Supports for Policy Writers

How to Write a Policy

Please bear the following in mind when developing an academic policy:

Document Hierarchy

 A guide to document categories

Document Hierarchy APP [downloadable PDF]

The University’s Document Hierarchy is represented by a pyramid. The pyramid illustrates the relationship between categories of documents within the University academic governance structure. The Hierarchy requires that each document lower in the hierarchy, must relate to, and be consistent with, a document in the hierarchy. Where one document conflicts with another, the document placed higher in the hierarchy will take precedence.


The term ‘Acts’ refers to the body of legislation currently in force in the State
e.g. Universities Act 1997


Statutes are formal documents approved by the Governing Body to regulate the University’s affairs e.g. Principal Statute.

Governing Body Regulations

Governing Body regulations are high level overarching rules regulating the conduct of business of the Governing Body e.g. Regulation on the Conduct of Governing Body Business.

University Policy

A University Policy is a formal statement of principle that regulates University operations e.g. Recognition of Prior Learning Policy. A policy may stand
alone or can be implemented through supporting documents.

Code of Conduct

A Code of Conduct is a statement of rules outlining the responsibilities of, or proper practices for, an individual, unit, group or organisation e.g. Code of Research Conduc


A Charter is a document outlining the reciprocal responsibilities, obligations and entitlements of two or more parties in an active partnership e.g. Student Charter

Code of Practice

A Code of Practice sets out key principles, good practice guidelines and expectations in relation to a subject matter e.g. Code of Practice for the Supervision of Research Students.


A Procedure is a series of detailed steps which support the practical
implementation of a policy e.g. Procedure for the Investigation of Allegations of Plagiarism in Research Theses.


A Guideline sets out the approach to be taken towards a particular issue e.g. Guidelines for the Support of Pregnant Students.


A Protocol is a defined set of actions to be taken on the occurrence of a specific event e.g. Academic Protocol for Responding to Students who Encounter Difficulties on Study Abroad Programmes.

Academic Affairs and Governance

Gnothaí Acadúla agus Rialú