Validation Policies and Criteria
Validation is a quality assurance process intended to ensure that a proposed programme can enable a learner to acquire and demonstrate the necessary knowledge, skill or competence to justify the award(s) being offered in respect of that programme.
All new programmes intended to offer QQI awards must first be validated by QQI.
Providers intending to apply for validation of a new programme(s) of higher education will find information on preparing an application in Unit 5 of QQI's Policies and Criteria for the Validation of Programmes of Education and Training.
Providers may apply for validation of a single programme, or of a principal programme with one or more embedded programmes. Links to resources and templates are set out below.
Applications for a new validation should comprise
• a programme document
• a self-evaluation against QQI criteria
• evidence of PEL arrangements
• the relevant fee
Programme Review and Revalidation
If a provider intends to continue to enroll learners on a programme for which the last intake date approved at validation has expired, the provider must
• review and evaluate the programme as it has been implemented
• update and revise the programme, addressing any identified deficiencies and taking opportunities for improvement
• apply for revalidation
The review process leading to revalidation of programmes is an important part of a provider’s approved quality assurance procedures.
When reviewing a validated programme / suite of programmes, the provider will conduct an internal evaluation of the programme involving all relevant stakeholders. The effectiveness of this self-evaluation must itself be assessed by an independent panel, appointed by the provider and approved by QQI, which will also evaluate any revised programme(s) against the criteria for validation.
The report produced by the independent panel must be submitted to QQI with the application for revalidation.
Terms of reference for the review of a programme / suite of programmes must be proposed to QQI one year in advance of the last intake date approved at validation for the programme(s) concerned.
Any provider planning a programme review should contact the validation unit in QQI.
Revalidation occurs when QQI validates a programme that has evolved from a previously validated programme.
Following a positive programme review, a provider will document a revised programme which addresses any identified deficiencies and makes necessary updates to content, methodologies, quality assurance etc.
This revised programme will be presented to the independent panel for evaluation against QQI criteria for validation. Any further conditions made by the panel will be addressed by the provider.
Applications for revalidation should comprise • programme review report• programme document for revised programme, including a self-evaluation against QQI criteria• Independent evaluation report on the revised programme including commentary on the programme review • evidence of PEL arrangements
• the relevant fee
The programme and the final independent evaluation report will be submitted to QQI for validation.
Resources for making applications for Validation or Revalidation
Programme Validation Manual for Programmes of HET and Apprenticeships (FET and HET)(Edition 3, 2018)
Template for a Programme Schedule Stage
Fee Cover note HET
Programme Review Manual
Protection for Enrolled Learners (PEL) - Information
Schedule for fees Click here to use our fees calculator.
Devolved Responsibility for parts of the validation process
QQI may devolve some responsibility for arranging the independent evaluation report to a provider applying for programme validation.
Further details are available in
Unit 6.2 of Core Policies and Criteria for the Validation of Programmes of Education and Training
Devolution of Responsibility :Operational procedures
Additional Resources for Programmes of Higher Education and Training
Please refer to the following documents in order to ensure that any new programme conforms to policy.
QQI Policies and Guidelines – Awards and Standards
QQI Policies and Guidelines – Access, Transfer and Progression
QQI QA Guidelines
- ISCED Fields of Learning Classification
Resources for Independent Evaluators of Programmes
Evaluator Roles, Responsibilities and Independence
- Roles, Responsibilities and Code of Conduct for Reviewers and Evaluators (V1, 2018)
- Conflict of interest and Confidentiality Form 2018
Transitional arrangements – research degree programmes, collaborative programmes and transnational programmes
If there are any inconsistencies, current policies and criteria will apply.