QMU Running a collaborative programme with Queen Margaret University – an overview

This document summarises the key features of the Queen Margaret University (QMU) approach to collaborative provision. It is designed to enable potential partners to understand what to expect if they engage in a partnership with QMU to run a taught degree.

Respective responsibilities

The programme will normally be designed by QMU staff in consultation with the partner organisation. QMU will ensure that the academic level of the programme is consistent with the level of any equivalent programme taught in Edinburgh. This means the overall content and approaches to learning, teaching and assessment are the same as for modules delivered at QMU. However, lecturers have flexibility to adapt learning experiences and assignments to reflect the local context and students’ professional needs.

The programme is delivered by faculty appointed by the partner organisation. (QMU must confirm that all staff appointed are suitable.) QMU is responsible for quality assurance and academic guidance. QMU faculty contribute to the programme through support and advice to the partner faculty and the provision of staff development.

A member of QMU staff from the related programme in Edinburgh is the designated Academic Link Person. He or she is the first point of contact for all queries and liaises closely with the Programme Leader at the partner organisation. Individual members of QMU staff liaise with individual module co-ordinators regarding specific modules.

The partner faculty conduct first marking of assessments. Assessments are checked and (where necessary) second marked by QMU staff. This is intended to ensure that the grades awarded are consistent with the grades that would be awarded to similar work in the UK. This model is in place for all QMU collaborations in the UK and overseas and is in line with the approach taken by other UK universities. QMU appoints an external examiner from another university to act as an independent check on the academic quality of the student work.

Marks are confirmed by a Board of Examiners which is chaired by a senior member of QMU staff. Final awards and official transcripts of results are issued by QMU.

Quality Assurance Procedures

All UK universities are required to demonstrate alignment with the Expectations set out in the Quality Assurance Agency’s (QAA) UK Quality Code for Higher Education, including those set out in the section on Collaborative Provision. Robust quality assurance procedures apply at QMU, which are consistent with QAA Expectations and sector wide good practice.

The key elements of QMU’s quality framework are:

  • Collection and evaluation of student feedback
  • Programme committees and student representation
  • Provision of annual programme monitoring reports
  • Moderation of assessment by QMU markers and by an external examiner
  • Validation and periodic review (normally every five years)

In addition, a Joint Board of Studies between QMU and the partner organisation is held annually to oversee the operation of the collaboration.

Any new programme must go through an approval process known as ‘validation’, which consists of a panel of academic staff reading through detailed programme documentation and meeting with the staff who will be teaching the programme. After the meeting the panel makes a decision on whether any changes are needed to the design and management of the programme. This ensures that the partner is fully prepared to run the programme.

For further information on our quality framework, please refer to: Quality @ QMU 

Once the programme has been validated it cannot be changed without approval from QMU.

Facilities and services
We expect overseas partners to provide student support services locally, such as:

  • Personal tutorial support
  • Careers advice
  • Access to counselling or medical services
  • Help with special educational needs or disabilities
  • Extra-curricular activities (social clubs, sports, voluntary work)

Partners must provide library and IT facilities for students. There must be enough computers and sufficient network capacity to support several users accessing the system at the same time. All students who are registered on a QMU programme will be given a QMU email account which allows them to use QMU’s electronic resources. This includes an extensive collection of electronic journals. However, partners must provide textbooks and print copies of journals in their own libraries. Partners must also ensure there is a member of staff who can guide and advise students on how to use QMU’s electronic resources.


The partnership is run in accordance with a detailed contract which defines the respective responsibilities of each partner. This contract will also define the how the partners will make sure students can finish their programme, even if the partnership ends.

The contract will include an annual payment to QMU in return for the academic advice, intellectual property and quality assurance we provide.

For more detailed information on QMU’s procedures for the management of collaborations, please see: QMU Partnerships webpage