This informal guide supplements the official statements of Graduate College policy:
- Graduate College Policy for the Approval of New and Revised Graduate Degree Programs
- Policy for Graduate Concentrations
- Policy for Graduate Minors
Contact the Graduate College before submitting a proposal for a new or revised graduate degree program. Working together with the Program Subcommittee of the Graduate College Executive Committee, the Graduate College can give advice on the merits of the proposal and can help craft a proposal that meets accepted standards for quality. In addition, advice can be provided as to whether specific proposals are considered modest or substantial, which impacts the format of the proposal and the associated approval process that is required. The Levels of Governance (LOG) provides more information regarding approval processing.
I. Proposal Format and Documentation
- Proposals Not Requiring Approval Beyond the Graduate College (See the LOG)
- Offering of an existing degree off-campus or online. See the Policy for the Off-Campus/Online Delivery of Graduate Degree or Certificate Programs
- Minor revision of an existing degree program - see the Graduate College Policy for the Approval of New and Revised Graduate Degree Programs for more information.
- revision of elective lists
- change in minimum GPA
- course for course replacement of required courses when there is a choice
- For multiple revisions, the "Format for Presentation of Proposals to Senate Committee on Educational Policy" format is preferred. For single revisions, a letter from the Unit Executive Officer is acceptable.
- In either case justifications must be included.
- The effective date for each revision must be indicated.
- Proposals Requiring Approval Beyond the Graduate College (See the LOG)
- For proposals requiring approval beyond the Graduate College, use the "Format for Presentation of Proposals to Senate Committee on Educational Policy." Documents to be included beyond the required sections in the format should be included as appendices.
- When using the Format for Presentation of Proposals to Senate Committee on Educational Policy, serveral sections have standard content.
- The section GUIDELINES FOR UNDERGRADUATE EDUCATION does not need to be included in graduate program proposals.
- The section STATEMENT FOR BULLETIN should follow this template.
- "Upon Approval" is the standard request for the EFFECTIVE DATE, and new programs will be effective starting the semester after approval, unless a special request is made in this section.
- In addition to the two-page statement, the Graduate College also requires the following documentation as appendicies:
- Expanded statement of the required courses, examinations, projects or theses, including an outline of a sample program (or programs) indicating the sequence,
- Documentation that a qualified core faculty is available and committed to conducting the program,
- Expanded justification of the need and demand for the program
- Comments on possible duplication and/or relation to other graduate programs on the campus, including comments from executive officers of related departments, and
- A proposal for a new or substantially revised program should compare the proposed requirements with those of similar programs at peer institutions.
- Proposals with Changes to Tuition or Tuition Waiver Policy
- If a new or revised program proposal will include a change in the tuition policy, including the approved policy for assistantship or fellowship waivers, additional review will be necessary for the tuition portion of the proposal. Tuition Waiver Policy revisions are approved by the Graduate College. New tuition rates must be approved by the Board of Trustees. For questions about changes to tuition rates please contact the Provost's Office for more information.
- Current Students in New or Revised Programs
- When new or revised programs are approved, existing students in the unit have the choice to remain under the program requirements of the old degree, or petition to change to the new program and graduate under the new requirements.
- Proposals Requiring IBHE Approval (See the LOG)
- In the case of proposals for new degree programs that require IBHE approval, additional, more detailed information will be required at a later time.
- Proposals for Professional Graduate Programs
- A proposal for a professional graduate program should clearly explain whether, and under what circumstances, required courses can be waived for equivalent course work that a student has completed prior to enrollment in the program. If courses can be waived, then the proposal must specify the maximum number of hours that may be waived. Regardless of the number of hours waived, the student must still earn at least 32 hours of credit, including transfer credit, for a master's degree. If a professional program admits students who have not received a bachelor's degree in the discipline, then the program should have sufficient graduate-level content to warrant a graduate degree.
- Proposals for Programs to be Offered Across Units
- Interdisciplinary programs and programs that are open to students in more than one unit, must have the approval of all participating departments, schools, and colleges as described in the LOG. Rules for programs that cross academic college boundaries are summarized below.
- Concentrations proposed to be available to students in more than one graduate unit, must be approved by each individual unit wishing their students to participate. Units should indicate which students are eligible for the concentration by level and program, for example Ph.D. students only, or only students in Spanish.
- Joint programs must be approved by both units schools (if applicable) and their disciplinary colleges before arriving at the Graduate College.
- Minors are the only exception, and do not need multiple approvals.
II. Review and Approval Processes
Information about the sequence of the review and approval process for graduate degree proposals is found in the Graduate College Policy for the Approval of New and Revised Graduate Degree Programs. Note that new graduate degree proposals require review and approval at all levels, beginning with the department and proceeding through the Graduate College to the Illinois Board of Higher Education. The number of approvals required is commensurate with the significance and extent of the changes proposed.
The Levels of Governance (LOG) outlines the approval process required for each proposal, by type. The Office of the Provost created and maintains this document, and also provides additional information on Understanding the Levels of Governance. The LOG dictates that any proposal that involves a graduate program, graduate course or has an impact on graduate education, must be submitted to the Graduate College.
After the proposal has been submitted to a college, the sponsor no longer needs to coordinate the process. Proposals are advanced through the approving bodies automatically. If input is needed, a representative from the reviewing committee will contact the sponsor directly. Only if revisions are major would the proposal need to returned to a previous level to be re-approved. The Graduate College provides a way to track a proposals through the Graduate College (You must have or signup for a Box account to view).
III. Time to Approval
Each of the approval bodies has set meeting schedules, available through the links below. All committees require items to be submitted at least week, if not more, before a meeting in order to be added to the next agenda. Often the time required for a proposal to process through is dependent upon how long it takes to be submitted for the agenda. Additionally, time to approval is often extended when units do not respond to questions or requests for changes from the approving committees. The Graduate College provides a way to track a proposals through the Graduate College (You must have or signup for a Box account to view).
IV. After Approval
After a program proposal has been approved and reported at the levels necessary for the type of request, the unit will receive a letter from the Provost’s Office indicating that approval has been obtained and you are “free to implement this program.” This letter will trigger creation of new program codes in Banner (if applicable). Once the code has been created students may begin to enter the program, and the program will be included in the Graduate Programs of Study. When new or revised programs are approved, existing students in the unit have the choice to remain under the program requirmesnt of the old degree, or petition to change to the new program and graduate under the new requirements. In addition, the unit should provide contact information for the office responsible for degree certification of the new program and complete and update roles in the GC Roles & Access Manager for the new program to the Graduate College.