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Designated Alternative Programmes (DAPs) for programmes assessed under NFAAR:UG


What is a Designated Alternative Programme?

A Designated Alternative Programme (DAP) is a programme which is available as an alternative to pursuing a student's present programme. In the case of high student performance, a student might be eligible to transfer to a more demanding programme (e.g., from bachelor to integrated master). In cases of weaker performance, a student might be able to transfer from an integrated master's programme to a bachelor's degree programme, or a less-demanding programme not carrying professional accreditation. In a student's final year a DAP might be available as an alternative degree where the student has not met the requirements for their original programme.

What is the difference between an exit award and a DAP?

An exit award is an award that a student is automatically eligible for (Certificate of Higher Education or Diploma of Higher Education) if they withdraw before completing their current programme, or if  they fail to achieve the normal final award and have to withdraw. Students will receive the appropriate exit award as long as they meet the requirements for the levels of units and the numbers of credits for an award. A student does not have to request this. Students cannot transfer onto an exit award and complete further study/assessment in order to meet the requirements of the exit award.

In contrast, a DAP is an alternative programme of study which students can transfer onto if they meet the admissions requirements as described in their programme handbook (see below). Depending on their stage of study students could be allowed to progress onto the next stage of study of a DAP or be awarded the DAP as an alternative award at the end of their studies.

How do I know whether a DAP is available for my programme?

The programme catalogue entry for your programme will indicate whether a DAP is available and, in most cases, will specify what the DAP is. Even if a DAP is available for your programme, it may not be possible to transfer onto it from all years of study (e.g. some programmes may only permit transfer to DAP from Year 2 onwards, or only at the end of the final year). The NFAAR information for each programme year will include a statement telling you whether transfer to DAP is permitted from that year. Your programme handbook will provide more detailed information on the circumstances in which transfer to DAP may be possible/required.

How will I know if I can transfer onto the DAP?

If a student does not meet the requirements to stay on their current programme or they wish to transfer to a more demanding programme, they are not automatically eligible to transfer to a DAP (if one is available). Where departments offer DAPs for some programmes/years the rules governing transfer onto them will be described in departmental information; normally programme handbooks. Formally, a department must take the decision to admit the student onto the DAP ensuring that the student meets the necessary requirements. For that reason, transfer to the DAP is not automatic.

DAPs for programmes with a placement year or study year abroad

Placement/study year abroad programmes will be described as having a DAP where a full-time (non-placement) equivalent exists. In the event that a student fails the placement/study abroad year he/she will be transferred to the next stage of the full-time (non-placement) equivalent, subject to meeting the normal progression requirements to the next stage of study.

Further information

If a DAP is available for your programme, your programme handbook should include full details of the circumstances in which transfer onto it may be possible or required. If, after reading your programme handbook, you have any further queries, please contact your Director of Studies for further advice.