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Writing Course Proposals

Prior to developing a course proposal, you and your relevant colleagues, should complete a needs analysis to identify who your learners are and what is the ‘need’ for your programme. At this stage you should also consider discipline specific approaches to the curriculum and curriculum models that you might like to use. 

For more on approaches to curriculum development see Curriculum Design – Curricula Debates in Higher Education (PDF644 KB)

Careful consideration of the course proposal will ensure that the design and implementation of your programme, module, micro-credential or elective is effective. By considering the pedagogical strategies prior to the development of content, you can ensure that your students or learners achieve the required learning outcomes.

The information contained in this page will help you write successful course proposals. 

The required course proposal documents and the processes involved in seeking approval is outlined by Academic Affairs on the Course Development section of their website. 

A number of the sections within the course proposal document relate to teaching, learning and assessment (TLA). The diagram below illustrates the TLA considerations required to complete the course proposal.

Click on the information buttons in the diagram below to find out more about the TLA considerations. 

It is important not to focus on the content first, but to follow a curriculum design process that ensures curriculum alignment between learning outcomes, assessment and teaching strategies. See the introduction section for more on curriculum alignment.

Programmes, or modules, should be designed with the learners in mind, therefore choices on the mode of delivery, the learning environment support and the technologies to be used should reflect your learner needs.

When designing for a fully online environment it is important to take into account how you to support your learners with ‘social presence’ within the online course. See our resources on Engaging Students Online for more information.  

Click on the relevant tab below to examine an example of a completed proposal form.

PG Programme

A new template for postgraduate programmes is currently being introduced.

Programme examples under the existing postgraduate course proposal form

  • Example approved programmes can be found here
  • Sections 1c): Learning Outcomes, Table 2: Student workload across the module & Appendix 6: Detailed module descriptors; contain the details relating to teaching, learning and assessment.

Programme example under the new online/blended postgraduate course proposal form

  • Exemplar for PG online template May 2022.pdf.
  • Section 1c): Learning Outcomes, Sections 2c): Table 2: Student workload across the module spectrum, Section 3: Teaching, Learning & assessment approaches & Appendix 6 contains the details relating to teaching, learning and assessment.


  • Example approved micro-credentials can be found here
  • Sections on Mode of delivery, Contact and Independent Study hours, Micro-credential aims, Micro-credential learning outcomes, MC content areas, Teaching and learning methods & MC assessment components contain the details relating to teaching, learning and assessment.

Undergraduate Programme

  • Example approved modules can be found here
  • Sections 20, 23 & 24 and Appendices A & C contain the details relating to teaching, learning and assessment.


  • Example approved electives can be found here
  • Mathematics Dual Degree Proposal available here


Links to relevant documentation on the Academic Affairs website

Academic Affairs Process for Postgraduate Course Proposals

Academic Affairs Process for Micro-credentials

Academic Affairs Process for Undergraduate Course Proposals and templates

Academic Affairs Process for Undergraduate modules

Key Takeaways

When completing course proposals there are five key areas relating to teaching and learning that need to be considered
  • Consider the mode of delivery best suited to your student needs: Fully online, blended/hybrid or fully in-person
  • Write clear and concise aims, or overall goal of the course and learning outcomes that are student centred statements based on Blooms taxonomy
  • Align the learning outcomes with appropriate teaching learning and assessment strategies that support the six different levels of learning outlined in Bloom’s taxonomy
  • Identify the technologies that you will use to support students’ learning
  • For online modules and content, consider how you will effectively engage students