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The University of Adelaide undertakes formal reviews of its Academic Units and Programs. Review activities are an integral part of the University's approach to quality assurance. The review process follows the University's Quality Assurance Planning and Budgeting, Implementation, Review and Improvement (PIRI) process with cycles of review, implementation and reflection on improvements. Reviews include external assessment and are conducted with reference to the requirements of the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), the Australian Higher Education Standards Framework (HESF), and the University's policies, strategic plan and relevant associated plans.

Reviews also provide an opportunity to address future prospects and enhancement through critical self-evaluation, embrace success and benchmark against national and international universities.


Reviews are designed to provide program teams, schools and faculties with:

  • Opportunity for formative self-evaluation and constructive dialogue with key stakeholders including students, employers, alumni and the wider community;
  • Independent feedback, advice and recommendations in response to self-evaluation and planning, within a benchmarked context and with reference to national and international exemplars, standards and quality assurance frameworks, and relevant institutional data;
  • An evidence-base for strategic and outcomes-focused identification of future prospects and enhancement priorities;
  • Transparent implementation plans for strategic and enhancement initiatives.

Reviews also are designed to support and inform the University’s strategic direction, policies and systems, and to maintain its adherence to HESF Threshold Standards and relevant professional/industry accreditation standards.

Higher Educations Standard Framework (HESF)

The HESF Threshold Standards (2015) require under section 5.3 that all accredited (programs) of study are subject to periodic comprehensive reviews that are overseen by peak academic governance processes and include external referencing or other benchmarking activities.

The outcomes of Reviews are reported to Academic Board as the peak academic body, and where there are non-academic issues these are reported to VCE. Program Reviews are held every five years with Academic Unit, and Other Academic Unit Reviews are held every seven years.

An evaluation of the effectiveness of institutional reviews and improvement of academic activities are required under Clause 6.3.2g, which the University meets through the development and monitoring of Review Implementation Plans.

Core Principles

The following principles are to be adopted to guide the process of Reviews of academic programs and units:

  • Reviews form the basis of the University’s quality management framework for academic programs and units. Faculties, schools and other organisational units whose main function is academic enterprise are expected to engage in Reviews conducted centrally by the University;
  • The University is committed to academic enterprise of the highest quality and value. University Reviews support strategic and operational alignment with institutional strategic frameworks, a culture of best practice, a continuous cycle of development and enhancement, and compliance with internally and externally defined standards. They are conducted with reference to the requirements of the Australian Qualification Framework, Higher Education Standards Framework, the University’s corporate strategic plan and relevant associated plans, e.g., for learning and teaching, research, internationalisation and Indigenous education, and the faculty and school plans that align with these;
  • Reviews combine self-evaluation of performance with stakeholder consultation, benchmarking, and independent peer review and evaluation. Forward-planning is fundamental to the process. Reviews are driven by academic program and unit staff supported by, and partnering with, central services;
  • Key stakeholders of reviews include students, employers, alumni and other members of the wider community, and the review process provides an inclusive environment for their participation and input;
  • The review process incorporates implementation planning based on review outcomes, and includes institutional oversight of reporting on progress.

Types of Reviews

Centrally-managed Reviews

Overall responsibility for the review process rests with the Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Academic).

Centrally-managed reviews include Program Reviews (all undergraduate and postgraduate coursework programs) and Academic Unit Reviews - which include Schools and other organisational units whose main function is academic enterprise. Currently, these are specified as the English Learning Centre, Confucius Institute, and Maths Learning Centre. The list of relevant academic units (other than School) is updated annually.

Type of Review Review (Focus) Overseen By Managed By
Program Reviews
Academic Programs Academic Program (Undergraduate and Postgraduate Coursework Programs) PVC(SL)* Learning & Quality Support
Academic Unit Reviews
School and other Academic Units School (performance, management, structure, resources, facilities and plans of Academic Units). Provost Learning & Quality Support

* Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Learning)

Locally-managed Reviews

Responsibility for locally-managed reviews rests with the senior managers of Faculties/Schools (e.g. Executive Deans, Heads of School). Such reviews are supported directly by the local academic area. These reviews may focus on courses, ongoing monitoring of academic programs, and other activities of an individual Faculty/School.

Templates and information on Course Reviews are available on this website.

Division of Academic and Student Engagement

The University of Adelaide
South Australia 5005

Street Address

Level 7, Wills Building
North Terrace Campus


T +61 8 8313 5901
F +61 8 8313 8333