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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 as such programmes must be validated by QQI prior to delivery. Providers are asked to familiarise themselves with current QQI policies when preparing applications

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

published in 2016). 

The policies and criteria for validation apply to all apprenticeship, English Language Education and higher education programmes. Implementation in further education programmes, excluding ETBs, commenced on 1 December 2017. ETBs will also be transitioning to the current QQI policy. A national working group comprising representatives from ETBI, FESS, several ETBs and QQI has been established to develop a sectoral approach to implementation, and a separate timeline has been agreed as part of this process. For ETBs, the current QQI policy will apply to all programmes leading to major awards from 1 May 2018, and will apply to all other programmes from the 1 September 2018.

Note that this does not relate to revalidation of existing programmes. A process for revalidation has yet to be rolled out for FET programmes. Currently validated programmes, including those validated for more than five years, may continue being delivered under the new policy pending further communication from QQI.


Implementation of new Validation Policies and Criteria

During the adjustment period, providers are asked to contact QQI 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 Schedule for fees (2018) 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)

Application templates

Supplementary documents


Resources for Programmes leading to non-CAS awards 

For programmes leading to non-CAS awards, providers are asked to use the Programme Validation Manual for Programmes of HET and Apprenticeship template (available below), as it is best suited for the non-CAS award programme structure.
Please note that this type of programme should be developed using the relevant general purpose NFQ award-type descriptor, available below. 


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, subject to QQI's written approval.

This approval is expressed in Programme Approval Agreements (PAA). The existing agreements compatible with '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 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 current 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.