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Education Quality and Policy Office


(page last reviewed 15 March 2022)

The information on this page provides guidance for the creation of new degree courses and should also be followed when making substantial amendments to existing courses.  This encompasses all undergraduate and postgraduate degrees, including Triposes, MPhils, MSts, doctorates and other postgraduate courses, certificates or diplomas.

In the context of this guidance, "substantial revisions" includes the introduction of one or more new teaching areas to an existing course, significant structural changes (e.g., changing IA/IB/II to I/IIA/IIB) and changes to current provision which have resource implications for the Faculty, Department or School (all of which must lend support to the proposal).

Applicable bodies

Consultation with, and in some cases approval of, the following bodies will be required; note that where approval is granted the relevant body is confirming it has considered and has no concerns about the following areas: 

Body Approval or consultation Primary interests
Council of the School approval student numbers, resources, financial viability, strategic planning
Faculty Board approval impact on current arrangements, resources, strategic planning, course structure, pedagogical drivers
Degree Committee approval (graduate and postgraduate courses only) impact on current arrangements, resources, strategic planning, course structure, pedagogical drivers
Senior Tutors' Committee approval (where the proposal has implications for College teaching) student numbers, College resources, student experience; will generally request evidence that Directors of Studies have been consulted on the proposal
External advisor with appropriate subject expertise approval independent and objective assessment of the proposal, with particular respect to the UK Higher Education sector
Academic & Financial Planning & Analysis consultation financial viability, student numbers, reporting
Student Registry consultation student reporting, examination arrangements, course setup
Admissions Offices (graduate and undergraduate) consultation timing for launch, course setup, prospectus information, marketing
Academic Standards and Enhancement Committee (ASEC) / Postgraduate Committee (PGC) approval Approval by ASEC/PGC is required for all new courses, and must be granted before any course may be advertised


All proposals for taught courses must be made to the Academic Standards and Enhancement Committee (ASEC), a sub-committee of the General Board's Education Committee, and proposals for research course to the Postgraduate Committee (PC).

The New Course Approval Form must be submitted together with the required information listed in each form. Courses involving a collaborative element with a partner institution should complete both the New Course Approval Form and the Collaborative Education Form.

NB: The forms have recently been updated. If you have already begun to use the previous version of the form (dated Oct 2018) for a new course please contact your Liaison Officer who can advise.

If you are proposing a new premium fee category, you will need to make a special case. A consolidated list of fees (cam-only) is available from the Planning and Resources Allocation Office.

All proposals must be accompanied by confirmation of approval by the following bodies: 

  • Faculty Board
  • Degree Committee (for postgraduate courses)
  • School (usually Council of the School, but some Schools will also require appropriate Undergraduate/Postgraduate Committee approval as well)

New MSt courses, diplomas or certificates will also require approval by the Institute of Continuing Education prior to receipt by ASEC.

For taught courses, as and when the proposal has received approval from ASEC, a Notice must be published in the Reporter. The Notice will include both the Special Regulations for the examination and a brief description of the course.  

Your Education Quality and Policy Liaison Officer is always willing to discuss and comment on proposals in draft, and you should involve them at a very early stage in planning.  


It is difficult to give a precise timetable, as each case is different and dependent on many variables.  However, the lead time for new courses is likely to be a minimum of two years, and may be much longer, between first raising the idea and first admitting students.  Commitments to current students and those who have already been accepted through the admissions process (including deferred entry) must also be considered.  Changes to existing courses which impact on Prospectus information that has already been published are highly unlikely to be approved, so the publication timescale plays a major part in the approval process.  In a best-case scenario, for a proposal first raised in the Michaelmas Term it is unlikely that necessary internal process will be completed at least until the end of the Easter Term.  Particularly innovative or non-standard courses may require lengthy internal consultation prior to approval.  

Your Education Quality and Policy Liaison Officer will be able to advise on a precise timeline for the course you are proposing. 

The Admissions Offices should be kept informed of proposed new courses, and can advise on the timescale of changes to Prospectus information. 

Visit our Committee dates page to find key committee dates and download a waterfall diagram of the approval process.