Programme Validation


Validation is a regulatory process that determines if a QQI award can be offered in respect of a provider’s programme of education and training.

Education and training programmes validated by QQI: 

- lead to QQI awards at all levels in the National Framework of Qualifications;
- are offered in a range of educational contexts (for example Further Education and Training (FET), Higher Education and Training (HET), professional education and apprenticeship, English Language Education (ELE), and research education and training); 
- can involve diverse modes of delivery (including collaborative, transnational and e-learning).

QQI accepts applications for the validation of education and training programmes. To be considered for validation by QQI, programmes must be developed in relation to QQI policies and criteria. 

See the further reading panel on the right of this page for information on different classes of programmes.

New Providers

Providers without an existing relationship with QQI who wish to offer QQI approved programme must first apply for initial access to validation. There are several prerequisites that must be meet before initial access applications are considered. More information on this process is available on our Initial Access to Programme Validation page here. 

Validation Policies and Criteria

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 (first published in 2016)
       - Policies and Criteria for the validation of programmes leading to Common Award System (CAS) awards (first published in 2016)

This policy applies to all HET programmes; apprenticeship programmes leading to NFQ levels 5 to 9 QQI awards; ELE programmes leading to QQI awards; and, from 1 September 2018, all new FET programmes. 

Applying for Programme Validation

Validation of New Programmes

Guidelines for preparing an application for validation are outlined in Unit 5 of the Core Policies and Criteria for Validation document.

For more information on HET, FET, apprenticeship and ELE application processes please visit the respective pages located in the further reading panel on the right of this page.


Revalidation is QQI’s process of validating a programme that has evolved from a programme that had been previously validated by QQI. This process is required for any programme that will continue to enrol learners following the expiry of the duration of enrolment (typically five years). Revalidation provides an opportunity to substantially update and modify the original programme. For more information see Unit 13 of Core Policies and Criteria for Validation.

Scope of provision

When applying for programme validation providers should note that access to validation for all providers is limited by the approved scope of provision. The approved scope of provision is established for new providers following an initial application to access validation.  For providers who already have a current relationship with QQI, the approved scope of provision is taken to be the scope of their currently validated programmes at the time of the commencement of this policy unless otherwise determined by QQI. See Unit 4.2 and Unit 4.3 of Core Policies and Criteria for Validation for more information.

Review and Withdrawal of Validation by QQI

Reviewing and withdrawal of validation is addressed in Unit 12 of the Core Policies and Criteria for Validation.

Appeals and Complaints

Information about making an appeal against refusal or withdrawal of validation is available on our Appeals page here. Information about QQI's complaint's procedure can be found here.