Validation is a regulatory process that determines if a QQI award can be offered in respect of a provider’s programme of education and training.
Education and training programmes validated by QQI:
- lead to QQI awards at all levels in the National Framework of Qualifications;
- are offered in a range of educational contexts (for example Further Education and Training (FET), Higher Education and Training (HET), professional education and apprenticeship, English Language Education (ELE), and research education and training);
- can involve diverse modes of delivery (including collaborative, transnational and e-learning).
QQI accepts applications for the validation of education and training programmes. To be considered for validation by QQI, programmes must be developed in relation to QQI policies and criteria.
See the further reading panel on the right of this page for information on different classes of programmes.
Providers without an existing relationship with QQI who wish to offer QQI approved programme must first apply for initial access to validation. There are several prerequisites that must be meet before initial access applications are considered. More information on this process is available on our Initial Access to Programme Validation page here.
Validation Policies and Criteria
New policies and criteria for validation were established and published in May 2016. These are presented in two documents: ‘Core Policies and Criteria for the Validation by QQI of Programmes of Education and Training’, and the ‘Policies and Criteria for the validation of programmes leading to Common Awards Systems (CAS) awards’. Both these documents can be found in one volume entitled ‘Policies and criteria for the validation of programmes of education and training (2016)’.
These new policies are currently implemented for all HET programmes; apprenticeship programmes leading to NFQ levels 5 to 9 QQI awards; and ELE programmes leading to QQI awards.
The new policies and criteria will be implemented for all FET programme (excluding apprenticeships programmes) which lead to Common Award Standard awards (CAS awards) from 1 December 2017.
Transition into New Policies and Criteria
In the further education and training sector, the new policies and criteria will be implemented for all programmes (excluding apprenticeship programmes) from 1 December 2017.
Until this date a transition period
during which the phased introduction of the new policies will continue. The transitional arrangements are set out in Unit 16
of Core Policies and Criteria for Validation
Providers will be required to develop supplementary policies, criteria, procedures, guidelines, protocols and conventions under the new policies and criteria. During this transition period certain legacy policies, criteria, procedures, guidelines, protocols and conventions will continue to be used (amended if necessary) until they are replaced.
You can find more information about this on our Application for Validation (FET) page here.
Applying for Programme Validation
Validation of New Programmes
QQI has established a unified set of core policies and criteria for validation. These are augmented for some types of programmes by specialised policies and criteria. The new policies and criteria for validation apply to all types of programmes of education and training leading to awards at all levels in the National Framework of Qualifications (NFQ).
Criteria for preparing an application for validation is outlined in Unit 5
of the Core Policies and Criteria for Validation
document. Applications for new programmes must be made through QBS, which is accessible through this website.
Revalidation is QQI’s process of validating a programme that has emerged or evolved from a programme that had been previously validated by QQI. This process is required for any programme that is to continue to enrol learners following expiry of the duration of enrolment (typically five years).
Revalidation provides an opportunity to substantially update and modify the original programme. For more information see Unit 13 of Core Policies and Criter for Validation.
Scope of provision
When applying for programme validation providers should note that access to validation for all providers is limited by the approved scope of provision. The approved scope of provision is established for new providers following an initial application to access validation. For providers who already have a current relationship with QQI, the approved scope of provision is taken to be the scope of their currently validated programmes at the time of the commencement of this policy unless otherwise determined by QQI. See Unit 4.2 and Unit 4.3 of Core Policies and Criteria for Validation for more information.
Review and Withdrawal of Validation by QQI
Appeals and Complaints
Information about making an appeal against refusal or withdrawal of validation is available on our Appeals page here. Information about QQI's complaint's procedure can be found here.