Collaborative provision

Frequently asked questions

Submitting new partnership or programme proposals

All new collaborative arrangements need to go through an initial approval process.  It is important that this process happens before any commitment is made to the prospective partner institution or to student(s).

If the proposal is to set up a collaborative programme, then approval in principle for the partnership must first be secured through an institutional review, before the programme goes through the University’s programme approval process.

Proposals for new educational partnerships apply to the Quality Support Unit who will take forward the development of the proposal, with support from professional services. A Link Tutor will be allocated to provide guidance on academic issues and is a member of University staff with appropriate knowledge, skills and sufficient time available to undertake the role. If a proposal for a new partnership is successful, the role of Link Tutor will involve liaising with counterparts at the partner institution(s) to ensure the successful maintenance of the partnership, and ensuring the partnership is managed and delivered in accordance with the collaborative Agreement and with the University’s quality assurance procedures.

The Collaborative Development Team is the first point of contact if you are thinking of developing a new educational partnership, and can guide you through the approval process, bringing in support from other professional services as needed.

Yes. The Collaborative Development Team would be happy to discuss any proposals over the telephone or in person, however, it is normally better for us to receive your email proposal in the first instance so that we can undertake some preliminary research in advance. We can then liaise with you to arrange suitable time to meet or discuss proposal.

The Royal Agricultural University is responsible for assuring the academic standards of its awards and the quality of learning opportunities for its students, regardless of who is involved in the delivery of its educational provision or where it takes place.  No student should be disadvantaged in terms of the quality of learning opportunities delivered collaboratively with other institutions, in comparison with those delivered solely by the University.

It is therefore essential, when working with external partners to deliver learning opportunities, to ensure that all organisations involved have a clear and explicit understanding of their roles and responsibilities, and to identify and take steps to mitigate any potential risks.

Chapter B10 of the QAA Quality Code, Managing higher education provision with others (2012), sets out the Expectation that UK higher education providers are required to meet in order to assure academic standards and quality in the context of collaborative educational provision.

The approval process is designed to ensure that the University has a coordinated approach to the development of its partnerships and an opportunity to assess associated benefits and risks, and can ensure that collaborative provision is appropriately planned, resourced and managed.

Please contact the Collaborative Development Team at an early stage for advice and to discuss any potential proposal. Some initial questions to think about are:

  • Why would it be beneficial to work together at this time?
  • Does the University have any prior experience of working with you?
  • What are the timescales involved in getting the proposal approved (e.g. is there a deadline to bid for external funding)?
  • Is there a new programme or major change to an existing programme that would need to be approved as part of the proposal?
  • What would the respective roles and responsibilities be of the University and your organisation, e.g. in relation to teaching, assessment, supervision, student support, location of delivery?
  • What sort of financial and resource implications might there be for this proposal?

We will attempt to review and respond to new partnership proposals within appropriate timescales, notwithstanding university closures over Christmas or other holiday periods. 

If your proposal could be of mutual benefit to our two institutions, and matches the RAU’s mission statement, the Collaborative Development Team will contact you to outline the next steps of the process. We will also provide you with a named contact at the Royal Agricultural University so that you are given specific guidance at each step along the way.

Partner and programme approval

The Royal Agricultural University follows the procedures as outlined in our Teaching Quality Handbook.

Requests for programme authorisation are managed through the appropriate committee, as detailed in our Teaching Quality Handbook.

We normally undertake all approval events for new partners on location at the partner institution, at a date to be agreed in advance. The Royal Agricultural University will send a small team of staff along with an external panel member from another university. We will work with you in the months leading up to the approval event and to create the documentation needed for the event.

Approved partners may begin to advertise collaborative programmes after the appropriate committee has authorised the programme(s). However, any advertising must make clear that the programme is still subject to validation/approval, and draft marketing material must be approved in advance of publication by the Collaborative Development Officer.


We do not charge partners a fee to review initial proposals. We may however ask a prospective partner to cover costs of airfares and hotel accommodation if we need to visit your institution in advance of, or during, the partner approval process; these fees would be discussed and agreed in advance of any travel taking place.

In addition, we are able to arrange temporary consultancy agreements if needed, for a fee. Please contact the Collaborative Development Team should you wish to discuss this further.

New partner approval events are required to take place on location at the partner’s site. It is normally expected that partners should cover the costs of travel for the approval panel, plus hotel and external panel member fees. These fees should also be paid in advance of the approval event.

Yes - dependent upon the model. We have 2 models, franchise or pure validation. Minimum fees apply. Discussions about fees would however take place fairly early, and partners would also be expected to commit to paying a minimum annual fee for the collaboration each year, regardless of the numbers of students recruited

You are responsible for paying fees to the Royal Agricultural University. The RAU will produce invoices annually dependent upon the partnership model, usually in second term of delivery. Full information will be included in the Memorandum of Agreement, including the expected dates of payment.