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Directorate of Governance and Legal Services

Taxonomy of Collaborative Provision

Types and Definitions of Collaborative Arrangements

Collaborative partnership provision is defined by the QAA as "provision that leads to the award of academic credit and that is delivered, assessed or supported in partnership between two or more organisations." Queen Mary retains responsibility for the academic standards of its awards and must ensure it has in place effective arrangements to ensure that the standards of its awards are credible and secure irrespective of where or how courses are delivered or who delivers them. 

The following definitions are used to describe the collaborative activity covered by QMUL policy.

Co-operation Agreement

Where QMUL agrees to promote co-operation, discussions and positive academic relations with another institution for their mutual benefit, without establishing any binding legal relationship between the two institutions. This can be finalised through a general Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to facilitate specific activities detailed in subsequent agreements;

Articulation Agreement

Formal arrangements between QMUL and another HEI, normally overseas, whereby credit taken at the approved partner leads to advanced standing on a particular QMUL programme. Admission to an intermediate stage of a QMUL programme is on the basis of the recognition of completion of study at the partner institution to an agreed standard, which counts as advanced standing credit on the student’s academic record.

Progression Agreement

Progression arrangements set out the requirements for admission to the start of a QMUL degree programme following completion of studies at a partner institution. Admission to the QMUL programme is dependent upon meeting all necessary academic requirements. Students will receive a QMUL award based only on credits attained at QMUL. The programme at the overseas institution may also lead to a qualification awarded by the partner. (Examples: 1+1, 4+1).

Collaborative programmes for taught undergradutate and postgraduate provision (single, joint or double award) 

Single taught award (including Distance Learning, Placement and Work-based learning): an arrangement where QMUL and one or more partner institutions collaborate to provide elements of a joint programme that leads to a single award by QMUL. 

Joint taught award: an arrangement where QMUL and one or more partner institutions together provide elements of a joint programme that leads to a single award made jointly by both, or all, participants; 

Taught double award: an arrangement where QMUL and a partner institution collaborate to provide elements of a joint programme leading to separate awards from each institution. Arrangements involving more than two partners would lead to multiple awards in the same way.

Programmes delivered by distance learning: Distance Learning programmes are delivered and/or supported and/or assessed through means which generally do not require the student to attend QMUL. These programmes may operate via a collaborative arrangement where the partner institution is a host for assessment activities and may provide some aspects of learner support.

Collaborative modules

An individual module which contributes to a QMUL award which is partially or jointly delivered, taught and/or assessed by another institution/organisation.

Collaborative research degree programmes

These normally lead to a single degree jointly awarded by the partner organisations. Double awards (including co-tutelles) will only be considered in exceptional circumstances, for example where required as part of an external doctoral training grant application. QMUL will only consider joint degree programmes for a cohort of students. Joint degrees cannot be set up for individual students.

Associate research students (visiting research students)

A student from another institution (UK or overseas) who can be enrolled at QMUL to undertake a programme of research at postgraduate level for an agreed period of time.

Placement learning

Placement learning arrangements incorporate approved structured learning provision that typically takes place outside QMUL as an integral part of the QMUL programme. Placement activity will have clearly defined learning outcomes, appropriate for the academic level, that are essential to the programme of study. QMUL has agreed four main types of placement learning for internal purposes:       

  • Work-based placements: The student is a contracted employee and the emphasis of the placement is on gaining professional or technical employment experience. The student has the status, remuneration, and access to support structures commensurate with an employee of the organisation.
  • Internship placements: It is unusual for the student to be contracted as an employee. They complete work under supervision but the emphasis of the placement is on learning opportunities and educational experience.
  • Observer Placements: The student is not an employee and does not undertake any work; the placement is focused on the provision of learning opportunities.
  • Academic study placements:
    • Study Abroad and Exchange programmes: In Study Abroad and Exchange programmes the student is registered as a student at both the host partner institution and QMUL. The placement provides a period of academic study delivered by an overseas University, which is an integral credit-bearing part of a QMUL programme. Within the same scheme, visiting associate students study for one semester or a full year at QMUL. Erasmus exchanges are also included in this category. General responsibilities and expectations of partners involved in the above placement activities are set out in the Placement Learning Policy Matrix [PDF 191KB].
    • Compulsory placement period (CPP): a module which forms all or part of a compulsory placement period and which contributes to the credits of the programme.

QMUL has clear procedures in place to ensure that the study abroad and exchange programmes meet programme and academic regulations. For compulsory placements these procedures are contained in the School Year Abroad Handbook, for optional placements the procedures are contained in the Quality Handbook and the Global Opportunities Office web pages at

For Academic study placements, please also refer to the Procedure for international exchange programmes at

For a complete taxonomy of collaborative provision, please click here: Taxonomy of CP [PDF 218KB]

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