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Supports for Policy Writers

Key considerations

Alignment with University Policy Framework

Ensure that your policy aligns with the UCC Policy Framework.
The UCC Policy Framework applies to all policies developed for and on behalf of the University. The framework outlines procedure principles for new policies or major amendments to policy and is the primary guide to development and amendments to policies.  

Use the Academic Policy Template

Construct your policy using the provided Academic Policy Template.  This template offers a structured format for academic policies.
Explore the section on Policy Document Headings to see the purpose of each of the template headings.

Document Hierarchy Guidance

The Document Hierarchy APP, categorises different types of documents. 
This guide will help you place your policy/document within the appropriate hierarchy.

Legal Consultation

If in any doubt regarding possilbe legal implications, seek legal advice from the Office of Corporate and Legal Affairs.


New and amended Academic Policies require wide consultation and approval. Policies may need approval from some or all of the following in order:

  1. College or local level approval
  2. Academic Development Standards Committee
  3. Academic Board
  4. Academic Council

When submitting a policy to the Academic Development Sub Committee (ADSC) and/or Academic Board or other committee for discussion or approval, include the appropriate coversheet. You can request this coversheet from the relevant meeting support administrator, whose contact information can be found in the committee's Term of Reference.  

Style and formatting

Consistency is key—make sure your language and guidelines match those of other university policies.
It is best practice to use use headings to convey meaning and structure. Correctly format headings and sub-headings throughout to maximise accessibility. Avoid using roman numerals in lists.
Check out the samples of recently approved policies for style and formatting, e.g.,

Policy document headings

HEADINGS ESSENTIAL (these will be included on WEB)

  • Policy Title
  • Policy Owner (Office/unit with ultimate responsibility for maintain policy)
  • Definitions (define any important terms or key concepts used in the policy– bullet points may be used)
  • Purpose
  • Scope (Outline the purpose and reach of this policy)
  • Roles and Responsibilities (Outline the major responsibilities each party has in connection with the policy-how the different stakeholder are expected to interact with the policy)
  • Policy Statement (Outline the main text of the policy here. Provide a clear structure as you would for a standard document policy with headings, sub-headings, numbers paragraphs and lists as appropriate.)
  • Review and approval (when will this be next reviewed)
  • Contact for further information (Provide email and details on the best position to contact about the policy and associated matters. List a position rather than an individual)
  • Version number
  • Revision date (if not approval date)
  • Approval Body and date approved

Optional for web

  • Supporting procedures (Outline supporting procedures and provide a list of links to related polices and relevant documents.)
  • Supporting Guidelines (Outline supporting guidelines and provide a list of links to relate polices and relevant documents.) 
  • Relevant Statutes
  • Breach of policy
  • Related Documents (List any related policies/procedures/guidelines)
  • Summary of changes


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.

Download UCC's Policy Template

Click to download UCC's Academic Policy Template.  

Construct your policy using the provided

This template offers a structured format for academic policies.


Academic Affairs and Governance

Gnothaí Acadúla agus Rialú