Program Development & Approval

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New and revised graduate programs must go through an approval process before they may be advertised or implemented.  The review process may involve both internal (e.g., Educational Policies Council, Board of Trustees) and external (e.g., Ohio Department of Higher Education, Higher Learning Commission) approval bodies.  The Curriculum Services website provides a flowchart that displays the full approval process.

University Approval

University approval is required to establish, revise or inactivate courses, programs or policies.  Depending on how extensive the changes are, approval may be required by departmental and college bodies, the Educational Policies Council, Faculty Senate and the Board of Trustees.  For further information, visit the Curriculum Services website.

State Approval

Following approval from the appropriate university bodies, many proposals must be submitted to the Ohio Department of Higher Education through the Chancellor’s Council on Graduate Studies (CCGS) for state approval.  

Specifically, CCGS approval is needed to:

  • Offer a new degree program 

Approval of a new graduate degree program involves the submission of a Program Development Plan (PDP) followed by a Full Proposal (FP).  

  • Offer a new degree program derived from an existing sub-discipline

Approval of a new graduate degree program in a sub-discipline requires the submission of a PDP.  Based upon this review, Chancellor’s staff will determine whether or not the proposed degree program is a more appropriate designation than the existing sub-disciplinary option under the current degree authority, and whether or not additional approvals are required.

  • Offer a new degree program derived from an existing specialization/concentration/track

When an institution seeks to create a separate degree designation for a specialization/concentration/track that is currently offered within an existing degree, submission of a PDP is optional.  A FP must be submitted.

  • Offer a new interdisciplinary degree program

New interdisciplinary programs follow the process required for new degree programs.  

  • Offer a new joint degree program

New joint degree programs follow the process required for new degree programs.

  • Significantly revise an existing degree program

Significant revisions are defined as changes to the curriculum that equal or exceed 50% based on the total number of credit hours in the degree program as published in the current graduate catalog.  Significantly revised degree programs must undergo the same approval process that is required for new degree programs.  

  • Offer a new specialization/concentration/track

An institution will notify CCGS when it seeks to create a new specialization/concentration/track within an approved degree that will appear on the student’s transcript. If the new specialization modifies less than 50% of the current degree program based on the total number of credit hours in the degree program as published in the current graduate catalog, simple notification is required.  If modifications of the curriculum for the new specialization equal or exceed 50% of the current degree program’s total credit hours, a FP must be submitted for review (the PDP can be skipped). Notification is not required for specializations which will not appear on the student’s transcript unless the creation of that specialization results in modifications equal to or exceeding 50% of the total credit hours of the current degree program. In such a case, a FP must be submitted.  

  • Offer a new certificate/licensure/endorsement program requiring 21 or more credit hours

A substantial certificate program is defined as one requiring the completion of 21 or more semester credit hours of graduate-level courses.  Substantial certificate programs require review and approval.  Graduate programs that lead to educational licensure and that involve earning 21 credits or more or, degree programs that include licensure or, stand-alone “certificates” for licensure must seek approval through both the ODHE Office of Program Development and Approval and CCGS. 

  • Offer 50% or more of an existing degree program or certificate/licensure/endorsement program requiring 21 or more credit hours off-site, via distance/electronic media or via blended delivery method

Under these guidelines, a program will be considered to have been “extended to a different audience via electronic or blended distance learning means” when 50% or more of the course delivery is off-site or via alternative delivery models. The completion of a change request form is required. 

  • Change the name of a degree (e.g., from a Master of Science to a Master of Engineering)

When an institution wishes to replace a single degree name with another at the same level (e.g., Master of Arts with Master of Science or a professional degree), the process required for new degree programs must be followed. Generally speaking, replacing a professional degree with a research degree requires more extensive documentation and justification than does replacing a research degree with a professional degree. 

  • Change the title of a degree (e.g., from Industrial Engineering to Industrial and Systems Engineering)

When an institution desires to replace a single obsolescent degree title with a more appropriate one, the completion of a change request form is required. 

  • Suspend admissions, reactivate admissions or discontinue offering a degree program or certificate/licensure/endorsement program requiring 21 or more credit hours

When a program has decided to suspend admissions, the university will inform CCGS. At any time within five years of the initial suspension, the program may request to reactivate admissions by submitting a change request form to CCGS.  If admission into a graduate degree program is not reactivated within the specified five-year period, the program will be declared as discontinued.

See the Guidelines and Procedures for Review and Approval of Graduate Degree Programs for more detail about the CCGS approval processFor more information on receiving CCGS approval, please contact Julie Gabella at or 330-672-0741.