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Academic Programs: Program Approval Procedures:
Joint Academic Degree Programs

This section shall apply to proposals to establish joint degree programs between two or more campuses of the University of Massachusetts where at least one of the campuses already holds specific degree-granting authority. Proposals for collaborative degree programs in fields in which not participating campus has degree-granting authority, and proposals to develop joint degree programs involving colleges or universities outside the University of Massachusetts , must be developed in accordance with the requirements of the section of this policy document applicable to new Academic Degree Programs. This approval process is not required for programs in which an authorized degree is conferred by one campus onto students enrolled through another campus by special agreement.

Proposals for joint degree programs will also be reviewed in two phases. A Preliminary Application (meeting the requirements set forth below) should be submitted by the Provosts of the participating campuses to the Vice President for Academic Affairs, who circulates it to the Academic Advisory Council. Once the Preliminary Application has been vetted by the Academic Advisory Council, the campuses can proceed to prepare a Final Application. All proposals for joint degree programs must go through normal campus approval processes before being submitted to the President in the form of a Final Application. The Final Application is submitted jointly by the Chancellors of the participating campuses and reviewed by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. If approved by the President, the proposal will be forwarded to the Board of Trustees. If the Board of Trustees approves it, it will then be forwarded to the Board of Higher Education for final action.

Preliminary Application

The initial proposal for a joint degree program should be succinct (not to exceed 5 pages) and should include: (1) a discussion of the reasons for the proposed collaboration, including an explanation of how the proposed joint program should complement, replace, or enhance any current stand-alone programs, and how it would contribute to the missions of participating campuses and the University as a whole; (2) a brief description of current degree program(s) on each participating campus that would contribute to the joint program (including program emphasis, size of faculty and students, etc.); and (3) a discussion of the need and demand for the joint program, including evidence of student demand and career opportunities.

Final Application

The Final Application should incorporate the proponents' discussion of the questions covered in the Preliminary Application and should, in addition, include the following:

  1. A “Program Abstract” consisting of a “fair and concise summary” of the proposed joint degree program, i.e. a condensed version of the Final application (Note: the Program Abstract is circulated by the Board of Higher Education to outside reviewers).
  2. A projection of the expected size of the program, including full-time and part-time students enrolled, projected degree completion rates and the expected time from admission to graduation.
  3. A detailed description of proposed curriculum and program emphasis (including changes to existing curricula where applicable). Include (in an Appendix) a semester by semester sequence of courses including course numbers, credits, and titles, clearly indicating which campus will offer the course as well as which of the courses are new.
  4. A description of how curriculum will be delivered: who will teach courses, where and how (e.g., distance learning, travel between campuses), research and thesis supervision for graduate programs; in other words, the nature of the collaboration.
  5. A description of the structure for program oversight, including admissions, curriculum development, graduation requirement, faculty hiring and assignment, quality control and program evaluation.
  6. A description of mechanisms for distributing student credit hours and faculty effort among campuses for budgetary purposes.
  7. A description of procedures for student registration, advising, and other administrative matters.
  8. A discussion of the budgetary implications for each campus, including sources for required support and anticipated costs or savings. Please display by institution the amount and kinds of additional faculty/staff, facilities, equipment, and library resources needed for the first year and the first full year of implementation, indicating funding sources.
  9. A discussion of the implications for programmatic accreditation and certification or licensure, if applicable.

Approval of a joint degree under these procedures requires that every diploma and transcript issued to students in the program reflect that the program is a collaborative offering of the campuses involved. Approval of a joint degree under these procedures does not constitute authorization for a campus to offer a stand-alone degree unless the campus hold independent authorization to offer such a degree. Should the joint degree program be discontinued at any time, campuses without independent authorization to offer the degree may not continue to offer such degrees without the approval of the Board of Trustees and the Board of Higher Education.

Academic Degree Programs

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

Approval Guide Contents





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