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Approval of programmes in the UK

Information for education providers considering running new provision

If you are planning to run a new programme for the first time, we need to approve the programme before it starts.

If your programme is not entirely new, for example, if it is being developed out of an existing HCPC approved programme, you should engage with our major change process.

Requesting programme approval 

We undertake an approval visit to all new programmes, to consider whether they meet our standards for the first time. Visits allow us to discuss how the programme will work with relevant stakeholders, and to make judgements about the facilities available to learners.

The first step to having a new programme approved is to submit a visit request form. This gives us the information we need to begin arranging our approval visit.

Once you submit a completed visit request form, we will contact you within two weeks with a provisional date for your visit. We will then ensure we can resource the visit, and confirm this date as quickly as possible.

The deadline to submit your documentation will be eight weeks before the visit date. This gives you the time work with us to prepare your submission, and for our visitors to review the submission before the visit.

You will have a named contact at the HCPC through the approval process, who will be able to help you at each stage.

The process to approve a new programme takes at least nine months, but can take longer should we identify significant issues with how your programme meets our standards.

More information about the approval process


Important information for education providers planning to run a new programme

How to advertise your programme

We require that publicly available information for any programme going through our processes is accurate, so that potential learners and service users are not mislead. The following information is intended to help education providers achieve this.

How to refer to programmes

Terms such as “subject to HCPC approval” may only be applied if you have engaged with our approval process for the programme. You may only use the term “HCPC approved” if the programme appears on the register of approved programmes.

Admitting learners

You may admit learners to a programme that is not approved, but they must be aware that:

  • one of the results of our approval process is that we do not approve the programme, and that if this was the case the programme could not run
  • we may require changes to the programme that could impact on your intended start date.
Status of those completing programmes

Completing an approved programme does not automatically lead to HCPC registration. Rather, completing a programme to “eligibility to apply for HCPC registration”. Learners must then apply to join the HCPC Register, and we will make a decision about whether to admit them.

FAQs for new providers

  • The process to approve a new programme takes at least nine months, but can take longer should we identify significant issues with how your programme meets our standards.

  • A programme is normally approved on an open-ended basis, subject to satisfactory monitoring. We refer to this as ‘open-ended approval’. There are two monitoring processes – annual monitoring and major change. Both of these processes are documentary and may trigger a new approval visit, if there is reason to do so. This means that we do not have a regular schedule of approval visits. Our approval is not time limited or linked to the number of cohorts.

  • We do not set a requirement for approved programmes to be named in a particular way. Many programmes include the related profession in their title, such as ‘BSc (Hons) Physiotherapy’. Other programmes reflect the broader content of the programme in their title, such as ‘Masters of Nutrition’ (providing eligibility to apply for registration as a dietitian) or ‘Educational, Child and Community Psychology D.Ed.Psy’ (providing eligibility to apply for registration as an educational psychologist).

  • Please see our position statement on this area.

  • Completing an approved programme does not automatically lead to HCPC registration. Rather, it shows us that someone meets our professional standards, and so they are “eligible to apply for HCPC registration”. Learners who complete approved programmes need to provide further information to become registered with us. This information helps us make sure that:

    • they are who they say they are;
    • they meet all of our standards; and
    • we can contact them if we need to.

    Sometimes a student who has completed an approved programme declares very serious information which may mean that we reject their application for registration. This only happens very rarely.

Page updated on: 12/06/2018
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