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What are Course Specifications?

The QAA describes course specifications as “a concise description of the intended outcomes of learning from a higher education course, and the means by which these outcomes are achieved and demonstrated.”1 Each specification sets out the factual information including the level of the qualification received upon completion, the date of the course’s last internal review and any relevant professional or statutory body accreditation. Central to each specification are overall course aims and the learning outcomes. Learning outcomes can best be described as the skills or knowledge a student will possess upon successful completion of the course. A course specification should describe the outcomes which will be achieved and demonstrated through assessment or coursework by all students successfully completing the course.

Course specifications must take account of elements of the Quality Assurance Agency’s “academic infrastructure”, comprising:

Subject Benchmark Statements

Framework for Higher Education Qualifications

QAA Code of Practice

1 Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, Guidelines for preparing programme specifications, 2000