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Format for Proposals for New Academic Programs


All program proposals should have the following elements:

  •  Cover page
    • The title page should include the name of the program; the names of the institution, college, and department(s); the proposed implementation date; the name and signature of the provost; the date the proposal was submitted; and the signature of the university president or his/her designee and date of their signature.
  • Table of contents (optional)
    • The table of contents should include direct reference to the seven criteria used by the Board of Governors to review proposals.
  • Body of the proposal
    • The body will include textual information, charts, tables, and other data displays as appropriate. The seven criteria in Board of Governors’ Policy 1985-01 must be addressed.
  • Executive Summary
    • The summary should address the seven criteria in brief. The document should be in MSWord; font should be Franklin Gothic Book, 12pt.; and one space between sentences. The Executive Summary should not exceed three pages.
  • Five-year budget projection
    • The appropriate budget projection form is included on page 7 of this document and is also on the PASSHE website.
  • Template Files  



Name of Degree

A New Program/Degree Proposal

University Name

College of ______________________

Department of __________________

Proposed Implementation Date: (Semester, Year)

Proposal prepared by: Name and Signature

Proposal submitted: Date

Signature of President or Designee:


Recommended Table of Contents for Program Proposals

1. Appropriateness to Mission
Description, scope, and purpose of the program

Alignment with State System mission, goals, and initiatives outlined in its strategic plan, Leading the Way

Appropriateness to university mission and strategic direction

2. Need
Need as substantiated by employment trends

Demand for the program among current and prospective students

Uniqueness of the program

Enrollment projections

3. Academic Integrity
Program structure/administration

Program goals

Student learning outcomes

Curriculum overview

Degree requirements

Course offerings

Learning experiences and instructional methods

Leadership and faculty qualifications

Student qualifications/support/advisement

4. Coordination with Other Programs
With related programs at other institutions

With other departments/units on campus

With outsides agencies, corporations, etc.

5. Assessment and Accreditation
Collecting and evaluating student-learning outcomes data (Assessment and Accreditation: Assessing Student Learning Outcomes Policy 1997-01).

Use of student-learning outcomes data to improve the program (the feedback loop)

Collecting and evaluating program goals

Use of program assessment to improve the program

Plan for achieving specialized accreditation (if available for the program)

6. Resource Sufficiency
Overview of resource sufficiency

7. Impact on Educational Opportunity
Effect on under-represented groups of students

Effect on faculty, advisors, etc.

Effect on employers

8. Bibliography (Optional)

9. Executive Summary (should not exceed three pages)

10. Five-Year Budget Projection (form provided on page 7)

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Appropriateness to Mission

Description, scope, and purpose of the program


Alignment with State System mission and goals


Appropriateness to university strategic direction




Academic Integrity

Program structure and administration


Program goals


Student learning outcomes


Curriculum overview


SAMPLE Curriculum Overview

Major and major-related courses

Foreign language 6 credits

100/200 level prerequisites and requirements 15 credits

300/400 level requirements 27 credits

Specialization courses 12 credits

Electives 6 credits

Seminar 3 credits

Total 69 credits

General education courses

Wellness 3 credits

Composition, math, and speech skills 9 credits

Science distribution 6 credits

Social sciences distribution 12 credits

Humanities distribution 12 credits

Electives 9 credits

Total 51 credits

Total 120 credits

Course offerings

(Catalog descriptions)

Describe how each course supports the program goals and student learning outcomes.

Learning experiences and instructional methods


Faculty qualifications

Briefly describe the expertise of the faculty members who will be teaching in the program.

Student qualifications/support/advisement


Coordination with Other Programs

With related programs at other institutions


With other departments/units on campus


With outside agencies, corporations, etc.


Assessment and Accreditation

Student Learning Outcomes


Program Goals


Specialized Accreditation, if available for the program


Resource Sufficiency


Impact on Educational Opportunity



Faculty Qualifications

(Use the form below for each faculty member associated with the new program.)

Name: Years at University:

Degree(s) Earned:

Current Teaching Responsibilities (list course numbers and titles):

Teaching Responsibilities for Proposed Program (list course numbers and titles):

Scholarship Related to the Proposed Program:

Additional Responsibilities Related to the Proposed Program:

Other Information Relevant to the Proposed Program:

Additional Information

(Information that will support the proposal such as Surveys of Potential Students and Surveys of Potential Employers)


Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5


Tuition or University E&G

External Grants and Contracts



Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5

Salaries and/or benefits (Faculty and Staff)

Learning resources

Instructional equipment

Facilities and/or modifications




Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Year 4
Year 5

FTE Enrollment

Projected Annual Credits Generated

Tuition Generated

Budget Notes


SAMPLE questions for possible discussion in each section of the proposal

Appropriateness to Mission

What kind of degree is being proposed?

What is the program title?

How does the degree/program fit with articulated Board of Governors’ priorities, university goals, and Commonwealth workforce needs?

Why is this a program that the State System should offer (as opposed to a community college or a four-year university outside the System, for example)?

Is this program a good match for this university? Even if there is a need out there, why does it make sense for the university to respond to the need?


What is the driving motivation behind creation of the program?

What evidence do you have that there is a need for this program? What are labor projections in this discipline in the U.S., in the Commonwealth, and in the service area? Are the workforce needs expected to last for the next ten years or more? (Cite recent statistics on needs for programs such as this one.)

Was a market analysis conducted to determine level of demand? Surveys of prospective students? Surveys of prospective employers? What student population do you anticipate attracting? Are there new markets to tap?

To what extent is this program unique? Are there competitors? If this program might be see as duplicating other State System programs, have you adequately explained why the program is needed at your specific university and why it is different in scope or content from existing programs?

Why is it more important for the university to invest in this program than in other programs it might offer?

How will the program be advertised and marketed?

How does this program respond to disciplinary changes/evolution? In what ways is this program forward looking?

Academic Integrity

In which department(s) will the program be located?

What will students be able to do when they graduate from this program? What are the student learning outcomes? What is the program designed to teach?

What curricular models were used in designing this curriculum? Are the curricular elements dictated by accreditation criteria? Did you collaborate with the local community, discipline experts, other universities, and consultants as you designed the program?

What are the components of the curriculum? How are courses sequenced, e.g., with pre-requisites? How are the courses meant to fit together as a whole? How does each course relate to one or more learning outcome(s)? Have you provided proposed, catalog descriptions of the courses?

What relationship will the major courses have to general education, i.e., the balance of breadth and depth? Does the program fit State System guidelines on balance of major and general education courses? What is the rationale for the balance selected?

How is this degree different from related degrees already offered?

To what degree will instructional technologies be used in major courses? How about team teaching or group projects? If appropriate, how do practical experiences (e.g., labs) fit in?

Are experiential elements such as internships and practica integrated into the program? If so, what is their purpose?

Is a final project required? If so, how will it be reviewed?

Are concentrations, options, specializations, or tracks being offered within the major program? If so, have they been delineated sufficiently and any differences among them (e.g., in terms of resources needed) been addressed throughout the proposal?

What are the qualifications of the program faculty? What are their academic credentials, their experience in developing and implementing new academic programs, and their prior experience in the specific field?

What evidence do we have of faculty and administration commitment to and interest in the success of the program?

What is the planned faculty/student ratio?

Will there be a program director, an oversight committee? How will continuity and oversight be ensured?

Are students expected to enter the program with specific competencies? If so, what are they? What grade point average will students be expected to maintain? What other factors related to student quality should you mention? How will students be advised and mentored? What certification tests will students need to pass? Have you anticipated curricular implications of these requirements?

Coordination with Other Programs

How have other departments, organizations, and universities been involved in the development of the proposal? What role will they play when the program is offered?

How will relationships with business, industry, public agencies, etc., strengthen this program?

Periodic Assessment

What are the intended learning outcomes of the program, and how will they be assessed?

What data will be collected in order to assess the success of the program?

Will you track graduates in some way, poll employers for feedback, or otherwise get information on how well the program succeeds in developing student knowledge, skills, attitudes, understandings, and values?

Did any external curriculum experts review this proposal or consult in developing the proposal?

If appropriate, which accrediting agencies would be involved in reviewing this program?

How does the program design reflect accrediting agency standards? How is the curriculum aligned with accreditation requirements? When might you expect to receive accreditation?

When the cycle of program review comes around, how do you expect to judge the success of the program?

Resource Sufficiency

Does the program require a significant investment of university or State System resources? How close is the university to having sufficient resources to initiate the program? What major funding must be found to start the program?

Have you worked with the university’s budget office to produce the five-year balance sheet of anticipated revenues and expenses? Has the university’s leadership committed to the education and general funds and the tuition revenues that you cite in the resources table?

How many new courses and new sections of courses will the program generate?

Are any external funds going to be available or sought to help build the program? Have you indicated the source of these funds, the annual amount, and the duration of the funding?

Is the budget table consistent with the narrative provided here?

Have you accounted not only for initial start-up costs but also for annual continuation costs (such as library journals and supplies needed each year and equipment maintenance and replacement)?

Have you accounted for costs such as personnel (salary, benefits, professional development, travel, sabbatical replacements, etc.); equipment (office and instructional); clerical support; materials and supplies; library resources; evaluation; cooperating/supervising personnel; facilities; etc.?

Will there be new students or new faculty, or will each be shifted from somewhere else?

Impact on Educational Opportunity

How will this program provide opportunities to serve diverse student populations?

How will this program reach out to different employers and/or influence hiring patterns of historical employers?

How will the department recruit faculty who offer new role models?

How will the program utilize advisors with differing perspectives?

If the field of study is characterized by prior gender, racial, or ethnic biases, how will the program de-mystify the field?

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General questions in writing the proposal

Have you convinced an educated readership (not people in the discipline) that this program is necessary and has every chance of success? Have you been persuasive on both a philosophical level as well as a factual level?

What objections are likely to be raised to the program, and have you addressed those potential concerns?

Have you asked others to read and react to a draft of this document to get an outside perspective?

Given the considerable cost to offer new programs, does the proposal demonstrate a likelihood of economic success? Would it pass a litmus test for accountability from the taxpayer’s viewpoint?


Contact The University Curriculum Committee Shippensburg University 1871 Old Main Drive Shippensburg, PA 17257