The degree programme approval and accreditation application process

There are more steps in the NZQA analysis of a degree programme approval and/or accreditation application than for an application for a programme at levels 1-6 of the New Zealand Qualifications Framework. A panel of relevantly qualified experts analyses the application and visits the institution.

NZQA facilitates the panel and considers its recommendations and findings before giving an outcome (granting or declining) of the application for degree approval and/or accreditation.

The steps in the application and analysis process

  1. The applicant plans and finds out about the relevant requirements.
  2. The applicant develops their degree programme.
  3. The applicant submits their degree application for approval and accreditation, including panel nominations, to NZQA online and prepares hard copies for the panel.
  4. NZQA evaluates the documentation. NZQA may request more information.
  5. NZQA sets up a panel for a site visit.
  6. Panel conducts a site visit.
  7. Panel confirms findings and NZQA writes the report.
  8. The applicant receives the report to check for factual accuracy.
  9. If the report includes requirements, the applicant must provide a response to the requirements within the given timeframe. The panel will evaluate the response before an outcome is decided.
  10. NZQA decides and notifies the applicant of the outcome.
  11. NZQA publishes the outcome.

The evaluation panel

The panel provides expert knowledge and skills to analyse the application. Panellists must have relevant skills, knowledge and/or experience at the level of the proposed degree. This can include experts in specific modes of delivery or teaching approaches, if relevant to the application.

See section 4 of the Guidelines (PDF, 732KB) for more detailed information about the role and composition of the evaluation panel.

When applying the applicant must provide NZQA with:

  • two nominations for each position on the evaluation panel (other than the positions of evaluator and independent chair)
  • contact details for each nominee (address, phone, email)
  • a complete curriculum vitae of each nominee, including contact details and any other supporting information as to how they contribute to the panel characteristics and endorsements from relevant bodies.

Nominees should not have been involved with the development of the degree programme; nor should they have an association with the applicant that may be a potential conflict of interest. If clarification is required, please contact an ITP advisor (institutes of technology and polytechnics) or the degree advisor (private training establishments and wānanga).

Timelines for degree programme approval and accreditation applications

Applications should be made nine months before the intended delivery of the degree.

NZQA aims to complete the programme approval and accreditation process within six months of receiving the application, but this depends on:

  • the quality of the application
  • the availability of panellists
  • the timing of panel visits
  • the time it takes for applicants to respond to and meet any panel requirements after the panel visit.

Costs for analysing a degree programme approval and accreditation application

For ITPs, the costs of the NZQA evaluator's evaluation are covered by the Infrastructure Fee. If the evaluation work is done by a contractor, the cost is charged to the applicant ITP.

For degree and related qualifications applications from PTEs and wānanga the following costs apply:

NZQA analysis of application $150 per hour (GST excl)
Degree panellist's fee $80 per hour for each full hour (for an eight hour day)/for a maximum of 4 days (GST excl)
Degree panel chair fee $120 per hour for each full hour (for an eight hour day)/for a maximum of 5 days (GST excl)
Travel and accommodation Actual costs for panellists and panel chair
Travel time $40 per hour (GST excl) for travel time when the distance is above 30 kilometres

The above charges apply to bachelor degrees, graduate certificates and diplomas, post-graduate certificates and diplomas, honours degrees, master’s degrees and doctoral degrees.

Total charges for approval and accreditation of degree programmes may be more than $20,000.

Costs for travel and accommodation for panellists and the panel chair are charged directly to the applicant.

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