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Academic Partnerships

Academic Partnerships are crucial to the University’s three main strategies: Education, Research, and Internationalisation. Partners must be of highest quality, and partnership arrangements must protect the student experience. The Academic Partnerships team oversees the approval, monitoring and review of partnership activity.

Contact the Academic Partnerships Team

The University is currently involved in hundreds of academic partnerships. Amongst others, these include:

  • A large number student exchanges and study abroad arrangements, providing undergraduates and some postgraduates with the opportunity to study at an institution in another country.
  • A partnership with INTO, established by the University of Exeter and INTO University Partnerships;
  • A number of International partnerships such as split site agreements, dual degrees and double degrees; for example, the University of Exeter Business School offers double degrees with Grenoble and EBS
  • A number of UK validation partnerships with high quality, regional partners covering a range of disciplines. These are normally delivered entirely at the partner, and can offer opportunities for these students to progress onto further study at Exeter e.g. MA International Film Business with London Film School and validation of the BA (Ord) Business Management at Exeter College

The Academic Partnerships Team maintains the University's formal Register of Agreements for Academic Partnerships. For more information about any of the existing arrangements, or to request access to the Register, please contact the Partnerships Team.

Most partnerships are required to set up a specific Partnership Board, consisting of representatives from each institution in the partnership, that will meet at least twice per year. Specific membership and Terms of Reference will be agreed for each Board, bearing in mind the complexity and level of risk associated with the partnership. In most cases this information will be detailed in the formal Agreement. Normally the relevant Associate Dean will chair the Board, and a representative from the Academic Partnerships team will attend, depending on the level of risk involved and type of partnership. 

The responsibilities of the Partnership Board include:

  • Quality assurance of the partnership
  • Oversight of the programme(s) including monitoring and evaluation
  • Setting entry criteria for students; admissions; marketing
  • Sharing data
  • Student progression
  • Communication to the students and monitoring feedback
  • Ensuring resources and facilities are available and appropriate

Student feedback and views should be sought and considered by the Board if it is not feasible for student representatives to attend the meetings.

The Academic Partnerships team administers any Partnership Board where the University of Exeter is responsible for validating the award. All other Partnership Boards are administered by the relevant College.


As a Top 10 university and a member of the elite Russell Group, the University of Exeter is now established amongst the top ranking universities in the UK, and is aiming to achieve an equivalent standing internationally by placing in the Top 100 in the international league tables. It is crucial that the University establishes formal relationships with selected top ranking, nationally and internationally renowned institutions. Academic partnerships can create routes for international research collaborations, promote international student recruitment, provide enhanced student experiences through exchanges, potentially enhance employability prospects, assist in internationalising the curriculum, facilitate shared research through split site provision, and strengthen research developments and funding opportunities. National partnerships via Doctoral Training Partnerships (DTPs) funded through Research Councils are crucial to the University’s Research Strategy.

Academic Partnership activity will explicitly underpin and contribute to the three key University strategies for education, research and internationalisation, as well as to individual College strategic plans. Governance, policies, guidance, systems, and procedures, together with appropriate resourcing, will ensure the provision of an efficient and professional service, meeting the needs of Colleges, students and external regulators as well as our academic partners.


Formal approval will be based on a three stage process in which first the relevant College Dean signs approval, and then the University's relevant strategic approval committee will determine whether the partnership aligns with current strategic aims. Finally the quality assurance stage is either taken through the Academic Partnerships Quality Assurance Group or signed off the person with delegated approval e.g. the Associate Academic Dean for Students, the Head of Global Partnerships or the Manager of Study Abroad. 

This process seeks to ensure the Partnership:

  • Links closely with College Global Plans and University strategies
  • Has College commitment and support for its resourcing requirements
  • Has potential to enhance the University’s reputation
  • Aligns with the College’s existing resources (i.e. the College has the expertise and staffing required to deliver the partnership)
  • Demonstrates a sound financial business plan
  • Evidences the quality of the partner organisation, its potential students, and its delivery
  • Clearly defines ownership of the curriculum and assessment
  • Demonstrates strength of the potential market (if it is linked to recruitment)

Once approved and a legal agreement has been drafted and signed, more complex partnerships are required to set up a formal Partnership Board, that will meet once or twice a year, in order to consider quality assurance oversight and monitoring of the programme(s) and also the partnership itself. Every partnership will be reviewed at the end of a specified period (normally 5 years) to determine whether it should be renewed.

INTO Academic Board

The Academic Board acts as the overarching governing body in relation to academic matters. It receives recommendations and reports, and commissions reviews and actions from Boards of Studies and from the Education Committee. It is chaired by the Associate Dean for Taught Students, and membership includes Faculty Associate Pro Vice Chancellors (Education) (APVCEs) and INTO Programme Managers. The Board meets twice a year. The Education Board monitors the INTO Academic Board through submission of minutes. If matters pertaining to the legal relationship or financial arrangements arise then these will feed through to INTO Joint Venture Board.

The Education Policy, Quality and Standards team is the Secretariat to the INTO Academic Board.

The groups mentioned below are administered by INTO.‌

Boards of Studies

A Board of Studies will meet twice annually for each Faculty/INTO relationship, to focus on all activity linked to the relevant Faculty. Currently there are four INTO Boards of Studies, which bring together staff from the relevant Colleges and INTO:

  • University of Exeter Business School
  • Faculty of Environment, Science and Economy
  • Faculty of Health and Life Sciences
  • Faculty of Humanities and Social Sciences

All Programme Managers and lecturers of relevant programmes and all appropriate Faculty staff (ie the relevant APVC-E, relevant Directors of Education and Student Experience, and core module tutors) should be involved in the Board. Reports and recommendations from the Board of Studies flow to the INTO Education Committee and to the INTO Academic Board, as appropriate.

Education Committee

In order to oversee INTO provision across all levels and subjects, an Education Committee meets twice annually, and includes all INTO Programme Managers and teaching staff. Reports and recommendations flow to the Boards of Studies and to the INTO Academic Board, as appropriate.

Programme Meetings

At grass roots level each programme should hold regular meetings as required that include all those involved in the delivery of the programme, student representation, and relevant Faculty representation (i.e. tutors of core year 1 modules who could advise on impact of changes to the INTO provision on undergraduate provision). Day to day operational discussion and decisions are made in these meetings. Reports and recommendations flow from Programme Meetings to Boards of Studies.

Student Staff Liaison Committees

Each Programme holds its own Student Staff Liaison Committee (SSLC), in accordance with the TQA Manual Guidance, membership includes the Programme Manager, teaching staff, and students. Reports and recommendations from the SSLCs flow to Programme Meetings or the Boards of Studies, as relevant.

‌Academic Partnerships Handbook

Please see the Academic Partnerships Handbook within the TQA Manual for information on strategy, guidance and procedures relating to Academic Partnerships. 

 Partnership Proposal Forms (PPFs)


For Partnership Proposal Forms (PPFs) and associated guidance, please see Chapter 2 - Types of Academic Partnerships in the TQA Manual.