Our approach to the quality framework

The Quality Framework for the University consists of a number of elements, all designed to deliver academic programmes of a high academic standard and a high-quality student learning experience. 

Our approach

The University is an institution of higher education established by Royal Charter in 1966. The Charter is the instrument of governance of the University and sets the University's objects in the pursuit of learning and the advancement and dissemination of knowledge. 

The Statutes and Ordinances provide detailed information about the running of the University in terms of its governance. They present information on the roles and responsibilities of the officers of the University, including the Chancellor, the Pro-Chancellor and the Chief Operating Officer, and also about the core statutory bodies and committees.

The Regulations provide information on the framework under which the academic activities of the University are carried out. They are structured into two broad areas: academic regulations which govern programmes of study and student regulations which govern student behaviour and procedures for student complaints and appeals. Codes of practice set out policy and provide operational advice on how a range of processes are carried out. They are the key components of the University's Quality Framework.

Regulations and codes of practice are considered and approved via the academic governance structure. The senior University committee with responsibility for academic standards and quality is Senate. Committees with quality assurance responsibilities reporting to Senate are the University Education  Committee (UEC), the Senate Progression and Conferment Executive (SPACE) and the University Research Degrees Committee (URDC). Terms of reference for Senate Sub-committees and the substructure below that are available in the Code of practice for academic governance.

University Education Committee

The University Education Committee (UEC) has responsibility for considering and formulating University policy and strategy relating to the development, evaluation, quality assurance and enhancement of teaching and learning.

UEC agendas, papers and minutes are available to members of the University via the QAPD Sharepoint Site.

Senate Progression and Conferment Executive

The Senate Progression and Conferment Executive (SPACE) is responsible, on behalf of Senate, for agreeing the award of degrees, diplomas and certificates attained on completion of taught programmes of study and for considering decisions on the progress and assessment of students.

University Research and Innovation Committee (URIC) has responsibility for considering and formulating University policy and strategy relating to the development, evaluation, quality assurance and enhancement of postgraduate research degree provision.

The University is structured into three faculties each led by an Executive Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor who is the locus of responsibility for academic quality and standards. The internal structures of faculties vary but each is comprised of a number of departments, divisions, schools and research centres.

In practice, the Executive Dean and Pro Vice-Chancellor devolves day-to-day responsibilities for certain functions to identified roles such as Associate Dean (Education), Associate Dean (International), Associate Dean (Research and Innovation), Associate Dean (Doctoral College), Faculty Postgraduate Research Director, Faculty Senior Professional Training Tutor, Head of Department (or other organisational unit). Other roles at local level include Director of Learning and Teaching, Programme Leader, Module Leader, School/Department Senior Professional Training Tutor, Personal Tutors, School/Department/Centre Postgraduate Research Director, Chair of the Board of Studies, Chair of the Board of Examiners.

Further information is set out in the Roles and responsibilities for faculty staff involved in learning, teaching and postgraduate research student support.

Faculties are required to operate within the University's regulatory and quality assurance framework. Local policies and practices can supplement those of the University but not supersede them. Operationalisation of University regulations, procedures and codes of practice works via faculty governance structures.

Faculty Learning and Teaching Committees (FLTCs) report to the UEC via their Associate Dean (Education). Boards of Studies oversee individual programmes or clusters of programmes and the related Boards of Examiners and report into FLTCs. Boards of Examiners also have a reporting line to SPACE.  

Faculty Research Degrees Committees (FRDCs) report to the Doctoral College Board (DCB) via their Associate Dean (Doctoral College).

The strategic direction of the University is embodied in the Corporate Strategy: 2017-22 which sets out the University's mission and vision. In terms of learning and teaching this is translated in more detail in the Education Strategy: 2018-22 which dovetails with the Global Strategy: 2018-22.  

The Student Experience Strategy outlines the University's values and approach to working together, through our academic community and professional services, to ensure we achieve shared ambitions in all areas.

QAA Quality Code

Working with professional, statutory and regulatory bodies (PSRBs)

A large number of programmes are required to or choose to gain accreditation from a PSRB. The requirements of such bodies play an important part in curriculum design and the ongoing delivery of programmes. Where feasible the reporting requirements of PSRBs and those of the University are aligned. There may be occasions when the requirements of a PSRB do not match with the requirements of the University regulations. Such cases will be considered on their individual merits at validation and periodic ehnancement and a case made to Senate to allow exemption from the relevant University regulation(s).

Collaborative partners

The University works with a range of collaborative partners which enriches the University offering and enhances employability. Such collaborations include dual degrees, validated provision at our accredited institutions, placements, student exchanges, collaborative research degree programmes and supervision. The Code of practice for collaborative provision sets out how such partnerships operate and the Code of practice for Professional Training covers the Professional Training placements.

QAA UK Quality Code for Higher Education

The UK Quality Code for Higher Education is a key reference point for UK higher education, protecting the public and student interest, and championing UK higher education's world-leading reputation for quality. It provides advice and guidance in terms of both core and common practice and expected minimum threshold standards for the design and delivery of higher education provision.

The Office for Students

The Office for Students (OfS) aims to ensure that every student, whatever their background, has a fulfilling experience of higher education that enriches their lives and careers.  The is partially achieved by their regulatory framework, which has been designed to mitigate risk and provide guidance for registered higher education providers on the ongoing conditions of registration and by appointing an organisation to carry out quality and standards assessment functions to support the OfS' regulatory process.  The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) was appointed to carry out this function in April 2018.  One quality and standards assessment function is the Quality and Standards Review (QSR); the OfS notifies a provider if a QSR is required and the QAA provide evidence to the OfS as to whether the provider meets one or more of the core practices of the Quality Code for Higher Education.

Student support mechanisms

The University provides a range of support services and mechanisms so that students can be helped to achieve their full potential and are given specialist support when they need it. This includes personal tutoring, personal development planning, careers advicehealth and wellbeing servicesmoney advice.  

Disability and Neurodiversity offers a confidential support service for any student requiring additional support. It assists students with applying for disabled students allowance, manages applications for examination adjustments and can provide one-to-one learning support sessions.

Learning resources

The Library and Learning Centre contains a vast collection of books and journal plus access to the electronic collections. There are silent areas for individual study, communal learning zones for group work and bookable rooms.

There are Faculty Engagement Librarians for each faculty.  

The University's virtual learning environment SurreyLearn is used in a variety of innovative ways to support and enhance learning and teaching.  

The Academic Skills and Development team provides advice and support for students to improve academic study skills and information literacy skills.  Learning Development Advisers provide one-to-one sessions, drop-in sessions and workshops.   

Support in all aspects of academic English is provided to students by Language Support.

For postgraduate research students the Researcher Development Programme provides a range of workshops and support mechanisms, including mentoring and one to one appointments.

Student voice

Students play an important part in quality assurance systems and there are many ways in which students have an opportunity to make their voice heard.  Students are represented at all levels of the formal governance structure from Boards of Studies up to Council.  Staff/Student Liaison Committees offer a more informal way for students' views to feed into local quality management and enhancement.

Students have the opportunity to provide anonymous feedback by means of a range of surveys: the in-house Module Evaluation Questionnaires, the national I-grad Student Barometer badged as the "Shape Your Surrey" survey and the nationally run NSS, PTES and PRES.

The principles and practices for student engagement are set out in the Code of practice for student engagement.

If students have concerns about the delivery of services that impact upon their learning experience they can address this via the Procedure for complaints.

University of Surrey Students' Union

The University and the Students' Union work together to ensure an excellent student experience. The Union provides a range of services for students, including social and pastoral, advice on appeals and complaints and offers training and volunteering projects.

The Union also oversees the course rep system, providing training and support for student reps.  Course reps meet as a group in the Academic Rep Assembly to which the Vice-Chancellor and Pro Vice-Chancellor, Education are invited to discuss key concerns raised by students.

QAA Quality Code

Previous QAA Higher Education Review October 2015

The University published its action plan in response to the QAA Higher Education Review in October 2015. The action plan was approved by the University Learning and Teaching Committee in February 2016. Find out more: