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Application for Validation (FET)

Policies and Criteria for Validation

Providers are required to submit programme(s) leading to CAS awards to QQI for validation prior to offering them to learners. Such programmes must be validated by QQI prior to delivery. New policies and criteria for validation were established and published in May 2016. Providers are asked to familiarise themselves with the new policies.

The new policies and criteria are in one volume entitled Policies and Criteria for the Validation of Programmes of Education and Training (2016).
This volume contains two documents: 
       - Core Policies and Criteria for the Validation by QQI of Programmes of Education and Training
       - Policies and Criteria for the validation of programmes leading to Common Awards Systems (CAS) awards


The new Policy and Criteria 2016 have been applied to higher education and apprenticeship programmes since May 2016.  Implementation in further education programmes, excluding ETBs, since 1 December 2017.

ETBs will also be transitioning to the new policy. To facilitate this transition a national working group with QQI has been established to develop a sectoral approach to implementation, a separate timeline will be determined and agreed through this process.

Note: this does not relate to revalidation of existing programmes. For more information on revalidation see Unit 13 of Core Policies and Criteria for Validation.


Implementation of new Validation Policies and Criteria

During the adjustment period, providers are asked to contact QQI initially before preparing a programme for submission for validation under the new policy. QQI will be available for one-on-one meetings and policy workshops for providers will be offered early in the new year.
New application templates have been developed for use in conjunction with the new policies and criteria, available below. Please note that these are draft documents, and all feedback is welcome. The previously existing templates are not compatible with the new policies and criteria and should not be used.


The purpose of the template document is to help applicants present their applications and programmes consistently and systematically. It is the applicant’s sole responsibility to ensure that all the criteria are addressed and all template sections are complete.
Programme applications must be submitted via QBS.


Applications must include:


  •  Summary details of the programme;
  •  Detailed information on the programme using QQI’s programme descriptor templates;
  •  Self-Evaluation of the programme against the validation criteria
  •  Details of the arrangements in place, where applicable, for the Protection for Enrolled Learners in the event that the  provider ceases, or fails, to provide the validated programme.
  •  Fee cover note – QQI will use this to generate the invoice for validation fees payable.
Note: The validation fee must be paid before an application will be processed.


Please see QQI Fees Schedule for details of current charges. 

Resources for Programmes leading to CAS awards (under new policy) 

Resources for Programmes leading to CAS awards (from December 1st 2017)


Programme Approval Agreements (Transitional Arrangements)

Under the 2014 policy providers of FET programmes leading to CAS awards can be granted responsibility for managing parts of the programme validation process in subject to QQI's written approval.

This approval is expressed in Programme Approval Agreements (PAA). The existing agreements compatible to 'Policy and Criteria for The Validation of Further Education and Training Programme Leading to CAS Awards (2013-2014)' will expire as this policy is phased out. Currently Teagasc and the ETBs (Education and Training Boards) have PAAs in place.

The PAA allows for programmes to be designed, developed and evaluated by these organisations, in accordance with QQI's FET-validation policy and criteria. The decision on whether to validate remains with QQI.

Under the new policies and criteria QQI may devolve some responsibility to the provider concerned for arranging the independent evaluation report. See unit 6.2 of  Core Policies and Criteria for the Validation by QQI of Programmes of Education and Training (2016)