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Academic Affairs

Responsible Office:

Procedure Title:
Graduate Academic Program Proposals, Procedures for Submission

Document Number:

Effective Date:
October 05, 1994

This procedure item applies to:
State-Operated Campuses

Table of Contents

Related Procedures
Other Related Information

It is the policy of the State University of New York (University) to offer graduate programs to serve the needs of both individual students and society. The guidelines given here are designed to insure that the University can respond to the changing needs and dimensions of post-graduate education with programs of high academic quality.


These guidelines have been written in an attempt to make both clear and explicit the requirements, responsibilities and processes involved for State University of new york (University) campuses that wish to initiate new graduate programs. Taking into account the complex regulatory environment of New York State, they set out the information and steps necessary for program preparation, and they describe the stages through which the program proposal will move on its way to registration. Please see Appendix A for a table illustrating the variations in process for graduate programs, with special attention to the Master Plan Amendment process.

I. Procedure for Submission and Evaluation of a Letter of Intent

The letter of intent should be addressed by the campus president to the provost at system administration, with copies shared concurrently with the presidents of all graduate degree granting campuses. Announcement of the submission of the letter of intent will appear in the monthly report of program developments issued by the office of academic affairs.

Responses from system campus presidents regarding the proposed program must be sent to the proposing campus and to the University provost. Comments will be incorporated into the response to the letter of intent by system administration.

The letter of intent should contain the best projections possible at this preliminary stage, according to the following outline:

A.    Program Identity

B.    Planning Factors

C.   Need and Demand

D.   Enrollment and Fiscal Factors

Please note that all enrollment and fiscal amounts which follow should reflect prior year enrollments or allocation, i.e., these entries should be incremental. Additionally, internal reallocation must be considered the primary expected source of funding.

Since this expected enrollment may affect the future campus enrollment composition and totals, estimate the impact this program may have on campus total enrollments and the relative percentage distribution by broad discipline categories.

II. Formal Response to the Letter of Intent by the System Administration

A.   The formal response to a letter of intent will authorize proceeding with proposal development or not, as deemed appropriate, and will provide information on the following matters from the perspective of the University:

B.    If the response authorizes proposal development, the campus president will be asked to notify the provost as soon as possible as to whether or not the campus intends to proceed with proposal development. If the answer is affirmative, the formal proposal should be submitted within two (2) years from the date of response to the letter of intent.

C.   The approval letter from system administration will reiterate that all graduate programs require an external evaluation as part of the full program proposal, and will indicate that campuses are to contact the office of academic affairs at system administration to coordinate the selection of site reviewers.

III. Preparation and Submission of a Formal Proposal for a Graduate Program

Five copies of the complete program proposal should be submitted to the University provost. The complete proposal consists of the following components, described in greater detail in sections immediately following this listing.

IV. Content of the Program Proposal

A.   Cover page. For the format and information to be given on the cover page, see sample cover page
in Appendix B.

B.   Document describing the proposed program. This is by far the most important part of the program proposal. Care should be given to insure proper and detailed information for each topic.

1.    A full description of the program, including program purpose, structure and content and prospective catalog course descriptions:

2.    A description of the impact of the proposed new graduate program on other degree and certificate programs, especially any undergraduate programs, presently offered by the proposing department:

a.    Will access to or time-to-graduate from existing undergraduate programs be reduced?

b.    What is the present student/faculty ratio for the department? How will it change as a result of the introduction of the proposed new graduate program?

3.    A list, by semester, of all graduate courses to be taught in the first three years;

4.    Procedures for academic advising, and for supervision and evaluation of students’ progress through degree completion;

5.    A description of significant resources and support programs, inside and outside the University, to be used by the members of the program.

C.    Faculty

1.    Append vitae of present faculty members who will implement the program and an outline of qualifications deemed necessary for additional faculty to be recruited, if any. Indicate each faculty member’s rank and full-time or part-time status and for which courses each faculty member will be responsible. Also indicate who will be the program director or coordinator. Faculty vitae should include:

D.   Students

1.    Describe the criteria and procedures for admission to the proposed program.

2.    Describe the type of student body to be served. Of particular interest are the following: geographic and academic origins of students; proportions of women and minority group members; foreign students and students for whom English is a second language. If special provisions or requirements are made for the latter, and for special admissions in any categories, describe them.

3.    Describe the types and amounts of financial support anticipated. Indicate the proportion of the student body in each category of support, including those receiving no support.

4.    Complete Tables 4 and 5, Student Characteristics (Table 4)*; Projected Enrollment in the Proposed Program (Table 5)* (these tables meet requirements for enrollment planning from system administration and the New York State Education Department).

E. Facilities

F.   Costs and Resources

1. Complete Table 3, Projected Staff for the Proposed Program*.

2. Complete Table 7, Projected Expenditures for the Proposed Program*.

3. Complete Table 8, Projected Expenditures for the Proposed Program in Other Departments*.

4. Complete Table 9, Projected Revenue Related to the Proposed Program*.

G.    Source of Program Funding (operating budget)

1.    Reallocation within Institution #

Faculty and staff FTE Lines $__________________

2.    Incremental Funding ##

Faculty and staff FTE Lines $______________

# Correlate the information on reallocation with that supplied in answer to B.2 regarding potential impact on undergraduate programs.

## Indicate specifically the expected sources of any incremental funding.

H.    Program Enrollment

1.    Total Headcount ________________

2.    Total Annual Average FTE ________________

This information should be consistent with the data on the cover page. Since this expected enrollment may affect the future campus enrollment composition and totals, estimate the impact this program may have on campus total enrollments and the relative percentage distribution by broad discipline categories.

I. Academic Quality Assurance

1.    How will program quality be maintained and monitored?

J.    Site Visit Evaluation Report

1.    Instructions for the campus

K.    Campus Response to the Site Visit Report

The evaluation report is followed in the final program proposal by the campus response to the report, which contains comments on any recommendations made by the external evaluators. The campus should address all of the evaluators’ concerns, indicating those which have been adopted, will be adopted, or reasons why they cannot be adopted within the context of the University or the particular campus.

L.    Local Resolutions and Support Documents

Local resolutions and support documents may also be included in the full program proposal.

M.   Background statement/brief abstract of the Program for Amendment to the University’s Master Plan

Amendment of the University’s master plan in the form of a Trustees’ Resolution is required for all doctoral programs, for certain licensure-qualifying programs, and for those master’s programs which represent a first use of the master’s degree on a campus, or the first campus entry into a HEGIS discipline. Appended to the resolution to be passed by the University Board of Trustees is a brief summary (1-2 pages) of program information concerning the proposed amendment, under the heading “Background.” It begins with a statement regarding the effect of the Board’s approval of the resolution. The expanded University Background Statement, as described below, will now also serve as the draft abstract which will be circulated at a later date by the New York State Education Department.

After the program has been approved by the University Board of Trustees and forwarded for review and registration to the New York State Education Department, the abstract is sent by the department’s bureau of planning to other New York public, independent, and proprietary degree-granting institutions as the basis for their comments and advice on the need and demand for the proposed program and its potential effect on other institutions.

Elements which should be incorporated in the new, composite University Background/New York State Education Department Abstract include:

V. Combined Degrees Programs

Since the combined bachelor’s/master’s programs require separate registration, specific proposals must be submitted for each combined degree program. Even if the proposed combined degree program is composed of one or more previously registered programs, the materials listed below must be submitted:

VI. Advanced Certificate (Graduate Certificate)

The advanced certificate, known informally as the graduate certificate, may be proposed for any post-baccalaureate curriculum which does not lead to a degree. Such programs are ultimately forwarded to the New York State Education Department for registration purposes only. The advanced certificate shows great variation in the number of credits required, but its salient feature is that all courses involved must be applicable to a registered graduate degree program.

Students may be enrolled directly into the program or may be drawn from those enrolled in other programs.

Because the courses are part of approved graduate programs and the faculty is affiliated with such programs, graduate certificates may follow an abbreviated proposal review and approval process. An external review is not mandatory for graduate certificates but may be advisable in some cases. This will be indicated in the response to the letter of intent. Generally included in the graduate certificate process are the following components:

However, there is some flexibility in this process and variations on this model are possible. If the campus is considering an advanced certificate, the graduate officer should contact the assistant provost for graduate programs at the office of academic programs and research to discuss the optimal way to proceed.

In view of the complex and frequently changing licensure requirements for programs in the health sciences, graduate certificate program proposals in these fields may be treated differently; these should also be discussed with system administration well in advance of submission.

VII. Overview of the Full Process for Doctoral Program Review and Approval

Steps in the new doctoral program review and approval process for the campus,
system administration and the New York State Education Department

1.    Letter of intent from campus president to system administration (provost);

2.    Response to letter of intent from system administration;

3.    Preparation by campus of preliminary program proposal for review by site visitors;

4.    Coordinated selection of external reviewers by:

5.    Submission to system administration (provost) of full program proposal, which includes reviewers’ report and campus’ response to that report;

6.    Review at system administration of full proposal;

7.    Preparation by system administration and campus of master plan amendment for Board of Trustees approval;

8.    Forwarding of proposal, with master plan approval, to the New York State Education Department by system administration provost;

9.    Review by the New York State Education Department of proposal and its statewide impact; preparation for review by the New York State Board of Regents;

10.  Approval of program by board of regents and forwarding it to the Governor (New York State Division of the Budget);

11.  Review of program by division of the budget for fiscal implications;

12.  Governor’s notification of program approval to the New York State Department of Education and system administration;

13.  Registration of the program by the New York State Education Department.


Table 1 - Data on Faculty Members Directly Associated with the Proposed Doctoral Program

Table 3 - Projected Staff for the Proposed Program

Table 2 - Data on Other Faculty Associated with the Proposed Doctoral Program

Table 4 - Student Characteristics

Table 5 - Projected Enrollment for the Proposed Program

Table 6 - Projected Capital Expenditures for the Proposed Program

Table 7 - Projected Expenditures for the Proposed Program

Table 8 - Projected Expenditures for the Proposed Program in Other Departments

Table 9 - Projected Revenue Related to the Proposed Program

Related Procedures

There are no related procedures relevant to this procedure.

Other Related Information

There is no other information relevant to this procedure.


8 NYCRR §3.50 (Authorized degree title and abbreviation)


Memorandum to presidents from the office of the vice chancellor for academic programs, policy and planning, dated November 19, 1984.

Memorandum to presidents from the office of the vice chancellor for academic programs, dated October 21, 1974.

Memorandum to presidents, from the office of the vice chancellor for academic programs, dated October 1, 1973.

Guidelines for Evaluations of Graduate Programs dated November 30, 1972.


Appendix A - Steps for Graduate Program Approval

Appendix B - University Cover Page and Summary Sheet.

Appendix C - Evaluation Report Form for Graduate Program Proposals

Appendix D - Samples of Model Master Plan Amendment Background Statements & Program Abstracts