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Quality Assurance

New Programme Accreditation

Faculties/Schools should submit EOIs for new programmes to the Academic Development Committee (ADC) for approval in the first semester of the academic year. The Task Force established by ADC is responsible for initial review and prioritisation of the proposed programmes.


Once the ADC’s approval is sought, Faculties/Schools would need to submit the planning proposals for the respective new programmes for subsequent consideration and approval of the ADC. 

For new academic programmes to be launched in a designated academic year, the required planning approval should be sought from the ADC about 18 months before the formal launch to safeguard the due completion of programme accreditation and other required approval procedures for programme implementation.


HKBU-award programmes (Degrees/Associate Degrees/Higher Diplomas)

Upon approval of the ADC to the EOIs, the respective Programme Planning Teams (PPTs) will need to submit a planning proposal (which is normally not more than ten pages) to the ADC for approval.  Prior to submission to the ADC, the planning proposal has to be endorsed by the Faculty Board^.  For self-financed programmes, a budget proposal should also be submitted to the Finance Office for budget review prior to submission to the ADC along with the planning proposal.  The planning proposal should include the following:

  1. programme title (in both English and Chinese)
  2. rationale for offering the programme
  3. relation of the programme to any existing programmes already on offer
  4. programme aims, objectives and the Programme Intended Learning Outcomes (PILOs)
  5. student target groups (suggested niche markets)
  6. admission requirements
  7. an outline of the curriculum (a list of probable courses to be offered, but not detailed syllabi)
  8. proposed tuition fee (for self-financed programmes only)
  9. an operating budget (for self-financed programmes only)

^  Mutual endorsement of the relevant Faculty/School Boards is required for collaborative programmes across Faculty/School prior to submission.


For undergraduate programmes, the PPT is required to submit the ADC-approved proposal to the General Education Committee (GEC) for endorsement should there be any deviation of the programme from the University’s General Education requirements.



Sub-degree Providing Unit (SDPU)-award programmes

QF Level 4 or above programmes

QF Level 4 or above programmmes are required to follow the full accreditation process currently applied to HKBU degrees / associate degrees / higher diplomas.



QF Level 4 or 5 programmes of 15 units or less

For QF Levels 4 and 5 programmes of 15 units or less, only the General Framework (of programmes sharing similar structure and admission/graduation requirements) together with the planning proposal of the first programme to be offered under the Framework will be subject to the approval of the ADC and the subsequent full approval procedures.  Upon approval of the General Framework and the first programme, the Sub-degree Providing Unit (SDPU) will be delegated the authority# to approve new programmes developed under the approved Framework.  The General Framework of Level 4 and Level 5 programmes of 15 units or less is required to specify the following:

  1. award title (e.g. Professional Diploma)
  2. programme intended learning outcomes (PILOs)
  3. admission requirements
  4. mode of delivery
  5. duration of the programme and unit requirement
  6. number of contact hours / QF credits
  7. General Level Descriptors
  8. articulation path

# The SDPUs should follow the internal quality assurance procedures for programme approval as stipulated by their respective Faculties/Schools.



QF Levels 1-3 programmes

To initiate new programmes pitched at QF Levels 1-3, only the General Framework (of programmes sharing similar structure and admission/graduation requirements) together with the planning proposal of the first programme to be offered under the Framework will be subject to the approval of the Sub-Degree Programmes Steering Committee (SDPSC) and the subsequent proposed approval procedures. Once the planning approval is granted, SDPUs will need to submit a detailed programme proposal to the Quality Assurance Sub-Committee on Sub-degree Programmes (QASC) (QF Levels 1-3) for approval of programme offering.  To close the quality loop, SDPUs are required to submit an annual report on the major QA activities and plans for improvement to the QASC (QF Levels 1-3) for scrutiny.  The report will be presented to the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC) and the Senate for information.



Non-award Bearing Short Courses (Usually with 1 to 3 units)

Courses not requiring registration on Qualifications Register (QR)


SDPUs would need to submit the detailed course proposals to the Programme Management Committee (PMC) for approval of offering.


Courses requiring registration on QR


Detailed course proposals should be submitted to the SDPU Board via PMC for approval of offering. A summary report should be submitted to QASC (QF Levels 1-3) and SDPSC regularly for information.


Please click here for the detailed QA protocol.


(see Appendix 2 for the approval process and the typical timeline)


The purpose of programme accreditation process is to ensure that the proposed programme:


  1. is consistent with and contributes to the University's mission and strategic plan;
  2. is at the appropriate standard for the level of the award involved and comparable with similar programmes offered in other recognised institutions; and
  3. has been thoroughly thought out and adequately documented on proposed provision of a valuable educational experience to students and that the PPT is genuinely committed to it.


i.  Accreditation Process

Following the planning approval of the ADC, a postal/on-site accreditation exercise will be required.  The QAC Chairman will decide in consultation with the Dean(s) concerned on whether a postal or an on-site accreditation is in order.  Postal accreditation should normally be conducted on new programmes if the discipline or area of study is not new to the University, or the Department/programme has already had the required expertise and experience.


An on-site accreditation exercise will normally last for two days (see Appendix 3 for a typical programme for the visit).  Depending on the complexity and nature of the programme, the duration of the accreditation may vary.


ii. Panel Membership for Accreditation

1.       Composition of the Panel 

  1. The size of the panel and the number of external members shall be determined by the complexity of the programme and the expertise available in the academic unit offering the programme.  The QAC Chairman shall decide on the composition of the panel, in consultation with the Dean(s) concerned.
  2. The panel shall comprise a minimum of three to a maximum of five members including both internal and external members; the number of external members shall be a maximum of three, one of whom should be from a non-local institution.  
  3. Panel members should be academics at the rank of Associate Professor or above, or professionals/practitioners at a senior level with substantial relevant scholarly background or experience.  To ensure impartiality, the panel members should not have close affiliation with the academic unit under review in the past three years, e.g., they should not have served on the advisory committee of the academic unit under review in the past three years.  
  4. The University has fully adopted Outcomes-Based Teaching and Learning (OBTL). As such, the Director of Centre for Holistic Teaching and Learning (CHTL) will be co-opted on the accreditation panel by default, providing written input to ensure compliance with OBTL practices in the proposed programme.


  1. Chair of the Panel

The Panel Chair shall be an external member appointed by the QAC Chairman.


3.      Appointment Procedures

  1. The  PPT  is  requested  to  recommend  panel  membership  to  the QAC Chairman for approval. Curriculum Vitae (CV) should be collected to ensure appropriateness of the nominees to serve on the panel. Endorsement of the Dean(s) is required prior to submission of the panel membership nomination.
  2. Following approval of the panel membership, the QAC Secretariat will issue the appointment letters. 


iii.  Accreditation Documentation

The full programme proposal should provide the essential information on the proposed programme in the following areas:

  1. general information (e.g., programme title, admission requirements, programme aims and objectives, PILOs, etc.)
  2. programme structure and content
  3. general regulations
  4. QA implementation
  5. programme administration and management
  6. staff development and research
  7. facilities and resources
  8. tuition fees
  9. course syllabi
  10. faculty CV

The above is by no means exhaustive.  Depending on the nature and complexity of the programme and the subject matter, the PPTs are encouraged to add extra information as deemed appropriate. The set of accreditation document should be considered and endorsed by the Faculty Board^ and forwarded to the QAC Secretariat six to eight weeks before the scheduled visit dates for submission to the accreditation panel for perusal and preparation.  


iv. Approval of the Senate

After the accreditation, the accreditation report, together with the PPT's response to the report and the revised programme proposal, will be deliberated by the Faculty Board^. The Faculty Board will then submit its recommendations to the Senate via the QAC (and also QASC (QF Level 4) for QF Level 4 programmes) for approval.     



 ^Mutual endorsement of the relevant Faculty/School Boards is required for collaborative programmes across Faculty/School prior to submission. 


Last updated on 24 July 2023