Program Architecture Project - Phase 1

The Program Architecture Project aims to enhance the UQ student experience by reviewing and simplifying our program structures and teaching-related policies and procedures.

Anticipated outcomes

Enabling a more flexible and sustainable approach to program design to foster greater responsiveness to a changing world and greater interdisciplinary collaboration.

  • Improving retention and progression;
  • Improving timetabling including for exams;
  • Improving the quantity and quality of student interaction with academics;
  • Fewer student appeals based on administrative error;
  • More timely and accurate responses to student enquiries;
  • Automated advice based on consistent policies;
  • Greater support for complex learning needs and mental health.


The Student Strategy (PDF,1.2MB) and the UQ Strategic Plan 2018-2021 (PDF,4.3MB) underpin this project that sets out to deliver student-centred flexibility and an improved student experience. This will be achieved through the delivery of a streamlined portfolio of programs and courses underpinned by rules and policies that are enabling, consistent and transparent. In addition, the work undertaken will examine the extent to which a simplified program architecture can be designed to enable a more agile program structure with an increased potential for interdisciplinarity, including the possible integration of cross-cutting courses and other kinds of innovative learning activities.


UQ is leading the project and PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) has been engaged to assist in the initial phase (Phase 1 – 2018) to develop tools and artefacts which will allow the University to continue with a University-wide review (Phase 2 – 2019) following the consultants' work. 

Phase 1: "Proof of Concept"

The work in Phase 1 has been split into three streams as follows:

  • Stream 1 (led by Professor Greg Hainge) aims to analyse our current offerings and establish and validate a suite of indicators that will help us transition to a more responsive, flexible and efficient taught portfolio. 6 programs including a dual program will be assessed
  • Stream 2 (led by Associate Professor Peter Sutton) aims to simplify program and course rules without compromising student outcomes, to streamline program administration and to positively impact the student experience. 6 single programs and 6 dual programs will be assessed, and
  • Stream 3 (led by Ms Bronwyn Henderson) will rationalise University policy to reduce inconsistency and provide transparency for students. 12 policies and associated procedures will be assessed.

Phase 2 (current): see Program Architecture 2

Organisation and resourcing

Project Governance Structure

Project Sponsor: Professor Joanne Wright, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic)

Project Steering Committee

Project Team

Frequently asked questions


Why do we need to work with an external consulting company for this project?

While we have many excellent people working at UQ who would be able to undertake much of the work required by this project, we know that across the University people are working at capacity already. Using PwC – who have already worked with a number of Australian universities – enables us to fast-track the very large volume of work required in the initial proof-of-concept phase and to leverage their expertise in data analytics. This project aims to lay the foundations for a transformational change of the student learning experience at UQ hence it is important to note that the project is overseen by a steering committee made up of senior staff from across UQ and that each of the project’s stream leads is a UQ person with long and deep experience of the institution.

UQ is leading the project with PwC engaged for a 12 week period to assist in the initial phase (Phase 1 – 2018). Costs for PwC’s services are commercial in confidence.

PwC are engaged to play a supporting role only and all recommendations and decisions from Phase 1 will be formulated by UQ subject to normal UQ procedures.

What is the expected use and amount of staff time necessary to conduct the two phases of the project across the University?

Several UQ staff will oversee Phase 1 (August – December 2018) which is the initial ‘proof of concept’ phase of the project and comprises of three streams:
• Stream 1 led by Professor Greg Hainge, School of Languages and Cultures
• Stream 2 led by Associate Professor Peter Sutton, Associate Dean (Academic), Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology
• Stream 3 led by Ms Bronwyn Henderson.

Project Working Groups will be coordinated by these Stream Leads to validate the findings with stakeholders. As the Project Sponsor, Professor Joanne Wright, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), will drive the program of work assisted by the following team:
• Professor Doune Macdonald - PVC (Learning and Teaching)
• Mrs Sue Chapple - Senior Manager Academic Projects
• Mr Mark Erickson - Academic Registrar
• Dr Nicole Hartley - Project Consultant Advisor
• Ms Sasha Vaynberg - Senior Data Analyst
• Mrs Emma Ryan - Project Officer

The project Steering Committee, chaired by Professor Joanne Wright, Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic), will monitor the project progress against a project plan and approve recommendations presented by the project team.

Resourcing implications for Phase 2 (January – December 2019) won’t be known until the end of Phase 1.

How were the specific programs chosen for review in Streams 1 and 2?

Phase 1 is a Proof of Concept, therefore the key element taken into account by the Steering Committee when deciding on the programs for review was diversity amongst the programs chosen.

What will the process be for introducing new courses and making sure that they are in line with any new programs and policies developed?

There is no intention to stop business as usual or prevent innovation. As with any new program proposal, recommendations from this review will need to pass through the University’s normal committees and approval processes.

Is there a communications strategy and what will be the formal process for providing updates on the project?

A communications plan has been developed for Phase 1 to ensure stakeholders understand the project. Regular email updates from the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) will be distributed to all staff and general announcements and project progress updates will be accessible online via the project web page. The Program Architecture Project team is happy to present at Faculty and School Teaching and Learning committee meetings and/or other suitable boards and committees. Please contact us by emailing if you would like the team to come and present to you.

Will the student body be represented in the project working groups?

We are still in the very early stages of the ‘Proof of Concept’ phase of the project. There will be working groups put together within each of the streams and these working groups will consist of a broad range of stakeholders including representation from the student body where this is appropriate.

How can I provide input into the project?

We are currently entering the ‘Proof of Concept’ phase of the project where we will work with PwC to develop tools to enable us to review our program and course portfolio, and underpinning policies and procedures.

It will be important to have input from a broad range of stakeholders as part of the more holistic review which will occur in Phase 2 of the project and beyond, particularly as we move towards implementation. We would value and welcome your input during this time. We anticipate that there will be focus groups, working groups, and various forums.

In addition, the project Steering Committee reports to Academic Board, USMG, University T&L, and CAPP and this will provide further opportunities for the wider University to provide input.

More information

Refer to the Frequently asked questions (below) or contact:

Program Architecture project team
P: +61 7 344 31350