Degree apprenticeships: advice for university departments – Constitution of programme

Degree Apprenticeships Toolkit

We’ve pulled together a checklist of things for university departments to consider when proposing to get involved in degree apprenticeships.  It’s still evolving so please do contact us if you have experience or advice you would like to add.


The constitution of the programme is formed around the 80/20 principle and what is done and how then becomes a matter for agreement in the contract. There are two main approaches:

  • The university agrees with each employer a programme of education to be delivered at the university;
  • The university agrees a more generic programme which is suitable for a range of degree apprenticeships and then offers/agrees with a range of employers which have their own specific on the job demands and needs, but within which the university generic programme fits.

The “on the job” work then has to be fitted in with the requirements of the employers, and needs to be agreed and structured in ways that fit in with HEI schemes of award. This means particular attention to, and agreement on:

  • Programme award, the name and description of the degree, length and structure of study, and the different classifications of award;
  • Scheme of award, which will be through the universities’ own constitution;
  • Examination board and constitution: the names and roles and functions of those who participate and the nature of employer assessment and involvement and influence;
  • Examiners and external examiners, and especially whether the university constitution allows for non-academics on exam boards (and if not, then how to integrate the employer interests in the examination processes);
  • Classification of degree award, and the extent to which this fits in with existing practices, or whether the university and employers wish to design new classifications and structures;
  • Chair and constitution of exam board, which again needs to be formalised to the agreement of all;
  • Delivery of results, in accordance with programme specifications, degree awarding processes, and the constitution of the university;
  • Graduation, which needs also to be stated and formalised.

Interim awards may also be either offered by the university or demanded by the employers, and the issuing of certificates and diplomas at different stages of progress may be required or appropriate in some cases.


Any views, thoughts, and opinions expressed herein are solely that of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views, opinions, policies, or position of the Engineering Professors’ Council or the Toolkit sponsors and supporters.

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