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Email: academicoffice@ulster.ac.uk


Credit-Bearing Short Courses

Students may be enrolled to take individual, already approved, modules from award-bearing courses on a stand-alone basis. In addition short courses which are assessed may be allocated credit points in accordance with the University’s modular and credit structures.

Faculties are authorised to determine the credit value, level and period of validity for such modules in accordance with their own processes.  There should be appropriate externality in these approval arrangements.  Five credit points is the minimum size allowed for such credit-bearing short-course modules, unless they are part of an awarding-bearing course, in which case it is 10 points.

Where new modules are also to be part of award-bearing courses or undergraduate Honours subjects, or contribute to either the Certificate of Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) or Postgraduate Certificate of Professional Development award frameworks, they are introduced using the Course Revision process - CA3 (CMS). For stand-alone credit-bearing modules which are not to be part of an existing course, or one of these frameworks, a Credit-bearing Short Course Form is used - (CA9 (CMS).  The form should be submitted at least eight weeks before the course is due to commence.  The processes associated with the CPPD and Postgraduate Certificate of Professional Development are set out below.

The records of accredited short-course modules and student performance are from 2011/12 included in the University’s module database and student records system. Students are enrolled on a special Faculty short-course code (“credit-bearing modules”) or CPPD or Postgraduate Certificate of Professional Development code (see below) depending on the module's status within or outside one of these frameworks.  Module enrolment lists, broadsheets and transcripts are available from the main student records system.  Students taking short courses or individual modules are formally ‘Occasional Students’ not ‘Registered Students’.  The latter term is reserved for students studying for named awards. Occasional Students have access to University resources in accordance with the requirements of the short course.  The loan quota from the Library is smaller than that for Registered Students.  Membership of the Students' Union is not automatic.

Faculties establish appropriate boards to consider student performance.  (These are not formally part of the Boards of Examiners for award-bearing provision.)  Externality in the moderation of assessment is achieved through external examiner oversight.

Faculty Boards monitor their short course activity and may receive annual reports to include information on new modules, student enrolment and performance.  Access, Digital and Distributed Learning provides an annual report on University activity to the Learning and Teaching Committee.

Certificate of Personal and Professional Development and Postgraduate Certificate of Professional Development

The Certificate of Personal and Professional Development (CPPD) provides an award framework for credit-bearing short-course modules at levels 3 and 4 and the Postgraduate Certificate of Professional Development does so at level 7.  The following statements apply to modules within these frameworks.

The Certificate and Postgraduate Certificate are not intended to represent integrated programmes of study although students may choose to take modules in related areas.  They are separate awards within the University’s Qualifications and Credit Framework for the accumulation of credit from approved modules.  (Where faculties develop modules amounting to 60 credit points with overall coherence in a programme of study and where they anticipate that cohorts of students will take the full diet, a distinct certificate award should be proposed in accordance with the process for award-bearing courses.)

Faculty approval of new short-course modules at level 3, 4 or 7 which are eligible to contribute to one of these awards is notified by a CA3 form through the Curriculum Management System.  A special PPD prefix is used in the module code unless the module also contributes to an award-bearing course. CASC and Access, Digital and Distributed Learning are informed of the Faculty’s introduction of the module.  Approval of modules developed by central departments is overseen by Access, Digital and Distributed Learning through its Accredited Professional Development Management Board, which also maintains oversight of the Certificate and Postgraduate Certificate.

There are no general entry requirements for CPPD modules, although specific requirements may be set.  For modules within the Postgraduate Certificate, applicants must hold a degree and meet any other specified requirements.  Students initially enrol on the framework code attached to the faculty of the first module of study; subsequent study can be chosen from any faculty offering associated PPD modules.  Students who accumulate 60 credit points are eligible for the award of the Certificate of Personal and Professional Development or Postgraduate Certificate of Professional Development.  In such cases the Faculty may wish to consider the award as an appropriate access route to further study, with or without exemptions, subject to fulfilment of entry requirements. 

Only exceptionally are undergraduate modules from existing award-bearing courses approved to contribute to the CPPD framework.  Existing modules are accepted within the postgraduate framework.  They must be explicitly added using a CA3 form.

Short-course modules are available to current registered students who may wish to take modules in addition to those within their award-bearing programmes.  Such modules are attached to the students’ existing records and will appear on their transcripts.  They cannot be substituted for modules in their main programme of study.

Generally existing external examiners and boards of examiners for courses or subjects or credit-bearing modules take responsibility for Faculty modules, but a ‘chief’ external examiner assumes responsibility for centrally delivered modules and also participates in the boards of examiners which confirm results and makes recommendations for final CPPD or Postgraduate Certificate awards.

Management of this provision is undertaken by a Programme Committee comprising Faculty co-ordinators  and a Programme Director from the Access, Digital and Distributed Learning Department.  ADDL monitors students’ accumulation of credit. Advisers of studies are not assigned to students; guidance is provided through the module co-ordinator, Faculty co-ordinator or Programme Director as appropriate.  Module monitoring and student feedback are obtained by using the existing range of methods.

Students have access to the full range of student and information services, including borrowing and electronic access in the library.

Non credit-bearing Short Courses

Faculties may offer short courses with no academic credit.  They manage these arrangements through their own processes or use the services of the Business Support Unit in Access, Digital and Distributed Learning.  It will draw up an activity contract with the sponsoring faculty.  This includes costings and quality assurance (such as arrangements for obtaining feedback from sponsors and/or participants).  As Occasional Students, non-credit-bearing short course students have access to University resources in accordance with the requirements of the short course.

Credit Rating of External Courses

External organisations may seek to have their own short courses assigned academic credit by the University.  This service may be offered at a Faculty’s discretion (if it has the academic expertise in the subject area concerned).  Procedures have been approved for the School of Nursing (see Academic Office website, Policies, under credit rating) and faculties should model their own arrangement on these.  The Faculty may make a charge for this service. 

The arrangements below are distinct from those where an employer's staff development courses are brought into the University's credit framework and employees become students of the University as a sub-set of the outcentre model (see Partnership Handbook, section Z).

The external organisation presents its course in a format modelled on the University’s standard module description and provides information on resources, quality assurance and external examination to a School/Faculty panel.  That panel, which seeks external views, confirms an academic credit level and volume in accordance with the University’s Qualification and Credit Framework, and sets a period of validity, at the end of which the course may be re-presented for continuing endorsement.

The University and Faculty are not responsible for ongoing quality assurance nor for records of participants in the course.  The external organisation issues its own statements of successful completion.  The Faculty advises on any wording to be used to indicate its endorsement of the standard of the course.

 The Faculty may advise on possible progression routes to courses at the University.

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