Pursuant to article 28.1, Royal Decree 1393/2007, 29 October, on the academic governance of recognised programmes and awards, amended by Royal Decrees 861/2010 and 99/2011, modifications to curricula must be endorsed by the universities in accordance with their statutes or regulations and, where applicable, in accordance with the regulations of the regional authorities (Autonomous Community). In addition, section 2 of the aforementioned article lays down that, in the case where modifications affect the content registered with the RUCT (pursuant to Royal Decree 1509/2008), the Universities Council shall be notified and, in turn, call for a report from the corresponding quality assurance agency, which shall be mandatory and binding. In the case where these modifications, according to the criterion of the QA agency, do not imply any change in the nature or objectives of the degree entered in the RUCT register, the agency shall accept the proposed modifications and accordingly inform the university within a period of three months. Furthermore, it is stipulated that if no report is issued within this period of time, the university may consider that its proposal is accepted.
In addition, the Framework for the validation, monitoring, modification and accreditation of recognised programmes (VSMA Framework), endorsed by the AQU Board of Management on 2 July 2010, establishes that proposals for the modification of degrees can only be made through the process of monitoring and, as such, are the natural and intended result of this process. For this reason, a recognised degree is only subject to modification once during a given academic year.
Applications for changes that have been made to university degrees by way of the modification process require a full copy of the current and updated programme specification to be entered in the database of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport.
Changes to university degrees are classified according to type:
Non-substantial modifications: minor changes that are improvements to the degree and that the university can make as a result of monitoring. Changes of this type are set out in the progress reports and are included in the programme specification when it is to undergo the process of modification.
Substantial modifications: changes to a validated degree that imply alterations to its structure, nature or objectives. These can be of two types:
a. Allowable: changes that affect the structure of the degree, but where there is no change in its nature or objectives. Such changes can be requested as a result of modification.
b. Non-allowable: substantial changes that affect the nature and objectives of a validated degree and cannot be requested as a result of modification. Such changes can only be made through application for the validation of a new degree and discontinuation of the degree course that is running.
Preparation of proposals for modification
Proposals for new recognised degree courses must be produced according to the GUIDE TO THE FORMULATION AND VALIDATION OF PROPOSALS FOR RECOGNISED BACHELOR AND MASTER'S DEGREE PROGRAMMES, which is an aid for academic coordinators to produce proposals for new courses that also facilitates the internal review of proposals by the institution itself and serves as the instrument used for the independent external review by the Agency. The guide includes all the guidelines laid down in the current legal provisions regarding the formulation of proposals for new recognised degrees.
Proposals can be submitted at any time throughout the year to the Universities Council using the online application programme (website of the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport). The deadline for a ruling on applications is six months from the time a proposal is submitted, in accordance with article 25.7, Royal Decree 1393/2007, 29 October, which can be extended by three months if there is no resolution, pursuant to the provisions of article 42.5.c), Law 30/1992, of 26 November, on the Legal Procedural System for Public Administration and Common Administrative Procedure.
PDF Diagram of the evaluation procedure [ca]
The university submits the proposal using the online submission procedure to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. The Universities Council reviews the enclosed documentation and, where necessary, requests any amendments (the universities have a maximum of ten days to do this). The definitive proposals are sent to AQU Catalunya and assigned to one of a group of special review panels according to subject area. The review panels issue an ex-ante modification report that is sent to the university, which can then present any supporting arguments. The programme coordinators can interact with the review panel through their secretary. The panel assesses the supporting arguments and issues a definitive report for modification. This report is then referred to the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport and the Universities Council and a copy sent to the university itself. The Universities Council subsequently issues the corresponding resolution with the outcome of the modification process.
The university has one month to appeal the outcome of the modification process from the time of notification, all appeals being made to the chair of the Universities Council. If leave to appeal is accepted, it must be referred by the Universities Council to AQU Catalunya within three months. The claim is assessed by the AQU Quality Assurance Commission (CAQ), which must issue the corresponding report within one month, which is in turn referred back to the Universities Council. The assessment of the appeal is based exclusively on the university's proposed programme specification and the documentation enclosed in the dossier. No other additional information is taken into account, aside from possible clarifications.
Once it has received the report on the appeal, the Universities Council has two months to issue a definitive resolution, which exhausts all available administrative remedies. Notification is sent to the university, the regional (Autonomous Community) authorities and the Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport. Non-resolution during this period of time leads to the rejection of an appeal.
In 2011 one hundred (100) proposals for modification programmes (sixty-nine Bachelors and thirty-one Masters) were submitted by Catalan universities for modification. 88% of the proposals submitted were favourably assessed.