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Policy and Procedures for Programme Suspension and Closure (Effective from AY2324)

This document sets out the University’s principles that determine the suspension and closure of undergraduate, taught postgraduate and professional doctorate programmes, as well as outlines the procedures to be followed.

Decisions to close or suspend a programme of study should be taken in good time, ideally before June prior to the year when the suspension/closure takes effect so that the programme information on the University online application portal is correct. Intentions to close or suspend a programme of study should be communicated to the University of Liverpool by the academic unit in the first instance.


The policy is applicable to:

• all undergraduate, taught postgraduate and professional doctorate programmes delivered by the University.

The policy is not applicable to:

• executive education and other similar professional development courses;
• short summer and language courses;
• removal of pathways/specialisations or the part-time mode of a programme.



2.1 Suspension

Suspension of a programme means that student recruitment is stopped for the programme in question for a specified period due to reasons as detailed in the following sections of the document. Programmes that fail to recruit students are also de facto in a state of suspension.

2.2 Closure

Closure of a programme means that it will no longer be offered by the University and there are no further intakes to the programme. Those students already registered on the programme will continue to progress and complete the programme (‘teach-out’).



The learning experience of the affected students in all cases should be assured and monitored. Therefore, before commencing the formal procedures to suspend or close a programme, the School/Academy (hereinafter referred to as ‘academic unit’) must ensure that:

• Adequate measures are put in place to mitigate the impact of the decision on related stakeholders.

• The impact of the decision on all students is taken into account, including the existing students, and applicants to the programme. Appropriate measures should be put in place to support the existing students throughout their remaining studies to the completion of their intended study, wherever possible. Arrangements must also be made to guarantee the quality of experience for such students during the teach-out period;

• Students, the link tutors at the University of Liverpool, and any other academic units relying on the modules from the programme in question in the University are appropriately communicated with;

• external examiners and moderators of the programme in question and AQSD at the University of Liverpool should be informed;

• Regulatory and legal implications of the suspension or closure of the programme concerning University of Liverpool revalidation, Chinese Ministry of Education regulations or the requirements of any PSRB which accredits the programme are considered;

• A suspended programme must continue to be actively managed and will still be subject to the annual programme review, coordinated by the Programme Director.



There are a number of reasons why the University may decide to suspend or close a programme, including but not limited to the following:

• Changes in the University’s strategic plans;
• Changes in the regulations set by the Chinese Ministry/Jiangsu Provincial Department of Education;
• Declining student numbers (fewer than 10, over three consecutive years);
• Replacing an existing programme with a new one;
• Changing regional, national and global factors;
• Concerns about the quality and academic standards of the programme;
• Failure to meet the criteria set by the relevant group following a comprehensive review exercise.



Generally, there are two phases for suspending or closing a programme, including the processes for preparation and approval, and that for post-approval.

5.1 Preparation and Approval

Programmes could be approved to be suspended or closed through two channels, either the Internal Periodic Review (IPR) process or the academic unit initiated application.

In the case a programme is approved to be suspended or closed through the IPR process, the responsible academic unit should submit the remedial measures or the teach-out plan to the University Learning and Teaching Committee (ULTC) through the Education and Quality Assurance Office (EQA) which will be subject to the endorsement of Academic Board.

Academic units may also decide to suspend or close a programme taking into account the aforementioned rationales. The “Programme Suspension and Closure Form” (Appendix 1) should be completed and signed off by the School Learning and Teaching Committee (SLTC), and submitted to the ULTC through EQA for approval, and to Academic Board for endorsement.

*In the event that a programme fails to recruit new students under normal recruitment process, it is de facto suspended. The responsible academic unit should diagnose the root cause and fill out the ‘Programme Suspension and Closure Form’ and submit to ULTC for approval.

5.2 Post-Approval

After the final decision was made by the Academic Board, EQA should keep monitoring the implementation of the remedial measures for programmes in suspension and the teach-out plan for closed programmes. A programme cannot be suspended for longer than two years without a decision to resume or close it being made.

Programmes in suspension with the intention to make changes can apply for modification process through EQA. The suspended programmes could not resume within the defined suspension period will be directed to the closure process.

In the event that a closed programme would like to reopen, the responsible academic unit should follow the new programme validation process.

Actions arising from the suspension and/or closure should be reflected in the school summary report and programme action plan through the Annual Programme Review until all students registered on the programme complete their programme of study.

The process for programme suspension and closure is outlined in Appendix 2.



After the Academic Board’s endorsement, the Director of the Centre for Academic Affairs, or his/her designate (normally, Head of EQA), is responsible for informing the following departments/offices and staff members (listed in alphabetical order) to ensure that University systems, records and published information is updated:

(i) Dean of School, Associate Dean of Learning and Teaching (Chair of SLTC, if different), School Manager and Programme Director of the related academic unit(s)
(ii) Library
(iii) President’s Office
(iv) Registry Office
(v) XJTLU Graduate School (for Master’s and professional doctorate programmes)
(vi) Student Admissions and Career Development Office (SACDO)
(vii) Student Affairs Office (SAO)
(viii) University Marketing and Communications (UMC)
(ix) UoL Academic Quality and Standards Division (AQSD)
(x) XJTLU Global



  1. Programme Suspension and Closure Form
  2.  Process for Programme Suspension and Closure

(Last Review Date: 18 Aug 2023)

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