How to apply for accreditation of a degree course

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There are two time points each year for the receipt of applications for accreditation. These are 1 May and 1 November.

You will need to provide a portfolio of supporting evidence to demonstrate that your course meets the stated requirements.  Your submission should include:

  • Course Structure (section A on Evidence Form)
  • Entry requirements (sections B or C on Evidence Form)
  • Departmental/School/University Infrastructure (section D on Evidence Form)
  • Course Assessment (section E on Evidence Form)
  • Application form
  • Payee details and purchase order number

Much of this material may be included in the Course Handbook or similar document and so this information does not need to be duplicated; it can be cross-referenced to the appropriate part of the Course Handbook, etc.

FURTHER INFORMATION

Should you have any questions or need assistance in completing your application, contact Andrew Gardner

COST OF APPLYING FOR ACCREDITATION

Initial application

The cost of applying for the accreditation of a Bachelors or Masters degree is £2,500 for the first course submitted by a university then £2000 per subsequent course(s). If agreed the accreditation will last for 5 years.

Annual renewal

There will be an annual accreditation maintenance fee of £150 (as of 2016) and at this point the current Course Handbook should also be submitted. This annual accreditation maintenance will include the assessment of any programme/course changes during the accreditation period.

Five yearly renewal

After 5 years, or following a major change to the course structure and/or content, an application for renewal of accreditation (present fee: £2,500/£2,000) will be required.  If necessary, what constitutes a major change in course structure and/or content may be determined in consultation with IFST. Applications for more than one similar degree courses at the same time, where there is some commonality of course structure and content, will attract a discount.

Payment method

IFST will invoice your institution for payment. Please include payee details (including Purchase Order no, if required) on your application form. The results of the assessment will not be released until payment is received.

 

Course Structure (section A on evidence form)

Much of this information may be available in the Course Handbook.

  1. Attach a diagram/award map showing the programme/course structure, the titles of the compulsory and optional modules that comprise the programme/course along with their credit points and level of study within the programme/course.

  2. Is a Course Handbook available? If so please provide an electronic copy.

  3. Provide full module descriptions for all the compulsory and optional modules including descriptions of any practical elements and the weighting of theory and practical in the module assessment. What are the learning outcomes for individual modules?

  4. Are work-based placements compulsory or optional and are they short or 1 year placements? Is the duration optional? How are placements initiated, monitored and assessed?

  5. Do external speakers contribute to the course? Similarly, do external links contribute to the course? If so what is their value and how do these contribute to the programme/course?

  6. Are any additional qualifications attainable during the programme/course? Indicate what these are and how they are attained.

Entry Requirements for Bachelors Degrees (section B on evidence form)

Course entry requirements should indicate sound underpinning knowledge in subjects directly pertinent to the degree programme.

For Bachelors degrees it is expected that this will normally include 2 science subjects at “A” level, SQA Highers, Irish Leaving Certificate or equivalent with passes at GCSE, or equivalent, in English, Maths and 2 science subjects drawn from chemistry, biology, physics or double award science.

Information/evidence required

  1. What are the normal entry level qualifications?

  2. What levels of attainment at “A” level are accepted for entry? Do exceptional circumstances apply whereby applicants with substantial food industry/sector experience, but without formal qualifications, can be accepted for entry?

  3. What alternative entry level requirements do you accept?

  4. Are there any special arrangements for mature student entrance? Are Access qualifications included in the range of entry criteria? What are the arrangements/requirements for students to enter using Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) or Accreditation of Prior Experiential Learning (APEL) into each level of the programme/course?

  5.  Do you permit advanced entry/direct entry into year 2 or year 3? If so indicate the basis for entry to years 2 or 3.

  6. Do you interview students before offering a place? All applicants? Some applicants? How does this contribute to the decision to accept a student or not?

  7. Do you accept students from outside the UK? If so what transition arrangements do you have for these students entering the course/programme.

  8. Indicate the numbers of new students entering the course per annum over the last three academic years.

  9. Provide information on the entry qualifications of students to these courses from outside the UK.

 

Entry Requirements for Master's Degrees (Section C on Evidence Form)

Course entry requirements should indicate sound underpinning knowledge in subjects directly pertinent to the degree programme.

Many taught Master's degrees are conversion courses and entry requirements for these courses would normally be an Honours degree in a science or engineering degree related to the underpinning sciences for a food-related degree. In some cases a taught Masters course may be a significant extension beyond the material included in an Honours food-related degree; in these cases entry may also include an Honours degree in a food-related subject.

Information/evidence required

  1. What are the normal entry level qualifications?

  2. What alternative entry level requirements do you accept?

  3.  Can applicants without degree-level qualifications but with substantial food sector/industry experience be accepted? If so indicate the basis for their acceptance.

  4. Do you interview students before offering a place? All applicants? Some applicants? How does this contribute to the decision to accept a student or not?

  5. Do you accept students from outside the UK? If so what transition arrangements do you have for these students entering the course/programme.

  6. Indicate the numbers of new students entering the course per annum over the last three academic years.

  7. Provide information on the entry qualifications of students to these courses from outside the UK.

Departmental/School/University Infrastructure (section D on evidence form)

This section of the application form centres on the physical resources required to support teaching and learning, and information is required on library, IT and other specialist teaching facilities. Photographs may be submitted if considered appropriate.

  1. Give information on the library and computer/IT facilities available (including specialist textbooks and scientific journals). Where relevant indicate facilities available in relation to class size.

  2. Are Pilot Plant facilities available to support this degree course? If relevant please describe what is available and how these are used within particular modules.

  3. Describe any Sensory Evaluation facilities available, if relevant to the degree course, and how these are used to facilitate teaching and learning.

  4. Are any other specialist teaching facilities available?

  5. Please provide copies of the minutes (anonymised) of any Staff Student Consultative Committee meetings, or equivalent, for the last two academic years.

  6. What are the student views, as expressed in the National Student Surveys? Please provide the last two available reports.

Course Assessment (section E on evidence form)

Information/evidence required (both for individual modules and the overall course)

  1. Please provide copies of the last set of examination papers and outline answers

  2. How are distance-learning students assessed? What special arrangements are put in place?

  3. Please submit the last two years’ external examiners reports, anonymised

  4. How is the overall degree course assessment determined (examinations and coursework)?

  5. What were the employment, or other destinations, of course graduates over the last 3 years?

 

 

Request for Reconsideration of outcome & Appeals procedure

Reconsideration of outcome

An institution that has had an application for accreditation turned down may request that the decision be reconsidered. This request should be received, in writing, by IFST within one calendar month of the date of the decision.

Normally such a request may only be made on the following grounds:

  • information that may have influenced an accreditation decision, and which was not included in the application, has become available.
  • information in the application documentation was not properly taken into account.
  • the accreditation process was not properly carried out by IFST.

The request will be considered by the Accreditation Assessment Panel who will consider the grounds for the request against the procedure followed; in essence, this will be a reassessment of the accreditation application. The outcome, including the reasons for the outcome, will be communicated to the institution. If the institution accepts the outcome the matter will be considered resolved.

Appeals procedure

If the institution is not satisfied with the outcome, it may formally appeal the decision by writing to IFST, within a calendar month of receiving the decision, setting out the grounds of their dissatisfaction and asking for reconsideration.  A fee of £150 will be payable, which will be refunded should the appeal be successful.

The appeal will be considerd by an Appeal Panel set up by IFST which will be independent of the original Accreditation Assessment Panel. This Appeal Panel will reassess all of the information provided, including any supplementary evidence submitted by the appellant, and it can take evidence from the Accreditation Assessment Panel, to determine the processes followed and how decisions were reached. The Appeal Panel may uphold the original decision or ask the Accreditation Assessment Panel to reconsider its recommendation.

The outcome of the appeals process will be communicated back to the institution in writing.

There is no further right of appeal and no further correspondence will be entered into regarding the appeal.

 

 

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