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Application forms and guidance
Accreditation Review Panel
List of accredited programmes

Application forms and guidance

The application process for geography programme accreditation asks Departments to make the case for the quality of their teaching and learning, with reference to the programme's aims and content and the development of professional practice and skills in their students.

A short overview of the application process, eligibility and deadlines is below. For more detailed information, departments are asked to read and follow the Programme Accreditation Handbook (PDF), which provides further guidance on the application/review process and advice on completing the Programme Accreditation Application Form (DOC).

Applications for programme accreditation are administered by the Society's Research and Higher Education Division (RHED), working with an Accreditation Review Panel made up of academics and practitioners. The Panel will assess all applications and make recommendations for acceptance to the Society's Council, which meets three times each year. Application deadlines will be aligned with these meetings. Programmes will normally be accredited for a term of six years, with applications for renewal expected between five and six years of accreditation.

The next deadline for application is: Friday 30 March 2018

All questions and other correspondence regarding programme accreditation should be directed to Dr Stephanie Wyse, Project coordinator: Learning, teaching and accreditation:

email accreditation@rgs.org
telephone +44 (0)20 7591 3024

Application process

A completed application for programme accreditation includes:

  • A completed Application Form, which will contain a written reflection on the programme's content and aims, and the development of professional practice (approx. 2000 to 4000 words)*
  • Mandatory supporting evidence, to include:
    • Programme specification/s
    • Module specifications
    • A module overview mapping/matrix that shows compulsory and optional modules at each level
    • Student handbook/s
    • External examiner reports for the past three years (or for as long as the course has been run), and the Department's responses to these
    • Most recent Periodic Review report (or, in the case of new programmes, initial approval)
  • Additional supporting evidence (optional - see Accreditation Handbook for more information)

* Departments should complete one application form per programme. If accreditation is sought for multiple programmes, it may be possible to combine them into a single form/application in certain circumstances. Please contact accreditation@rgs.org for advice before starting a combined application.

To help with planning and to ensure application paperwork is safely received, it would be useful if Departments intending to submit an application could signal their intention by email to accreditation@rgs.org. (A signal of intention may be made at any time. Applications will be considered without a signal of intention. Signalling intention does not bind you to making an application.)

Completed applications should be sent to accreditation@rgs.org. Applications will be checked by RHED for completeness and relevance before being assembled for assessment by the Accreditation Review Panel. Applicants will be kept informed of progress.

Find out more:


The programme accreditation scheme is appropriate for those programmes which reference the QAA subject benchmark statement for geography. Applications are welcomed for:

  • Single honours geography programmes;
  • Programmes where geography makes up at least 60 per cent of a combined programme; and/or
  • Integrated Masters geography programmes, where a Masters degree is awarded upon completion of a specialist fourth year.

Applications are welcomed from both existing and new programmes that have completed the relevant institutional approval processes. In the case of new programmes that have not yet been offered or are in their first year of delivery, the Panel may recommend a shorter period of accreditation.

Please refer to the programme accreditation handbook, which contains detailed and important information about eligibility with reference to subject coverage and integration.

Deadlines and fees

The next deadline for applications is Friday 30 March 2018. After that, the next deadlines are the last working day in September and March each year.

The Accreditation Review Panel will consider all complete applications received by this date, and make recommendations for acceptance to the Society's Council, for consideration at their next meeting.

To help with planning, it would be useful if Departments intending to submit an application could signal their intention by email to accreditation@rgs.org. (Applications will be considered without a signal of intention; signalling intention does not bind you to making an application.)


The one-off, up-front (and non-refundable) fee for making an application for accreditation is £500 + VAT per programme to be accredited. The application fee will be invoiced at the point of submission and must be paid before accreditation can be formally awarded by Council. Invoice/payment details must be included in your application form.

For departments that offer a range of awards resulting from different pathways through the same set of modules, these will be treated as one programme for the purposes of accreditation and only attract one application fee. Such pathways would normally share a set of core modules. Substantially different pathways or specialisms within a set of modules may be treated as separate programmes, at the discretion of the Society with advice from the Panel.

An annual registration fee of £150 + VAT will be levied to maintain accreditation. This is a flat fee per department, regardless of the number of programmes accredited. The annual registration fee will be invoiced on the anniversary of accreditation, but if Departments wish to be invoiced for the application fee and five years of annual registration fees in a single lump sum, that can be arranged.

Please note that these fees are subject to review and change from time to time.

Changes to accredited programmes

The Society accepts that programmes of study evolve to reflect the latest developments in the subject and to meet the needs of students and employers. Providers offering degree programmes in geography are free to decide upon, and are responsible for, the details of content and organisation of their programmes.

If the content or delivery method of a programme will change substantially during the period of accreditation, departments are asked to send a summary of changes to the Society (accreditation@rgs.org) each year at the time of re-registration, and/or at the point in their institutional review process where input from an accreditation provider is normally expected.

The Panel expects to review any changes to accredited programmes that fall into the following categories:

  • Any changes to credit weighting, content or assessment methods in core modules;
  • Changes that affect the mapping of the programme against the Geography Subject Benchmark Statement, especially the balance of human/physical geography across the programme (bearing in mind the expectation that an accredited programme adequately demonstrates Sections 3.2, 3.8 and 3.9 of the Subject Benchmark Statement); and/or
  • Any other changes that would trigger an institutional review, or which would require feedback from an accreditation provider before institutional sign-off may occur.

Changes to programmes accredited by RGS-IBG must conform to any relevant individual institutional policies and procedures regarding accreditation.

Find out more about notifying changes to accredited programmes.

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