Student guide to quality and standards

We know that the things that matter most to students are high quality courses, successful outcomes, and the ongoing value of their qualifications.

These pages explain:

  • what students can expect from universities and colleges now
  • how they can find out more.

What can students expect?

Any university or college which is registered with the Office for Students must meet conditions of registration. A group of these conditions – what we call the ‘B conditions’ – relate to quality and standards.

Together these conditions mean that students can expect any registered university or college to meet a minimum set – or baseline – of requirements for the quality of its courses.

In summary, the quality and standards conditions for registered universities and colleges are:

Condition B1: Academic experience

A high quality academic experience includes, but is not limited to, ensuring that each course:

  1. is up-to-date;
  2. provides educational challenge;
  3. is coherent;
  4. is effectively delivered; and
  5. requires students to develop relevant skills, as appropriate to the course subject.

Condition B2: Resources, support and student engagement

The provider must take all reasonable steps to ensure:

  1. students receive resources and support, so that they get :

    a. a high quality academic experience for those students; and
    b. those students succeed in and beyond higher education; and
  2. effective engagement with each cohort of students to ensure:

    a. a high quality academic experience for those students; and
    b. those students succeed in and beyond higher education.

Condition B3: Student outcomes

The provider must deliver successful outcomes for all of its students, which are recognised and valued by employers and/or enable further study.

Condition B4: Assessment and awards

The provider must ensure that:

  1. students are assessed effectively;
  2. each assessment is valid and reliable;
  3. academic regulations are designed to ensure that relevant awards are credible;
  4. academic regulations are designed to ensure the effective assessment of technical proficiency in the English language in a way which appropriately reflects the level and content of the course; and
  5. relevant awards granted to students are credible at the point of being granted and when compared to those granted previously.

Condition B5: Sector-recognised standards

The provider must ensure that, in respect of any relevant awards granted to students who complete a higher education course provided by, or on behalf of, the provider (whether or not the provider is the awarding body):

  1. any standards set appropriately reflect any applicable sector-recognised standards; and
  2. awards are only granted to students whose knowledge and skills appropriately reflect any applicable sector-recognised standards.

You can read the full requirements set out in conditions B1, B2, B4 and B5 in our regulatory framework.

Beyond these minimum requirements, if a registered university or college has more than 500 students, it must also take part in 'the TEF' - the Teaching Excellence Framework. The TEF measures excellence in addition to these requirements.

More about the TEF and TEF results
Published 17 November 2020
Last updated 26 July 2022
26 July 2022
Minor update to reflect that the consultations on quality and standards have concluded.
02 March 2022
Update to the conditions of registration following the outcomes of our consultation
26 January 2021
Minor copy updates to reflect the consultation being closed

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