Partnerships approval process B

(for most partnerships, excluding articulation leading to a single award from UoA, study abroad and student exchange)



Before undertaking a great deal of work on a potential partnership, first assess the value of the partnership – whether it will clearly contribute to University’s strategic goals, whether the School has the resources required to support the partnership, and what the benefits and risks might be.  Discuss your initial idea with the Head of School and the relevant Regional Dean.  If there is support from the Head of School and Dean, you should then prepare a Partnership Proposal Form B.  If you have any discussions with a potential partner, it is important that it is made clear that the discussions are exploratory only at this stage.  


These partnerships require business case approval so the PPF needs to be sent to Planning (email ( who will forward it to a panel consisting of VP(T&L) and VP(I) and may include Finance and HR or SVP depending on resource required.  If the business case is approved in principle the PPF will be forwarded by Planning to the Clerk to the Quality Assurance Committee ( for scrutiny of the academic aspects of the proposal.  The Convener of QAC, or nominee, will determine if the academic case is strong enough for the proposal to be pursued.  This may involve further discussion with the proposer to determine the exact nature of the partnership and to determine what type of agreement template should be considered.  If QAC gives approval in principle the proposal can then move to the next stage.


Following discussion with the QAC, the most appropriate agreement template will be sent to the proposer. The School is responsible for adjusting the template to fit the requirements of the proposed partnership, seeking advice from the QAC as required.  In general templates may be adjusted only to add specific details on the nature of the partnership.  Details on the QA management or legal, IP/copyright aspects are not open to change. It is likely that there will need to be quite a few discussions with the partner before both/all parties agree the details of the Agreement and it is for this reason that this stage can take several months to complete.  It is therefore important that no assurances are given to potential students until negotiations are complete and a final signed Agreement is in place.  It must also be made clear to the proposed partner that this is still a draft agreement that has not had full University approval and will therefore still be subject to change.  Negotiations should be led by the proposer, but must involve the Head of School and Regional Dean (if relevant) to ensure the proposed partnership remains a valid proposition and may also require input from HR, Finance and other Professional Services departments.


Once all parties are happy with the content of the agreement the proposer will send the draft agreement to the Head of School and to QAC ( to ensure that the business case and academic quality have not been compromised during the negotiations.  The draft agreement will also be sent to R&I ( for a final legal check.  Approval by the Head of School, the QAC and R&I at this point signifies University approval for the Partnership and no further changes to the agreement will be permitted.

Following the conclusion of negotiations, the formal Agreement governing the partnership can be signed.  R&I will arrange for signature by the authorized signatories at Aberdeen and at the partner; for UoA this is the University Secretary.  There is an internal requirement for a cover paper to be appended prior to signature by the University of Aberdeen signatory which is made available from R&I once the final agreement has been approved by the QAC and R&I.  Once all parties have signed the agreement R&I will ensure that Aberdeen’s copy of the signed Agreement is retained in the University’s central database.  Copies will be available to the School as necessary, for the management of the partnership.


In the UK, institutions are required to have a legally binding Agreement signed by the authorized signatories of both (all) parties in place before any students are admitted or exchanged.  For UoA this is the University Secretary.

Students may only be admitted to a partnership programme once an Agreement has been signed by all parties.

It is important for purposes of statutory reporting, audit and award that students who are on a partnership programme can be distinguished easily from students who are on a parallel non-partnership programme. For this reason, students must be assigned to the correct version of the programme on admission and on registration.


Further information, including that on ongoing management, quality assurance procedures, monitoring, review and annual reporting, renewal and termination can be found here.