Application for Validation (FET)

Policies and Criteria for Validation

Validation is a quality assurance process intended to ensure that a proposed programme can enable a learner to acquire and demonstrate the necessary knowledge, skill or competence to justify the award(s) being offered in respect of that programme.

All new programmes intended to offer QQI awards must first be validated by QQI.  Providers are asked to familiarise themselves with current QQI policies when preparing applications.

The current policies and criteria for validation apply to all applications for new further and higher education and training, apprenticeship and English Language Education programmes.  The current QQI policies and criteria are presented in one volume entitled Policies and Criteria for the Validation of Programmes of Education and Training. This volume contains two documents: 

- Core Policies and Criteria for the Validation by QQI of Programmes of Education and Training
- Policies and Criteria for the Validation of Programmes leading to Common Award System (CAS) awards .

Note that this does not relate to revalidation of existing programmes. A process for revalidation has yet to be rolled out for FET programmes. Currently validated programmes, including those validated for more than five years, may continue being delivered under the current policy pending further communication from QQI.

Preparing an Application

Providers are asked to contact QQI before preparing a programme for submission for validation. QQI will be available for one-to-one meetings and will hold briefings from time to time.

New application templates have been developed for use in conjunction with the current policies and criteria, available below. Please note that these are draft documents, and all feedback is welcome. Previous templates are not compatible with the new policies and criteria and should not be used.

The purpose of the template document is to help applicants present their applications and programmes consistently and systematically. It is the applicant’s sole responsibility to ensure that all the criteria are addressed, and all template sections are complete.

Resources for Programmes leading to CAS awards (from September 2018) 

Application templates

​Programme Type

Programme Descriptor Template​

​Guidelines for Completing the Descriptor

​Template for Self- Evaluation against QQI Validation Criteria

​Programme leading to one or more CAS Components
Click Here
Click Here
​Click here
​Programme leading to a CAS Major, Special Purporse or Supplemental  Award
​Click here 
Click Here
Click Here

CAS Award Directory

Resources for Programmes leading to non-CAS awards 

QQI’s 2016 policy allows for validation of programmes where there is no pre-existing CAS standard i.e. the programme learning outcomes of the newly validated programme become the standard of the associated award.  

Such a ‘non-CAS’ programmes will include an explicit mapping of its learning outcomes to a relevant NFQ award type descriptor.  This is to provide evidence that the programme can lead to a new QQI award.  

For programmes leading to non-CAS awards, providers are asked to use the appropriate template linked below. 

For apprenticeship programmes, please visit the Apprenticeship page


Application templates

​Programme Type

​Programme Descriptor Template

​Guidelines for Completing the Descriptor

Template for Self -Evaluation against QQI Validation Criteria

​Non CAS programme leading to new Major, Special Purpose, Supplemental Award and Minor Award(s)
Click Here
Click Here
Click Here

Making the Application

Applications must include: 

• Summary and detailed information on the programme using the relevant QQI programme descriptor template (see above);
• Self-evaluation of the programme against the validation criteria using the template provided (see above);
• Details of the arrangements in place, where applicable, for Protection for Enrolled Learners; and
• Fee Cover Note – QQI will use this to generate the invoice for validation fees payable.  See Schedule for fees for details of current charges. The validation fee must be paid before an application will be processed.

Programme applications leading to CAS awards must be submitted via QBS using the access credentials assigned to the provider.  If these are not operative or available, for whatever reason, please log a call via QHelp 

Providers seeking to develop programmes leading to new non-CAS awards should first contact QQI validation unit to discuss the proposed programme.  Such programmes cannot be submitted via QBS and alternative arrangements will be put in place to allow such an application to be uploaded.

Supplementary documents

QQI QA Guidelines 

QQI Policies and Guidelines – Awards and Standards

QQI Policies and Guidelines – Access, Transfer and Progression
- Policy and Criteria for access, transfer and progression 


Resources for Independent Evaluators of Programmes (Panel members)