Digital Workplace (QUT staff access only):

  • Curriculum design, approval and accreditation protocols
  • Principles and processes for the concurrent delivery of units to undergraduate and postgraduate cohorts - see Courses and awards protocols (Appendix 1)
  • Rationale and principles for designing and offering double degrees
  • Unit and module information protocols

QUT Future focused curriculum design framework (QUT staff access only)

Real World Learning 2020 Vision (QUT staff access only)

Higher Education Standards Framework (Threshold Standards) 2021

Australian Qualifications Framework

TEQSA Guidance note: Course approval, design and delivery

TEQSA Guidance note: Nested courses

TEQSA and the Australian Qualifications Framework


Modification History





03.03.21 C/4.1.3 Director, Curriculum, Quality and Standards Revised responsibilities to remove Provost following senior leadership changes
31.05.21 C/4.1.3, C/4.1.6 University Academic Board Revised policy, consequential changes resulting from revised C/3.3 Non-award study and rescinded policy C/3.4 Graduate and professional education
28.04.21 C/4.1.3 Director, Governance, Legal and Performance Minor editorial change to align with Repositioning QUT for a post-COVID world organisational change - effective 31.01.21
21.09.20 All University Academic Board Revised policy to reflect cycle of accreditation length and roles of Programs Executive Committee (disestablished), Curriculum Standards Committee and Faculty Academic Boards
15.11.19 C/4.1.3 University Academic Board Revised policy to remove the Programs Executive Committee responsibility for reaccreditation of postgraduate courses (effective 01.01.20)
17.11.17 All University Academic Board Revised and simplified policy to include rescinded C/4.2 Curriculum design policy
21.07.17 C/4.1.3 University Academic Board Revised policy to include Curriculum Standards Committee roles for lower-risk curriculum matters and corporate versions of accredited courses (effective 09.08.17)
19.01.17 All Chair, University Academic Board Revised policy to incorporate revisions to the terms of reference of Curriculum Standards Committee (C/2.2) - effective 01.03.17
16.09.16 C/4.1.3 University Academic Board Revised policy to include University Academic Board approval to course accreditation for one 12 month extension in exceptional circumstances
13.11.15 All University Academic Board Revised policy to include new Curriculum Standards Committee, replacing Curriculum Standards Reference Group
20.09.13 C/4.1.4 University Academic Board Revised policy to reflect replacement of the Strategic Faculty Courses Update with the Course Transformation and Re/accreditation Plan
23.11.12 All University Academic Board Revised policy - effective 01.07.13




Policy revised to include approved name change for Office of Teaching Quality to Learning and Teaching Unit



University Academic Board

Revised policy – effective from 01.01.09 (replaces former policies C/4.1, C/4.2, C/4.6, C/4.8, C/4.9 and C/4.11) (endorsed by Teaching and Learning Committee 24.06.08 and Vice-Chancellor’s Advisory Committee 16.07.08)


C/4.1.2, C/4.1.3 (of former policy)

University Academic Board

Revised policy to include TILS Faculty Liaison Teams in course development processes (endorsed by Teaching and Learning Committee 01.08.06)


C/4.1.3 (of former policy)

Academic Policy and Programs Unit

Editorial amendment consistent with revised Appendix 10(a) - Course Plan (approved by University Academic Board 24.03.06)




Revised policy to delegate authority to University Academic Board to approve all new and significantly changed courses (endorsed by University Academic Board 01.12.05)




Revised policy to clarify course approval process - former sections C/4.1.4 and C/4.1.5 deleted (endorsed by University Academic Board 13.08.04 and Teaching and Learning Committee 08.06.04)



Chairperson, University Academic Board (endorsed by University Academic Board 31.07.02)

Revised policy


C/4.1.3 (of former policy)

Academic Programs Officer, APPU

Amended to include role of Courses Working Party


C/4.1.3 (of former policy)

University Academic Board

Amended policy on advertising new courses