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Academic Programs: Program Approval Procedures:
Academic Degree Programs

The Board of Higher Education Procedures for New Academic Program Proposals and Program Changes establish a two-stage approval procedure for all new programs in public higher education in the Commonwealth. In August 1997 the University Board of Trustees adopted a new program approval procedure consistent with the BHE procedures (Procedures for University Approval of New academic Degree Programs, Program Changes, and Program Termination [Doc T92-012 as amended on 8/6/97]). A “Preliminary Application” will consist of a concise description of, and rationale for, the proposed program. The “Final Application” will fully address all relevant issues including those relating to need and demand, mission, resources, curriculum and faculty.

Preliminary Application

The Preliminary Application should provide a succinct description of, and rationale for, the proposed Academic Degree Program and should be no more than five (5) single-spaced pages in length. It should be viewed as a vehicle by which the proponents of a new program can, in a general way and without significant expenditure of time and resources, “make the case” for their proposed program to the campus and system officials responsible for the approval of new programs. Its main purpose is to provide those campus and system officials with sufficient descriptive and contextual information about the program to allow those officials to make an informed judgment about whether the proposal has sufficient merit to warrant the preparation of a Final Application. Specifically, the Preliminary Application should address the extent to which there is a need for the degree program (including why existing programs at the same campus, on other University campuses, or at other public or private institutions with the campus' service area cannot meet this need). It should also explain the ways in which the proposed program is consistent with and serves to advance the stated mission and goals of the campus and the University.

Typically, new program proposals originate in an academic department, although there may be circumstances under which a proposal originates in a Dean's office or the Provost's office. The Preliminary Application should be forwarded to the President by the campus Chancellor. It will be circulated for comment to the members of the Academic Advisory Council. The Chancellor of the Board of Higher Education will also be invited to comment. Upon review, the President will advise the campus Chancellor as to whether to proceed with a Final Application and discuss any issues that merit particular consideration in that process. An instruction to proceed with a Final Application does not constitute assurance of approval of the proposed program.

Explanation of Graduate and Undergraduate Certificates
Supplemental Guidelines for Undergraduate Certificate Proposals
Supplemental Guidelines for Graduate Certificate Proposals
Review Process Preliminary Application Process For Certificates More Than 30 Credits
Review Process New Program -- Final Application for Certificates More Than 30 Credits

Final Application

The Final Application should provide a comprehensive description of the proposed Academic Degree Program and should include an expanded analysis of the issues discussed in the Preliminary Application (e.g. purpose, need and relationship to mission) as well as a careful and thorough discussion of the more practical and technical issues raised by the proposal (e.g. resources, curriculum, admissions and faculty). It should contain all of the information necessary to allow campus, University and other reviewers to meaningfully evaluate the program and should provide all of the information requested under the nine (9) general subject headings set forth in Form RP.

While it would be helpful if the main body of the application were organized under the same subject headings that are listed in Form RP, different formats may be used as long as the relevant information is provided. Persons preparing the Final Application should, in any event, be mindful that the cogency and realism of the proposal, and the succinctness and clarity of its presentation, will be considered good indicators of a campus' ability to mount a program of high quality

The Final Application must also include a “Program Abstract” which should not exceed four pages in length. The program abstract should be a fair and concise summary of the proposal and the nine (9) items noted on Form RP. In the event the proposal is approved by the University's Board of Trustees and forwarded to the Board of Higher Education, the Program Abstract will be circulated by the Board of Higher Education to other public institutions for comment.

Fifty copies (50) of a New Program Approval Form, Final Application (Form RP) will come from a departmental curriculum committee, with a New Program Proposal Signature Sheet, Final Application (Form QP), to be approved by the department head/chair, the college curriculum committee and the Dean. The proposal will be sent back to the department head/chair for a thorough review and his/her signature. The proposal will then be forwarded to the Faculty Senate Office where it will be sent out in a 30-Day Letter and referred to the appropriate council(s) and committee(s). The council(s) and committee(s) will make a recommendation to the Senate. If the Senate recommends approval, the proposal will go to the Provost for review and transmittal to the Chancellor. Upon approval by the Chancellor, the proposal will be transmitted to the President.

Explanation of Graduate and Undergraduate Certificates
Supplemental Guidelines for Undergraduate Certificate Proposals
Supplemental Guidelines for Graduate Certificate Proposals
Review Process Preliminary Application Process For Certificates More Than 30 Credits
Review Process New Program -- Final Application for Certificates More Than 30 Credits

The President will solicit comments on the proposal from the Academic Advisory Council. If, after a careful and thorough review by staff, the President decides to recommend approval of the program, the President will forward a written recommendation to the University Board of Trustees. The President may require that the proposal be reviewed by a team of external evaluators qualified to comment on issues of faculty, quality, curricular coherence, and adequacy of resources. External evaluations will normally be required when graduate programs are being proposed and may entail a visit to the campus by the evaluators. All expenses for external evaluators will be borne by the requesting campus. If the Final Application is approved by the Board of Trustees, it will be forwarded to the Board of Higher Education.

Joint Academic Degree Programs

General Information and Definitions
Program Revision Procedures
Policy and Procedures: Termination of Existing Programs

Approval Guide Contents





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