Section 8.3 - Key Principles

The QAA Quality Code sets out the following expectation in relation to ‘Partnerships’, which the University is expected to meet:

 “Providers work in partnership with a wide range of organisations, including awarding bodies, other education providers, non-academic providers (or those whose purpose is not primarily education) and employers. When doing so, awarding bodies retain responsibility for the academic standards of their awards and for the quality of the student experience.”


Expectations for standards:

  • The academic standards of courses meet the requirements of the relevant national qualifications framework.
  • The value of qualifications awarded to students at the point of qualification and over time is in line with sector-recognised standards.

When working in partnership, the awarding organisation retains responsibility for the academic standards of its awards, ensuring that the threshold standards for its qualifications are consistent with the relevant national qualification frameworks.

When working in partnership, the awarding organisation retains responsibility for ensuring that academic standards at, and beyond, the threshold level are reasonably comparable with those achieved by other UK providers.

Expectations for quality:

  • Courses are well-designed, provide a high-quality academic experience for all students and enable a student’s achievement to be reliably assessed.
  • From admission through to completion, all students are provided with the support that they need to succeed in and benefit from higher education.

When working in partnership, the awarding organisation retains responsibility for ensuring that all aspects of the student’s academic experience from admissions through to outcomes can be considered high-quality. The awarding organisation is also responsible for ensuring that enhancement opportunities are available to students.

When working in partnership, the awarding organisation retains responsibility for ensuring that student needs are consistently met.


UK Quality Code for Higher Education – Advice and Guidance: Partnerships; 29 November 2018; QAA.

In achieving this, the University has adopted the following key principles which underpin its policy for developing collaborative partnership arrangements:

  • All Partnership activities must be consistent with the overarching strategic aims of the University, including the International Strategy, and comply with established standards and principles for the development of collaborative provision;
  • Partnership activities will be developed with high quality partners who share with the University a vision and strategy for delivering high quality research led teaching.

Collaborative Partnership Provision must:

  1. enhance the reputation of the University as well as the proposing Faculty; and/or
  2. widen access to quality Higher Education, engaging communities in learning and the advancement of knowledge;
  • The awarding institution (typically Aberystwyth) takes ultimate responsibility for the academic standards and quality of learning delivered on its behalf wherever this takes place and by whomever this is undertaken;
  • Partnership provision must ensure an equivalent, or higher, academic quality and student experience. No collaborative activity may undermine the standing of the education or qualifications offered by the University.
  • Partnership provision must be financially sustainable and subject to a legally binding agreement setting out the fiscal terms of the arrangements;
  • Partnership activities are subject to the development, approval and review processes outlined in the Quality Handbook, including annual monitoring, periodic review and renewal/termination procedures as appropriate;
  • Partnership provision must be in a field in which the University has expertise and comparable programmes, and must involve the active engagement of relevant University department(s). The programme may also be the whole or part of one or more of the University’s own approved programmes.
  • The educational objectives of a partner organisation must be compatible with those of the University. The University will assure itself that any potential partner institution has the appropriate academic infrastructure and support services to ensure that the required standards of quality management and enhancement are established and maintained.
  • Partner institutions must have robust governance procedures in place in order to follow necessary quality assurance processes;
  • Ensure that all elements of a collaborative programme are delivered and assessed in English or Welsh unless that element is a non-English/Welsh course.

The University does not engage in serial arrangements for the delivery of collaborative provision. Any proposals for arrangements of this type will not be approved. A serial arrangement occurs when the delivery organisation (through an arrangement of its own) offers whole programmes (franchised to it or validated by Aberystwyth as the degree-awarding body) elsewhere or assigns to another party powers delegated to it by the degree-awarding body.