Quality Handbook



AQH-B2-3b Postgraduate Programme Specification Template

February 2014




Postgraduate Programme Specification Template





  1. Name  of programme      Radio




  1. Award title  MA, Postgraduate Certificate, Postgraduate Diploma 




  1. Programme linkage

Is this part of a group of linked programmes between which students can transfer at agreed points? (eg a group of programmes with a common set of taught modules)




If yes:


  1. Is the programme a top-up only?





  1. Level of award: Level 7 only





  1. Awarding body: University of Sunderland


  1. Which department is it in?  Arts, Design and Media




  1. Programme Studies Board: MA Programme Board



  1. Programme Leader:  Andy Cartwright



  1. How and where can I study the programme?

Tick all boxes that apply


At Sunderland:


Full-time on campus


Part-time on campus


As work-based learning full-time


As work-based learning part-time


As a full-time sandwich course


As a part-time sandwich course


By distance learning



At the University of Sunderland London campus: 


Full-time on campus


Part-time on campus


As work-based learning full-time


As work-based learning part-time


As a full-time sandwich course


As a part-time sandwich course


By distance learning



At a partner college:


Full-time in the UK 


Part-time in the UK


Full-time overseas


Part-time overseas


By distance learning


As a full-time sandwich course in the UK


As a part-time sandwich course in the UK


As a full-time sandwich course overseas


As a part-time sandwich course overseas


As work-based learning full-time in the UK 


As work-based learning part-time overseas


Other (please specify)






  1. How long does the programme take?



Min number of years / months

Max number of years / months


1 year

1 year


2 years

2 years

Distance learning



Work-based learning




For start-dates please see the current edition of the Prospectus or contact the relevant department at the University. For start-dates for programmes delivered in a partner college, please contact the college.





Use Outline Programme Proposal Form for ADC (AQH-B2-2), for questions 12 to 22


  1. Learning and teaching strategy.


This post-graduate practiced-based degree programme provides you with an accurate and thorough experience of professional radio (and associated multiplatform) practice as the entire curriculum embedded within the university’s award-winning community radio station Spark FM. Various teaching methods including lectures, playbacks, screenings, seminars, workshops, small group work, individual project work, supervised independent learning and tutorials. This diversity of teaching, learning and assessment methods are designed to enable you  to develop as autonomous learners and researchers, encouraging the high degree of self-direction and responsibility that is the hallmark of work at Masters Level. Each student is encouraged to develop their own theoretical and practical methodologies to inform their future educational, professional and personal work. The programme provides a learning and teaching framework within which the growth of specific radio/audio and multiplatform knowledge, analytic abilities, teamwork, time and organisational management, production, presentation and scriptwriting competencies can be developed and assessed.


The teaching aims to provide a background of advanced, creative, radio production skills and techniques to help you produce a range of radio/audio productions in a professional environment responding to the needs of current professional practice within the regional and national radio industry. This has been recognised within the industry by Creative Skillset who have accredited this MA Radio - the only such degree in the UK with such an endorsement from the professional radio sector. 


Although all modules are Core it is still possible, but because of the diversity of options within each module, to balance each production portfolio to suit your own individual need or specialism.


During the course there is gradually more emphasis put onto independent learning – helping to prepare you for work within the professional radio sector and other associated industries. 




  1. Retention strategy.


Students on this programme take part in a series of induction activities resulting in the production of a programme in Spark FM. This helps introduces them to the university, the radio station and their fellow students. 

The Programme Handbook provides important information about the programme, the modules, the working of the academic area, the faculty and contact information for academic, technical and administrative staff. 

Module guides provide students with a module descriptor including a statement of learning outcomes; a week-by-week schedule; assessment topics and assessment criteria; hand-in dates; and reading lists.

The students also elect each year a Student Representative to air their concerns to the programme leader. The representatives also speak for the students on the programme at various committees and forums were decisions are made about how the programme is run.



  1. Any other information


Students have the opportunity to take a Leave of Absence or move from full-time to part-time delivery if required.






  1. What is the programme about?


The MA in Radio, as the only course at this level accredited by Creative Skillset, is an excellent choice for people who are planning a career in radio broadcasting, or for those currently working in the industry who want to advance their careers. This highly practical course combines a hands-on creative radio production and management experience with a theoretical understanding of the industry, audiences and the codes and conventions of this fascinating medium. You will gain advanced creative programme-making skills and techniques, including digital recording, editing, scriptwriting, interviewing, live radio production and multiplatform visualisation.  You will also engage in theoretical and critical debates, study social and historical contexts, legislative frameworks and target audiences and how they impact on the role of producers and radio station management.




  1. What will I know or be able to do at the end of the programme?


Learning Outcomes Postgraduate Certificate – Skills

By the end of this part of the programme successful students should know, understand or be able to do the following:

  • S1 Demonstrate an advanced, systematic ability to synthesise and present work and conclusions in radio production and radio management clearly to others.
  • S2 Demonstrate skills in radio programme production and advanced research techniques



Learning Outcomes Postgraduate Certificate – Knowledge

By the end of this part of the programme successful students should know, understand or be able to do the following:

  • K1 Demonstrate an advanced, systematic ability to critically examine and engage with a wide range of ideas and practices in radio.
  • K2 Demonstrate an advanced, systematic knowledge, understanding and competence in at least one of the following areas: radio studies, radio production, radio management.



     Learning Outcomes Postgraduate Diploma – Skills

By the end of this part of the programme successful students should know, understand or be able to do the following:

  • S3 Demonstrate advanced skills in radio programme production and advanced research techniques
  • S4 High-level ability to apply theory and models of practice in the area of radio studies and management, demonstrating an advanced knowledge of specialist research in radio production and radio management including advanced analytical and critical skills.
  • S5 High-level ability to produce an independent, sustained pieces of creative work in the form of a series of practical radio production projects.
  • S6 Sustained and developed capacities to work both individually and in group situations in a professional radio management context.



Learning Outcomes Postgraduate Diploma – Knowledge

By the end of this part of the programme successful students should know, understand or be able to do the following:

  • K3An advanced, systematic knowledge, understanding and competence in at least two of the following areas: radio studies, radio production, radio management.



Learning Outcomes Masters – Skills

By the end of this part of the programme successful students should know, understand or be able to do the following:

  • S7High-level ability to produce an independent, sustained piece of creative or critical work in the form of a practical radio production project and essay.
  • S8Sustained and developed capacities to work both individually and in group situations in a professional radio management context or in carrying out research into a specialist area of radio.
  • S9Higher-level ability to demonstrate a high level of self-direction, initiative, independence and originality when producing a dissertation or practical project about a specialist area of radio studies, programme making or radio management.
  • S10Higher-level initiative and decision making abilities, the ability to organise and present information, and the independent learning skills required for further academic study and/or professional development – e.g. employment requiring the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility.



Learning Outcomes Masters – Knowledge

By the end of this part of the programme successful students should know, understand or be able to do the following:

  • K4Higher-levels of depth and systematic understanding of specialised knowledge and critical awareness to analyse, synthesise, evaluate and interpret ideas and information and work with it at the forefront of the field.





  1. What will the programme consist of?


Taught postgraduate programmes generally consist of a number of taught modules leading to the award of a Postgraduate Certificate (60 credits) or Postgraduate Diploma (120 credits). A Masters qualification (180 credits) usually culminates in a major piece of independent work such as a project or dissertation. All modules are at postgraduate level (level 7 in the UK’s national scheme). The summary below describes briefly what is contained in the programme. The programme structure, including a detailed list of modules, can be found in the programme regulations.


The programme is designed to offer you a combination of core competencies and flexible specialisms in radio theory, production and management. All modules on the MA Radio course are core to the programme but within each module there are a number of specialist options.  During the first two weeks of the MA Radio programme you will be working together, or in groups, to share and learn new advanced skills in radio programme production.


The first term (Postgraduate Certificate stage) then advances this knowledge  with taught modules on Understanding Radio and Radio Programme Making. In addition you will be learning the skills required to help manage aspects of our award-winning community radio station Spark FM. This stage includes tuition in:-

advanced digital audio production skills, techniques and roles;

planning and budgeting of productions;

research and production skills for radio programme-making (including multiplatform skills);

commissioning procedures, regulatory frameworks and ethical issues;

principles and techniques of audience research and scheduling;

core concepts of radio station management – scheduling, planning and running a team;

key theories and approaches in radio studies and research methodologies at Masters level.


In the second term (Postgraduate Diploma stage) you will continue to learn about radio station management across the sector and have an opportunity to take up (or continue) your management role within the radio station. Working alongside our Hope Street Exchange Enterprise and Innovation Centre you will also explore business opportunities within the radio sector. Advanced radio production skills will also be taught across a number of genre and you will produce a portfolio demonstrating a your production work. This portfolio will include a ‘broadcast project’ in a genre of your choice - radio feature or documentary, radio drama, sequence programmes. This production must be made to a network radio broadcast standard and include multiplatform elements. All your work will be transmitted on Spark FM. Modules at this stage allow much greater scope for independent learning including:-

application of theory to students’ own particular interests;

specialist programme formats; contemporary issues in public service, commercial and community radio;

representations of race, gender and diversity;

new developments in technologies of production and distribution;

forward planning and managing dayparts or programming;

professional standard multi-track digital editing and production techniques for experimental forms of radio.


In the final term (Masters stage) you will choose either to work on a dissertation or practical project. These modules draw on elements of the previous two stages to enable you to deliver an individually initiated and authored major project.




  1. How will I be taught?


Scheduled teaching activities


Independent study





Throughout the course you will encounter a variety of teaching methods. During the first term (Postgraduate Certificate stage) there will be substantial contact time with your tutors including lectures, seminars and practical demonstrations. In the second term (Postgraduate Diploma stage) there are taught practical and management sessions and workshops and an increase in individual and/or group tutorials. During the final term (Masters stage) you will be assigned a supervisor to guide you through your final project/dissertation but a high level of initiative and independent work will be expected at this level. You will also have exclusive lectures/workshops given by radio professionals and are encouraged to attend the regular Masterclasses organised within the Media Centre. 


The teaching methods will include:-


Lectures and practical demonstrations are used to increase your knowledge and place your work within a clear historical, theoretical and practical context. Lectures are intended to generate further debate in seminars or tutorials or for further enquiry in self-learning or research. Demonstrations act as catalysts to provide you with the skills require to practice and produce technically professional creative radio/audio productions.  


Seminars, presentations and workshops provide opportunities for your group to debate of theories, contexts and approaches that in turn allow you to describe, develop and explore their areas of interest and get feedback on your ideas and perspectives from lecturers and your peer group. Seminars can be student-led allowing individuals and groups the opportunities to present topics of research; to develop skills in formulating materials for an audience; to refine their oral communication skills and build confidence in presentation.


Tutorials provide students with individual academic guidance, encouragement and feedback as well as more focussed discussion and debate than might be generally attainable within group seminars.


Group Discussion is an important part of the learning and teaching strategy here, with the aim of fostering a critical awareness of a broad range of perspectives, themes and issues. The class discussions are designed to be flexible, allowing you to participate in shaping the dialogue, so enabling an exploration of ideas and practices critically at an advanced level.


Learning hours are in line with the University’s regulations for postgraduate programmes at ten hours per credit. Therefore a twenty-credit module incorporates 200 hours of student time and a sixty-credit module incorporates 600 hours of student time.


As taught contact time reduces as you progress to the final stage there are increased expectations that you will develop Masters level transferable skills such as self-reliance, initiative and ability to manage complex situations.


Transmission of Student Productions – all production work is now transmitted on Spark FM and student work has also be transmitted on BBC Radio 3, BBC Radio 4 and BBC Radio 4 Extra.


Visiting speakers –. The programme has a wide range of visiting academics and speakers with production/ management experience within the UK radio industry.


On completion of the MA award, students will have gained a number of transferable skills that can be used in a workplace context – in particular, a high level of independent learning skills, and the exercise of initiative and personal responsibility, teamwork, time and organisation management, budgeting, interviewing and presentation skills.




A list of the modules in the programme can be found in the Programme Regulations.


A summary of the types of teaching, learning and assessment in each module of the programme can be found in the Matrix of Modes of Teaching.


  1. How will I be assessed and given feedback?


Written examinations




Practical assessments



A summary of the types of teaching, learning and assessment in each module of the programme can be found in the Matrix of Modes of Teaching.


The generic assessment criteria which we use can be found here. Some programmes use subject-specific assessment criteria which are based on the generic ones.


This programme uses the Generic University Assessment Criteria



This programme uses the Subject Specific Assessment Criteria




The University regulations can be found here.



On the MA Radio assessment takes place at the end of each stage (Postgraduate Certificate; Postgraduate Diploma and Masters Degree) and is based upon the coursework (written, presentational and practical production) for each of the modules required for that stage. There are no formal examinations. The Learning Outcomes for each module are linked to the Learning Outcomes for each stage of the award, and it is these modular learning outcomes that are assessed, in a manner appropriate to the work produced. The grading system is in line with the University’s regulations for postgraduate programmes.


In general terms, assessment of written work will be based on a judgement about the ability of students to: identify key themes and issues; construct arguments that are coherent yet complex; cover relevant material and draw on appropriate sources; present arguments in a sophisticated academic style.


The assessment of practical work will be based on judgement about the ability of students to: use equipment and facilities responsibility, professionally and with a high level of competency; research, plan and execute the project effectively; demonstrate creativity and originality; demonstrate an understanding of scriptwriting and genre conventions; pay due consideration to ethical, legal and copyright issues; demonstrate sensitivity to issues of equality and diversity; work effectively with others (i.e., colleagues, interviewees, actors, presenters, etc.); to provide substantive supporting documentation (e.g., production files, concept documents, minutes of meetings, budgets and schedules, billings and cues, etc.).


Extensive Feedback Sheets are produced for each assessment with useful information demonstrating in which areas and how a student can improve their performance. These are targeted at the skills require at each stage of the degree. 


Assessments are moderated at all three stages, in order to ensure consistency across the subject areas. All work achieving a mark over 70% or under 40% is double marked. A sample of work from the intermediate percentiles is double marked and sent to the External Examiner. 




  1. Teaching, learning and assessment matrix


  1. How does research influence the programme? 


Lecturing staff have active research and recent publications in the following areas: the radio voice, new technologies and radio including podcasting, multi-platform radio and visualisation; women, radio archives and cultural memory and transnational radio cultures. The programme leader has an active production research profile particularly in the area of documentary storytelling and has curated and organised the annual Charles Parker Day (since 2010) which students actively participate. These themes have been present in lectures across Radio Studies and  Radio Station Management. Students have been encouraged to attend and contribute to CRMCS research seminars including several radio oriented seminars in the past and coming academic year. The Transnational Radio Encounters project ( is currently active and MA students have been part of the participatory action research strand of this project.  In 1015  a MA alumna Magz Hall was awarded PhD in Radio Art - an area she developed as part of her MA Studies at Sunderland.







  1. How will the programme prepare me for employment?


The programme gives you the opportunity to develop advanced skills and knowledge which you can use in the future. Some postgraduate programmes are associated with a particular career path but most skills can be applied to a range of employment situations. The skills which this programme is designed to develop are listed below.


The MA Radio has the Creative Skillset Tick meaning that our course is the only postgraduate radio degree with this official endorsement from the radio industry.

You will have extensive content with radio professionals throughout the degree programme and will be able to discuss career options including opportunities for employment, further study etc. with these professionals as well as members of the teaching team. There are also opportunities to get involved at various professional radio events – The Radio Festival, Charles Parker Day and the BBC Free Thinking Festival. Radio professionals regularly attend the university as visiting speakers and are able to help and advice students regarding careers in radio. You are encouraged to take the opportunities that these contacts provide to secure placements with broadcasters and independent producers.

Our postgraduate students are highly employable and, on average, earn more than individuals whose highest qualification is an undergraduate degree. On completing this course you will be equipped for roles in the radio industry, and also throughout the broader media industry. Sunderland graduates have been commission to make documentaries for the BBC and many have won national and international awards for their student work (SRA, Charles Parker Prizes, New York Radio Awards). Recent Sunderland graduates have moved into jobs at a variety of radio stations and companies, including BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 4, BBC 6Music, BBC Radio 5live, BBC Radio Drama, Smooth Operations, Soundscape Productions, Sun FM, Metro Radio and BBC Newcastle.  They are also employed at radio stations in Europe, USA and Australia.





There are also opportunities for on-campus students outside your programme of study in particular you are encouraged to become as actively involved in Spark FM beyond the roles allocated during your course – there are ample production and presentation experiences available.  All involvement within Spark FM increases your employment prospects are the radio station is highly regarded within the professional radio sector and this has been recognised in the numerous national and international awards the station has won over the past six years. 



For information about other opportunities available to our students who study on campus, click here.


  1. Particular features of the qualification. (optional)




  1. Professional statutory or regulatory body (PSRB) accreditation. Choose one of the following.


PSRB accreditation is not relevant to this programme 


PSRB accreditation is currently being sought for this programme


This programme currently has PSRB accreditation


The programme is currently accredited until:





The relevant PSRB(s) is/are:





The terms of the accreditation are as follows:





The programme is recognised as:





The programme is accredited dependent on



Accreditation gives graduates (status / exemption):





This depends upon successful completion of the programme.


There are programme-specific regulations relating to the following. Details are given in the programme regulations:


The modules to be studied


Pass-marks for some or all modules and/or parts

(elements) of modules 


Placement requirements


Attendance requirements


Professional practice requirements


Final or overall mark for the award  







Interim or exit awards are not accredited. 


Free text for description which is not covered by the options above.


(Maximum 50 words)






Repeat if necessary for more than one PSRB




Use Programme Regulations Form, for questions 36 and 37





  1. What are the admissions requirements?



The University’s standard admissions requirements can be found in the university regulations.

Programme-specific requirements which are in addition to those regulations are given below. 


Applicants are normally required to have a good honours degree in an appropriate field or discipline (2.1 or above), and those with a 2.2 are considered on a case-by-case basis. As part of the University’s widening participation policy, applicants with no formal academic qualifications will be considered if they have an appropriate professional background or experience. (Former MA students have included BBC producers and station managers.)  All such applicants are required to demonstrate, through interview, or letter of intent and essay that they have the ability, motivation and commitment to cope with the demands of postgraduate studies.


Where the candidate’s first language is not English, evidence of Level 7 attainment in the International English Language Testing Scheme and/or a pass in the University’s own English Language Proficiency Test is required.




Can students enter with advanced standing?




If yes, to which Stages?

Stage 1


Stage 2


Stage 3


Stage 4



If yes, with what qualifications?


The University has a process by which applicants whose experience to date already covers one or more modules of the programme they are applying for may seek Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL). Full details can be found here but if you think that this may be relevant to you, please contact the department which offers the programme you are interested in.


  1. What kind of support and help will there be?

in the department:

Throughout the course pastoral support is provided by the programme leader, module leaders and dissertation supervisors. All teaching staff are available during their publicised office hours for the purpose of providing academic support, guidance and advice on student progress. Students are given information in the Programme Handbook about the availability of staff and their office numbers, email addresses and other means of contact. Students may, at any time, request an alternative support tutor from within the MA or wider media team.

The programme team recognise that students come from diverse academic, professional and cultural backgrounds and their levels of knowledge, linguistic expertise, experience and attainment may vary. The programme leader and programme team endeavour to ensure that students in need of additional support are identified and that appropriate assistance is made available.

The University provides a range of services that support the students including careers advice, housing and financial advice, opportunities for further study, disability support etc. Information about all these services is provided at registration.

Students with personal or financial problems are encouraged to seek help from an appropriate advisor or counsellor within the Student Services department.

The University’s Disability Support Unit provides support and equipment for learning difficulties beyond the scope of the programme team. Support is readily available for students who have specific learning difficulties (dyslexia for example). The Disability Support Team provides information and support on a range of issues, including access, learning support, assistive technology and the Disabled Students Allowance. Recent additions to the Team include a Mental Health Advisor and Dyslexia Tutors. Additionally each of the University’s five schools has a member of staff responsible for supporting disabled students and those with SpLDs. Students are requested to identify any known special needs on the University application form so that the appropriate support can be put in place.






  1. What resources will I have access to?


On campus


In a partner college


By distance learning



On campus

Tick all that apply

General Teaching and Learning Space












Performance space


Other specialist


Technical resources 



Text for details listed above:


All teaching takes place within the David Puttnam Media Centre on St Peter’s Campus where all rooms are equipped with state-of-the-art teaching equipment. Technical staff are on hand when required. The Media Centre’s Radio Studios and Editing Suites are sited together in a single section of the building to resemble a radio station environment. You have access to 4 self-op studios, 2 editing/contribution booths and 1 digital drama and production studio. All studios are built to broadcast standard and have access to the RCS Zetta digital playout system, satellite news feeds and the ability to conduct interviews via telephone or ISDN. You will edit and manage your production workflow digitally using editing facilities in the main teaching workshop and a dedicated open-access facility adjacent to the studios. All students are also provided with their own dedicated SADiE6 professional digital edition system (via a loaned ‘dongle’) for the duration of their course.  You will be taught in dedicated teaching spaces close to the studios and the radio technician base. The workshop areas have dual-screen editing in both Adobe Audition and SADiE6.  Studios, facilities and recording equipment are bookable but there are a number of items of ‘high-end’ professional recording equipment dedicated for MA student use.  Because of your involvement in running Spark FM the Media Hub – a multi-media production zone - where you will manage and produce teams and programme material – will be an additional base for the MA Radio group.


Library (St Peters and Murray Libraries)

All new students receive an introduction to the library and further skills sessions are offered, either as timetabled groups or on an individual ‘time of need’ basis by appointment.


Access to the main libraries is offered 24/7 during term-time, where electronic access to research databases, networked computing facilities and study spaces are available. Students with internet connections at home can also access these facilities off-campus via Athens access. The library also provides a well-used and free interlibrary loans service.


Students with a disability or specific learning disability who are registered with the University’s Disability team may use specialist assistive technology provided at each library and may be eligible for a range of special services aimed to help them use the libraries more effectively.


Virtual Learning Environment:  Students have full access to VLE which contains all programme and module information including copies of PowerPoint presentations/handouts on sessions. There is also access to production paperwork templates and examples and other information including information about assessments, presentation timetables and feedback, 


Electronic Submission: All programme audio material (as 48kHz  .wav files) and associated production paperwork is electronically submitted  reflecting professional practice. Students are instructed in the importance of correct labelling and all programme material.


Information about the University’s facilities can be found here.


Please see the relevant college prospectus or website for details of college learning resources if you are planning to study in one of our partner colleges.


  1. Are there any additional costs on top of the fees?


No, but all students buy some study materials such as books and provide their own basic study materials.


Yes (optional) All students buy some study materials such as books and provide their own basic study materials. In addition there are some are additional costs for optional activities associated with the programme (see below)


Yes (essential) All students buy some study materials such as books and provide their own basic study materials. In addition there are some are essential additional costs associated with the programme (see below)




Although there are extensive books and articles available in the St Peter’s Campus Library student can also buy their own textbooks and reading material. Students may be asked to contribute towards trips and events but these are subsidised by the university and costs are kept to a minimum. But this needs to be seen within the context of all students having their own SADiE6 editing system worth £2,500 for the duration of the MA Radio course.



  1. How are student views represented?

All taught programmes in the University have student representatives for each programme who meet in a Student-Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC) where they can raise students’ views and concerns. The Students’ Union and the faculties together provide training for student representatives. SSLCs and focus groups are also used to obtain student feedback on plans for developing existing programmes and designing new ones. Feedback on your programme is obtained every year through module questionnaires and informs the annual review of your programme. Student representatives are also invited to attend Programme and Module Studies Boards which manage the delivery and development of programmes and modules.  Various Faculty committees, particularly Faculty Student Success Committee, Academic Development Committee and Quality Management Sub-Committee also have student representation. This allows students to be involved in higher-level plans for teaching and learning. There is a parallel structure at university level on which students are represented by sabbatical officers who are the elected leaders of the Students’ Union.

The University’s student representation and feedback policy can be found here.


Every two years we participate in the national Postgraduate Taught Experience Survey (PTES) which is run by the Higher Education Academy.


All your tutors are happy to discuss issues that may arise during the course and there is a dedicated closed discussion group for each MA Radio group. In addition you are asked to complete a module feedback form at the end of each term. Your views and experiences will help the programme to develop in future years.







  1. National subject benchmarks


The Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education publishes benchmark statements which give guidance as to the skills and knowledge which graduates in various subjects and in certain types of degree are expected to have. They do not cover all subjects at postgraduate  level but those which exist can be found at here.


Are there any benchmark statements for this programme?




The subject benchmark(s) for this programme is/are:





The QAA also publishes a Framework for Higher Education Qualifications (FHEQ) which defines the generic skills and abilities expected of students who have achieved awards at a given level and with which our programmes align. The FHEQ can be found here.


  1. How are the quality and standards of the programme assured?


The programme is managed and quality assured through the University’s standard processes. Programmes are overseen by Module and Programme Studies Boards which include student representatives. Each year each module leader provides a brief report on the delivery of the module, identifying strengths and areas for development, and the programme team reviews the programme as a whole.  The purpose of this is to ensure that the programme is coherent and up-to-date, with suitable progression through the programme, and a good fit (alignment)  between what is taught and how students learn and are assessed - the learning outcomes, content and types of teaching, learning and assessment. Student achievement, including progress through the programme and the way in which the final award is made, is kept under review. The programme review report is sent to the Faculty Quality Management Sub-Committee which in turn reports issues to the University’s Quality Management Sub-Committee (QMSC) and Academic Development Committee (ADC).


External examiners are appointed to oversee and advise on the assessment of the programme. They ensure that the standards of the programme are comparable with those of similar programmes elsewhere in the UK and are also involved in the assessment process to make sure that it is fair. They are invited to comment on proposed developments to the programme. Their reports are sent to the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) as well as to the Faculty so that issues of concern can be addressed.


All programmes are reviewed by the University on a six-yearly cycle to identify good practice and areas for enhancement. Programmes are revalidated through this review process. These reviews include at least one academic specialist in the subject area concerned from another UK university. The University is subject to external review by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education on a six-year cycle. Their review reports for Sunderland can be found at here.


Further information about our quality processes can be found here.



Please also complete the SITS form.