Alternative higher education providers: specific course designation - guidance for applicants

Guidance on the new specific course designation process, the criteria and conditions and the new application process for higher education.

This publication was withdrawn on

This guidance has been updated and replaced with a new version.



The guidance sets out detailed information on conditions which alternative providers of higher education need to abide by when relating to:

  • the specific course designation system
  • the criteria for granting designation
  • the assessment and decision making process
  • the conditions of specific course designation, and
  • how student number controls and sanctions will be applied

The ‘alternative provider specific course designation: supplementary guidance for providers’ provides further detail and clarity on a range of policies and actions that were announced in January and February 2015. It sets out new terms and conditions of designation on the:

  • approach to managing quality from September 2015
  • approach for allocating student number controls
  • terms and conditions of specific course designation
Published 5 June 2013
Last updated 27 March 2015 + show all updates
  1. Added 'Alternative provider: specific course designation: supplementary guidance for providers'
  2. Updated version of the guidance
  3. Added link to the 'Technical note' which provides supplementary guidance.
  4. First published.