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Source: T92-012

The Review and Approval of New Academic Degree Programs

The review and approval of new Academic Degree Programs will occur in two phases. A "Preliminary Application" consisting of a concise description of, and rationale for, the proposed program will be reviewed by the President and the Academic Advisory Council. The "Final Application" will fully address all relevant issues including those relating to need and demand, mission, resources, curriculum and faculty. The full proposal will be reviewed by the Academic Advisory Council and the Vice President for Academic Affairs, and, if approved by the President, forwarded to the Board of Trustees for action. All proposals approved by the University Board of Trustees must be forwarded to the Board of Higher Education for approval. 


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 no 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 to the President 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. 


Once approved, an Academic Degree Program may not be materially and substantially changed unless and until it has been reviewed and approved under a process deemed appropriate by the Vice President for Academic Affairs. A brief written description should be submitted to the Vice President for Academic Affairs who will determine whether the proposed change should be reviewed under the same procedures applicable to new programs or under some less comprehensive procedure, as he or she shall specify. Proposals to offer new concentrations, tracks, options, certificate programs or the like within existing degree programs will not be considered material or substantial changes. However, campuses proposing such changes are required to send a written notice to the President and the Board of Higher Education 60 days prior to announcing the change. 

A campus wishing to change the name of a program must obtain the approval of the President of the University as well as the Vice Chancellor of the Board of Higher Education. The request for approval should include an explanation of the reasons for the name change.