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Excellence by design: standards for postgraduate curricula

These standards set out requirements for designing and developing postgraduate medical curricula.

Excellence by design: standards for postgraduate curricula (pdf), published in May 2017, replaces Standards for curricula and assessment systems (pdf).

The standards should be used along with our range of supplementary guidance which includes advice about assessment and generic professional capabilities, and a guide to making changes to curricula.

Find out more in about these standards, responsibilities and relationships, and the glossary.

 

Principles for all curricula

There are five principles throughout these standards which need to be at the core of all postgraduate medical curricula.

Theme 1: Purpose

CS1.1 The curriculum has a stated and clear purpose based on scope of practice, service, and patient and population needs.

CS1.2 The curriculum considers interdependencies across related specialties and disciplines. It demonstrates that it has addressed the expectations of the service and healthcare system.

CS1.3 The curriculum supports flexibility and transferability of learning.

See what an organisation must do to show they are meeting these standards at Theme 1: Purpose.

Theme 2: Governance and strategic support

CS2.1 The curriculum is developed and regularly reviewed through clear governance processes.

CS2.2 The curriculum results in feasible, practical and sustainable training programmes that can be implemented by organisations responsible for training and service provision.

CS2.3 The curriculum and development process makes sure education and training is fair and is based on principles of equality and diversity.

See what an organisation must do to show they are meeting these standards at Theme 2: Governance and strategic support.

Theme 3: Programme of learning

CS3.1 The curriculum describes the generic, shared and specialty-specific outcomes, as capabilities, expected levels of performance and the breadth of experience that learners must demonstrate to progress or complete training.

CS3.2 Good medical practice and the Generic professional capabilities framework are mapped in the curriculum.

CS3.3 The curriculum must indicate what is needed for learners to show competence, but it should also recognise proficiency or excellence in relevant areas of practice.

See what an organisation must do to show they are meeting these standards at Theme 3: Programme of learning.

Theme 4: Programme of assessment

CS4.1 The programme of assessment is valid, fair, acceptable, feasible and effective. It supports assessors to make reliable judgements and is blueprinted to the curriculum, including the generic, shared and specialty-specific learning outcomes.

CS4.2 It has a positive educational impact and the assessment burden is proportionate.

CS4.3 The programme of assessment discriminates effectively between different levels of performance, and includes critical progression points including completion of training.

CS4.4 The programme of assessment incorporates summative assessments which allow learners to demonstrate they have met the learning outcomes in the curriculum, including generic, shared and specialty-specific outcomes.

CS4.5 The programme of assessment provides principles to inform the management of learners who have not met the required learning outcomes at critical progression points.

CS4.6 The programme of assessment offers opportunities for formative assessment and feedback to support learning, linked to learning outcomes.

See what an organisation must do to show they are meeting these standards at Theme 4: Programme of assessment.

Theme 5: Quality assurance and improvement

CS5.1 The curriculum is regularly reviewed and there are processes in place to make sure it is monitored and improved to keep it up to date.

CS5.2 Redundant elements of the curricula are removed.*

* Changes to the curriculum, including removing redundant elements, are subject to our approval.

See what an organisation must do to show they are meeting these standards at Theme 5: Quality assurance and improvement.