Office of the Provost

Academic Planning Proposals

All Academic Planning Proposals and Planning Proposals for Centers should be directed to Provost Patricia E. Beeson in 801 Cathedral of Learning. Completed proposals should be submitted in hard-copy unless requested otherwise.

General guidelines for Academic Planning Proposals are available online. So are financial analysis guidelines for new Academic Planning Proposals, guidelines for off-campus and distance education programs, guidelines for new graduate certificates, and University regulations governing graduate study. For University regulations governing undergraduate study, visit the policies and procedures site's Student Affairs Section and the Undergraduate Bulletin.

Review and Approval Process

All graduate and undergraduate proposals are carefully reviewed by the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies and the Vice Provost for Undergraduate Studies and their staff. Proposals for new centers are reviewed by the Vice Provost for Research. If all portions of the proposal are in order, it is forwarded to the Provost’s Senior Staff for further review. Thereafter, the majority of proposals are reviewed by either the University Council on Graduate Study or the Provost’s Advisory Committee for Undergraduate Programs. Proposals endorsed by either of these Councils are then forwarded to the Provost who will conduct the final review and approval. Some Academic Planning Proposals are also reviewed and approved by the Senior Vice Chancellor of the Health Sciences, the Chancellor, and/or the Board of Trustees.

The University Council on Graduate Study (UCGS) and the Provost Advisory Committee for Undergraduate Programs (PACUP) convene once a month during the fall and spring terms to review the proposals. They do not convene during the summer. For specific dates and times, please visit University Council on Graduate Study (UCGS) and Provost’s Advisory Committee on Undergraduate Programs (PACUP).

A completed Academic Planning Proposal can, generally speaking, be forwarded to the appropriate Council if it is received at least four full weeks before the upcoming meeting. Occasionally unforeseen circumstances may arise, which could postpone the forwarding of the proposal. Incomplete, inaccurate, or problematic proposals will be sent back to the school for correction prior to being forwarded to Council.

Council reviews Academic Planning Proposals for new (or the termination of) certificate and degree granting programs, significant modifications of degree granting programs, new degree types or altering the name of degree types, new off-campus academic programs, and anything having a direct impact on a degree granting program.

New Assessment Requirement 

All new proposals for certificate and degree granting programs should document how the student learning outcomes will be assessed in accordance with the Assessment Requirements passed by the Council of Deans on November 9, 2006.  All new proposals must include a copy of the Assessment Plan Matrix with the first three columns completed.  Programs may request permission to substitute a professional accreditation process as the assessment protocol by showing how that professional accreditation process maps onto the institutional framework for assessment.

Upon approval of the new certificate or degree granting program, the Assessment Plan Matrix will become integrated with the existing assessment process implemented by the program and school.  For complete guidelines, resources, and examples, click here.

Proposals for New or Substantially Modified Majors, Degree Programs, Academic Departments, or Schools must minimally include:

(1) The names of:
(a) the individual initiating the proposal;
(b) the responsibility center wherein the change is to occur;
(c) the program to be developed or expanded;
(d) the department affected by the proposed change(s); and
(e) the date of the proposal.
(2) The rationale for the proposed new or expanded program, specifically explaining either the relation of the proposed change(s) to the current mission and goals articulated in the long-range plans of the University, the responsibility center, and/or the department, or the external and internal environmental influences or trends justifying the proposed change(s) if the change is not a specific part of current long-range plan.
(3) A detailed description of the proposed new or expanded program, its specific components, and a detailed chronology of steps to be taken to implement the change over time. Items listed under #9 should be included for a new major, expanded degree program, or a new degree program.
(4) The short- and long-term effects that the proposed change(s) will have on other University programs. This should include an analysis of the impact that the proposed change(s) will have on programs and services such as increased or decreased demands for courses, loss or addition of students, the need for additional student aid, Library, or computing resources, etc. An analysis of the impact on space resources, including office, laboratory, and classroom space, must be included.
(5) A description of a quantitative and qualitative evaluation procedure to assess the attainment of the objectives of the proposed change(s) including outcome criteria and a time frame for completion.
(6) A detailed analysis of the impact of the proposed change(s) on staff and faculty personnel for the first three years of its operation, including information about the hiring of new staff and faculty and/or reassignments of existing personnel.
(7) A three-year budget (see the Financial Analysis Guidelines) showing the impact of the proposed change(s) on the budget of the units affected by the change, including:
(a) A budget for each of the affected budget units.
(b) Sources of funding available to support proposed expanded or new programs.
(c) A summary of financial increases, savings, or reallocations anticipated as a result of the proposed change(s).
(d) Non-financial requirements or savings in areas such as space, facilities, or equipment that are anticipated as a result of the proposed change(s).
(8) A list of the faculty groups and relevant administrators who were consulted, and a summary of their comments on the proposed change(s), including a statement from the Planning and Budgeting committees of the relevant department (if applicable) and responsibility center.
(9) Additional information which should be included in item #3 when dealing with new or expanded educational programs.
(a) Requirements for admission to the program, and a projection of the availability of qualified students for the program.
(b) Rationale for and description of the proposed curriculum, including special characteristics of the program, type and level of instruction, new courses to be developed or syllabi of existing courses, sequencing of courses, areas of specialization, multi-disciplinary aspects if any, and other requirements for completing a degree or certificate in the program.
(c) Availability and qualification of faculty to support the program. Additionally, for a new or expanded research master's or Ph.D. degree program the following should be supplied: examples of ongoing research and mentoring, evidence of investigators/co-investigators on grants or non-grant research proposals, faculty resumes including citations of articles by faculty in peer-reviewed/competitive journals over the last five years, and when relevant, evidence of interdisciplinary research/teaching collaboration.
(d) Impact on students enrolled in existing programs. If students will be transferred to new programs, how will their prior work be credited?
(e) Tuition and student support.
(f) Projected enrollments, student credit hours, and degrees to be granted over each of the first five years of the program.
(g) Documented employment opportunities for graduates of the program.
(h) Student and faculty affirmative action plans for the new or expanded programs.
(i) The aspirations of excellence for the program, and a discussion of how this would be achieved and measured.
(10) An assessment matrix with the first three columns completed for each proposed degree granting program.

Proposals for the Termination of Majors, Degree Programs, Academic Departments, or Schools must minimally include:

(1) The names of:
(a) the individual initiating the proposal;
(b) the responsibility center wherein the change is to occur;
(c) the program or unit to be terminated;
(d) the department affected by the change; and
(e) the date of the proposal.
(2) The rationale for the proposed change(s), specifically explaining either its relation to the current mission and goals articulated in the long-range plans of the University, the responsibility center, and/or the department, or the external and internal environmental influences or trends justifying the change if not a specific part of current long-range plans.
(3) A detailed description of the proposed change(s), its specific components, and a detailed chronology of steps to be taken to implement the change over time. For termination of educational programs, items listed under #8 below should be included, when appropriate.
(4) The effects that the proposed change(s) will have on other University programs in both the short- and long-term. This should include an analysis of the impact that the proposed change(s) will have on other academic programs or service units of the University, such as increased or decreased demand for courses, loss or addition of students, and effect on student aid. An analysis of the impact on space resources, including office laboratory and classroom space, must be included.
(5) A detailed analysis of the impact of the proposed change(s) on staff and faculty personnel over the period required to implement the change including information about affirmative action, reassignments, retirements, or terminations of existing faculty and staff.
(6) A budget presenting the anticipated effects of the proposed change(s) on the budget(s) of the unit(s) affected by the change (see the Financial Analysis Guidelines). This should include:
(a) A projected budget for each of the affected units during the phase-out period.
(b) A summary of financial savings anticipated as a result of the proposed change(s).
(c) Non-financial savings in areas such as space, facilities, or equipment that are anticipated as a result of the proposed change(s).
(7) A list of the faculty groups and relevant administrators who were consulted, and a summary of their comments on the proposed change(s), including a statement from the Planning and Budgeting committees of the relevant department (if applicable) and responsibility center.
(8) Additional information which should be included in item #3 above when dealing with termination of an educational program.
(a) Projected changes in enrollments, student credit hour production, and number of degrees or certificates to be granted over the period required to implement the termination.
(b) Description of how students and applicants for admission have been informed of the proposed termination.
(c) If students will be transferred to existing programs, a detailed statement of how their work in the program will be credited and how they will be informed of this.
(d) If students are expected to complete their degrees in the terminated department, an inventory of the academic needs of each student and a plan for meeting these needs. Academic needs include, but are not limited to, courses, advisors, and financial aid.

Proposals for Areas of Concentration or Minors must minimally include:

(1) The names of:
(a) the individual initiating the proposal;
(b) the responsibility center wherein the change is to occur;
(c) the programs to be developed;
(d) the department affected by the change; and
(e) the date of the proposal.
(2) A description of the academic requirements of the new program, a comparison with requirements of similar programs offered by the unit, and a discussion of new courses, internships, research experiences, etc., which must be introduced to offer the program.
(3) The effects, if any, that the proposed program will have on other units of the University.
(4) A discussion of the budget impact of the program, including both new income and new costs (see the Financial Analysis Guidelines).
(5) A list of faculty groups and administrators that have been consulted and a summary of their comments on the proposed program.

Proposals for New Certificate Programs must minimally include:

(1) The names of:
(a) the individual initiating the proposal;
(b) the responsibility center wherein the change is to occur;
(c) the programs to be developed;
(d) the department affected by the change; and
(e) the date of the proposal.
(2) A description of the academic requirements of the new program, a comparison with requirements of similar programs offered by the unit, and a discussion of new courses, internships, research experiences, etc., which must be introduced to offer the program.
(3) The effects, if any, that the proposed program will have on other units of the University.
(4) A discussion of the budget impact of the program, including both new income and new costs (see the Financial Analysis Guidelines).
(5) A list of faculty groups and administrators that have been consulted and a summary of their comments on the proposed certificate program.
(6) The type of certificate proposed (undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, graduate, post-professional). For definitions and guidelines please visit Graduate Certificates at the University of Pittsburgh for new graduate certificates. For information on undergraduate certificates please visit the Undergraduate Bulletin.
(7) The rationale for the proposed new certificate program, specifically explaining either the relation of the proposed change(s) to the current mission and goals articulated in the long-range plans of the University, the responsibility center, and/or the department, or the external and internal environmental influences or trends justifying the proposed change(s), if the change is not a specific part of the current long-range plan.
(8) Projected enrollments, student credit hours, and certificates awarded.
(9) A description of an evaluation procedure to assess attainment of the objectives of the proposed certificate program.
(10) An assessment matrix with the first three columns completed for each proposed certificate granting program.

Proposals for the Termination of Certificate Programs, Areas of Concentration, or Minors must minimally include:

(1) The names of:
(a) the individual initiating the proposal;
(b) the responsibility center wherein the change is to occur;
(c) the program or unit to be terminated;
(d) the department affected by the change; and
(e) the date of the proposal.
(2) The rationale for the proposed termination of the program, specifically explaining either the relation of the proposed change(s) to the current mission and goals articulated in the long-range plans of the University, the responsibility center, and/or the department, or the external and internal environmental influences or trends justifying the proposed change(s) if not a specific part of current long-range plan of the University.
(3) Description of how students and applicants for admission will be informed of the termination.
(4) A list of faculty groups and administrators who have been consulted, and a summary of their comments on the termination.
(5) A plan for enabling students enrolled in certificate programs to complete their programs.

Proposals for Name Changes must minimally include:

(1) The names of:
(a) the individual initiating the proposal;
(b) the responsibility center wherein the change is to occur;
(c) the program or unit to be renamed;
(d) the department affected by the change; and
(e) the date of the proposal.
(2) The rationale for the proposed name change of the program, specifically explaining either the relation of the proposed change(s) to the current mission and goals articulated in the long-range plans of the University, the responsibility center, and/or the department, or the external and internal environmental influences or trends justifying the proposed change(s) if not a specific part of current long-range plan of the University.
(4) A description of the any impact the name change may have on other academic units.
(5) A list of faculty groups and administrators who have been consulted, and a summary of their comments on the name change.
(6) A description of how students and applicants for admission will be informed of the name change.
(7) A plan for enabling students enrolled in the current program to complete their program under the original name if they so choose.

Proposals for New Off-Campus Programs and Distance Education Programs Currently or Not Currently Offered on Campus must minimally include:

A proposal must be submitted for any off-campus or distance education program (even when the program is currently offered on campus) if it establishes instruction constituting at least 50% of a degree program in a significantly different format or method of delivery and/or establishes instruction constituting at least 50% of a degree program at a new geographic location. Proposals should follow the Guidelines for Off-Campus/Distance Education and must also include as a minimum all items noted below:

(1) The names of:
(a) the individual initiating the proposal;
(b) the responsibility center wherein the change is to occur;
(c) the program to be developed or expanded;
(d) the department affected by the proposed change(s); and
(e) the date of the proposal.
(2) The rationale for the proposed new or expanded program, specifically explaining either the relation of the proposed change(s) to the current mission and goals articulated in the long-range plans of the University, the responsibility center, and/or the department, or the external and internal environmental influences or trends justifying the proposed change(s) if the change is not a specific part of current long-range plan.
(3) A detailed description of the proposed new or expanded program, its specific components, and a detailed chronology of steps to be taken to implement the change over time. Items listed under #9 should be included for a new major, expanded degree program, or a new degree program.
(4) The short- and long-term effects that the proposed change(s) will have on other University programs. This should include an analysis of the impact that the proposed change(s) will have on programs and services such as increased or decreased demands for courses, loss or addition of students, the need for additional student aid, Library, or computing resources, etc. An analysis of the impact on space resources, including office, laboratory, and classroom space, must be included.
(5) A description of a quantitative and qualitative evaluation procedure to assess the attainment of the objectives of the proposed change(s) including outcome criteria and a time frame for completion.
(6) A detailed analysis of the impact of the proposed change(s) on staff and faculty personnel for the first three years of its operation, including information about the hiring of new staff and faculty and/or reassignments of existing personnel.
(7) A three-year budget (see the Financial Analysis Guidelines) showing the impact of the proposed change(s) on the budget of the units affected by the change, including:
(a) A budget for each of the affected budget units.
(b) Sources of funding available to support proposed expanded or new programs.
(c) A summary of financial increases, savings, or reallocations anticipated as a result of the proposed change(s).
(d) Non-financial requirements or savings in areas such as space, facilities, or equipment that are anticipated as a result of the proposed change(s).
(8) A list of the faculty groups and relevant administrators who were consulted, and a summary of their comments on the proposed change(s), including a statement from the Planning and Budgeting committees of the relevant department (if applicable) and responsibility center.
(9) Additional information which should be included in item #3 when dealing with new or expanded educational programs.
(a) Requirements for admission to the program, and a projection of the availability of qualified students for the program.
(b) Rationale for and description of the proposed curriculum, including special characteristics of the program, type and level of instruction, new courses to be developed or syllabi of existing courses, sequencing of courses, areas of specialization, multi-disciplinary aspects if any, and other requirements for completing a degree or certificate in the program.
(c) Availability and qualification of faculty to support the program. Additionally, for a new or expanded research master's or Ph.D. degree program the following should be supplied: examples of ongoing research and mentoring, evidence of investigators/co-investigators on grants or non-grant research proposals, faculty resumes including citations of articles by faculty in peer-reviewed/competitive journals over the last five years, and when relevant, evidence of interdisciplinary research/teaching collaboration.
(d) Impact on students enrolled in existing programs. If students will be transferred to new programs, how will their prior work be credited?
(e) Tuition and student support.
(f) Projected enrollments, student credit hours, and degrees to be granted over each of the first five years of the program.
(g) Documented employment opportunities for graduates of the program.
(h) Student and faculty affirmative action plans for the new or expanded programs.
(i) The aspirations of excellence for the program, and a discussion of how this would be achieved and measured.
(10) An assessment matrix with the first three columns completed for each proposed degree granting program.

Common reasons Academic Planning Proposals are sent back to the school for modification:

  • Proposal does not include a signed letter of endorsement by the dean (or campus president for regional campuses).
  • Proposal does not state the type of certificate program proposed (undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, graduate, post-professional).
  • Proposal does not clearly describe the differences between two types of certificate programs proposed when more than one type is proposed at once (i.e., the differences between the post-baccalaureate, graduate, post-professional certificates).
  • Proposal is not clear on the distinction of the degree type proposed (research degree, clinical/ professional degree, joint, dual, etc.).
  • Proposal contains degree requirements and admission requirements that are not comparable with other similar programs within the school.
  • Proposal does not include the assessment matrix.
  • Proposal does not include the minimum inclusions as outlined in the guidelines.

Contact 

For questions regarding graduate Academic Planning Proposals, contact Jennifer Walker at jlwst88@pitt.edu.

For questions regarding undergraduate Academic Planning Proposals, contact Paula Janikowski at plj5@pitt.edu.

For questions regarding proposals for centers, contact Paula Janikowski at plj5@pitt.edu.