Skip to main content
Start main content
Quality Assurance

New Programme Accreditation

Faculties/Schools and Academy of Visual Arts (AVA) are required to submit annually a programme development plan to the Academic Development Committee (ADC) with an initial indication of the planned number of new programmes to be launched in the ensuing academic year (and the list of which) for consideration and approval of the Committee at its first meeting in the first semester.  Once the ADC’s approval is sought, Faculties/Schools/AVA 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 as early as possible but no later than the end of December of the previous academic year 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 programme development plan of Faculties/Schools/AVA, the respective Programme Planning Teams (PPTs) would need to submit a planning proposal (which is normally not more than ten pages in length) to the ADC for approval before proceeding on to accreditation.  Prior to being submitted to the ADC, the planning proposal has to be endorsed by the Faculty/School/AVA Board^. For self-financed programmes, a budget proposal is required to be submitted to the Finance Office for budget review prior to submission to the ADC.  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) student target groups (suggested niche markets)
  5. admission requirements an outline of the curriculum (a list of probable courses to be offered, but not detailed syllabi) proposed tuition fee (for self-financed programmes only)
  6. an operating budget (for self-financed programmes only)

^  Mutual endorsement of the relevant Faculty/School/AVA Boards is required for collaborative programmes across Faculty/School/AVA 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 programmes of 15 units or less pitched at QF Level 4 and Level 5, 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 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 / qualifications framework (QF) credits
  7. 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, a planning proposal should be submitted to the Sub-degree Programmes Steering Committee (SDPSC) for consideration and approval.  Once planning approval is sought, SDPUs would 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 quality assurance activities and plans for improvement to QASC (QF Levels 1-3) for scrutiny, which will be presented to the QAC and the Senate for information.


Please click here for the detailed QA Protocol.



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 4(a)  of the approval process involved and  Appendix 4(b)  for 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 elsewhere; and
  3. has been thoroughly thought out and adequately documented to offer a valuable educational experience to students and that the Programme Planning Team (PPT) is genuinely committed to it.


i.  Accreditation Process

Following the planning approval of the Academic Development Committee (ADC), a postal/on-site accreditation exercise would be required.   The Chair of the Quality Assurance Committee (QAC) will decide in consultation with the Dean/Director of Academy of Visual Arts (AVA) 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 and the Faculty/School/AVA/Department/Programme already has the required expertise and experience.  


An on-site accreditation exercise would normally last for two days (see Appendix 5 for a typical programme for the visit).  Depending on the complexity and nature of the programme, the duration of the accreditation may vary.



ii. Approval of the Senate

After the accreditation, the accreditation report, together with the PPT's response to the report, would be deliberated on by the Faculty/School/AVA Board. The Faculty/School/AVA Board^ would then submit its recommendations to the Senate via the QAC for approval.   For QF Level 4 programmes, the accreditation report and the PPT's response endorsed by the Faculty/School Board, would have to be submitted to the QAC and the Senate via the Quality Assurance Sub-Committee on Sub-degree Programmes (QASC) (QF Level 4).     


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



iii. 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 Chair of QAC shall decide on the composition of the panel, in consultation with the Dean/Director of AVA involved.
  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 non-local.  
  3. The 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 credibility, the panel members should not have close affiliation with the academic unit under review in the past three years.  


  1. Chair of the Panel

 For postal and on-site accreditations, the Panel Chair shall be an external member appointed by the Chair of QAC.


3.      Appointment Procedures

  1. The  PPT  is  requested  to  recommend  panel  membership  to  the Chair  of  QAC for approval. Curriculum vitae should be collected to ensure appropriateness of the nominees to serve on the panel. Endorsement of the Dean/Director of AVA is required prior to submission of the panel membership nomination (for collaborative programmes across Faculty/School/AVA, mutual endorsement of the relevant Deans/Director of AVA would be required).
  2. Following approval of the panel membership, the AQSS would issue the appointment letters. 


iv.  Accreditation Documentation

The accreditation documentation (i.e. 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, and programme intended learning outcomes (PILOs), etc.)
  2. programme structure and content
  3. general regulations
  4. quality assurance implementation
  5. programme administration and management
  6. staff development and research
  7. facilities and resources
  8. tuition fees
  9. course syllabi
  10. faculty CV


To ensure compliance with the University's requirements on outcomes-based teaching and learning (OBTL), the offering unit should approach the Centre for Holistic Teaching and Learning (CHTL) for advice on the presentation and arrangement of OBTL-related elements in the Programme Proposal, and have the recommended changes/enhancements incorporated in the Proposal prior to submission to the Accreditation Panel (via AQSS) for review.


Offering unit is also required to include in the relevant section of the Programme Proposal an acknowledgement of input from CHTL on OBTL-related matters.
Supplementary information can be attached to the accreditation documentation if considered helpful  The set of accreditation document (i.e. full programme proposal) should be considered and endorsed by the Faculty/School/AVA Board^ and forwarded to the Academic Quality Support Section (AQSS) of Academic Registry (AR) six to eight weeks before the scheduled visit dates for submission to the accreditation panel for perusal and preparation.  


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


Last updated on 14 September 2020