Proposing Degrees, Minors, and Certificates
What Is the Process for Creating a New Degree Program?
The creation of a new degree program (e.g. BA, BS, MA, MS, PhD) requires multiple levels of review at the university, as well as at the UMass system level (by the UMass Board of Trustees), and at the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education (by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education). It usually takes at least 1.5 years from start to finish. The Faculty Senate offers a wealth of useful information about the program proposal process.
The process includes three main stages:
Submission of a Letter of Intent (referred to as a “pre-proposal” or “preliminary proposal” or “LOI” in some documents) for approval by the UMass system office and the Board of Higher Education. This step requires department, dean and provost approval, but not Faculty Senate approval.
Creation of a full proposal to be approved by the dean, provost, and the Faculty Senate.
Submission of the full proposal, as well as an external review of the proposal, to the UMass Board of Trustees and then to the Board of Higher Education.
For more detailed information, please review the Board of Trustees Policy on the creation of new academic degree programs (pdf).
How Do I Propose a New Program?
For faculty members and administrators interested in creating a new degree program, the first step is to contact Senior Vice Provost Farshid Hajir at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-545-0221 for more detailed information on all the components of developing a proposal for a new program and moving it through the above three approval stages.
What Is the Process for Creating a Certificate or Minor?
The creation of a certificate or a minor requires approval by the Faculty Senate; unlike the creation of a new degree program (such as bachelor’s, master’s, or doctorate degrees), it does not require approval by the UMass Board of Trustees or by the Massachusetts Board of Higher Education.
The Faculty Senate has information on the precise definitions of minors and certificates and the distinctions between them, as well as links to the Faculty Senate documents governing their creation.