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 Overview of the CIQ

The Course Initiation Questionnaire (CIQ) is a new online approvals process for short courses offered as part of UCL Life Learning (i.e. short courses and CPD for career advancement and personal or professional development).

The aim of this process is to assess the validity of an idea for a new course and gain departmental and faculty approval to proceed to development.

Download our easy to print guide on using the CIQ.

 Courses that should go through the CIQ approvals process

All proposed new non-credit-bearing courses and activities to be offered as part of UCL Life Learning (i.e. short courses and CPD for career advancement and personal or professional development).  if either of the following apply to the course or activity:

a)     Participants will be asked to pay a fee

b)     Participants will be awarded a UCL Certificate of Participation

If you wish to develop a course using our externally facing online learning platform, UCL eXtend, you use the CIQ process only if the above apply. If your course is free or not awarding any kind of certification, please use the UCLeXtend application process.

 Why UCL is introducing a short course approvals process

The CIQ approval process is part of the development of a Quality Framework around short courses and CPD. Life Learning activities are part of the UCL 2034 strategy (theme 4) and therefore a streamlined, aligned process is necessary.

Whilst there are guidelines, and approval and monitoring processes for UCL’s degree programmes, there is no mirrored or standardised process across UCL for the approval of new short courses and CPD. We want to ensure all short courses reflect the high quality of the UCL brand and provide the best learning experience for participants.

The Quality Framework will be a step towards ensuring this quality and includes the below elements:

  • The online approval process (CIQ)
  • Identifying and establishing a Life Learner status: i.e. determining and clarifying what students attending short courses are entitled to, like library access. This is a project currently underway in Academic Registry and with the Life Learning team
  • UCL being able to officially issue Certificates of Participation to short course attendees – a template will be available in the new year
  • Short courses being part of the Academic Manual and recognised as part of UCL’s education activity
  • The introduction of a quality review process within departments to ensure they are collating feedback and reviewing their short course portfolios on a regular basis – more to come on this in the new year
  • The combined work currently underway by Academic Registry and Life Learning on clarifying and defining the scope and requirements of credit bearing short courses
  • The work of the Life Learning team in giving practical support and advice to those developing and promoting short courses and CPD. Through the team’s expert advice on learning design, costing and pricing, marketing and other areas, they are aiming to help departments increase the efficiency, quality and success of their short courses. This is being underpinned by this online resource offering advice, templates and best practice examples.

 The benefits of using the CIQ process

Using the CIQ approvals process will benefit:

You, as staff developing and running courses, because you will:

  • be able to use your time more efficiently as it will help you to focus on short courses and CPD  that have the most potential for success
  • be assured that what you are developing meets quality criteria and will therefore have more potential appeal to learners 
  • have more clarity around accurate costing and better insight into the impact of quality design on cost
  • be able to provide library resources to your learners where appropriate
  • be supported in the planning process by colleagues and services across UCL i.e. Life Learning, library and CALT

UCL departments and faculties, because they will:

  • have more oversight and control over the short courses and CPD they are delivering
  • be able to plan the use of resources associated with developing and running short courses more effectively
  • be able to build stronger ties with industry, confident in the knowledge that the training they can offer them is reliable and of the highest quality

UCL more generally as it will:

  • reinforce UCL’s commitment to the high quality and impact of short courses
  • introduce a process to encourage a high level of quality which will make courses more attractive to learners and businesses, and protect the brand reputation of UCL
  • allow transparency across the institution, allowing departments and faculties to able to implement strategic planning by gaining better understanding of activities and reduce inefficiencies

 Who should complete the CIQ process

The CIQ should be completed by course initiators.

 Who will be approving CIQ proposals?

Once you submit your proposal, an email will be sent to the head of your department for approval. If your head of department approves, the proposal will then be sent on to the relevant Faculty Tutor for approval.

There is a section in the online form where you can amend the approver and add additional approvers if appropriate.

 What will be assessed in the CIQ

Most of the questions in the CIQ are easy tick boxes and drop downs. You will need to articulate your idea, why you think it has a market and complete a basic costing and pricing estimate. Details on exactly what you will be asked for.

Download our easy to print guide on using the CIQ.

Download our easy to print guide
Step by step guide to completing the CIQ.

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Where to go for help

For technical issues (e.g. you can’t find the right department from the drop down)  

Portico Services Office

Portico help desk

020 7679 0637


For general advice about your short course proposal (including costing and pricing, market research, learning design and more)

UCL Life Learning

UCL Life Learning wiki page

020 7679 9358 or 9353 (Internal: 09358/09353)


For copyright check readings and ensuring readings meet the licence conditions

UCL Library

Teaching & Learning Support Section


For advice on the UCLeXtend platform and its use


UCLeXtend wiki page


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