Guidelines for new master's, Ph.D. and professional doctoral programs

The New Programs and Program Review Committee of the Graduate Council has prepared a thorough set of instructions for proposal preparation. The outline below provides an overview of the required sections and content. 


Proposals should include the following categories, formatted according to the proposal guidelines


Identify the name of the program along with the unit offering the program and school/college in which it will be housed and a brief abstract or executive summary of the proposal.

Program Rationale

This sections should address the reasons for offering the proposed program including a description of the need, projected enrollment, comparable programs in the state and advisory resources.

Objectives and Description

Identify the overall goals of the program, admissions requirements, graduation requirements, curriculum and other plans for implementation and operations.

Program Standards

Describe the quality of existing graduate programs within the department or unit including comparative admission standards, accreditation and program evaluation.

Assessment Plan

Include the program's mission statement and assessment plan identifying learning outcomes, measurement, plan for evaluating program data, relevant committees and curriculum map.

Program Administration

Describe the proposed administrative structure, specific responsibilities and selection process for the new program.


Provide evidence of a secure intellectual and financial base to support the program including elements such as faculty resources and qualifications, graduate faculty, physical facilities and library support


Detail projected expenditures, revenue and student financial aid.

Approval Process

Before submission to the Graduate Council, a proposal must be approved in its entirety by:

  • Departmental faculty and chair (in non-departmentalized colleges the proposal must be approved in its entirety by the school/college faculty)
  • School/college faculty governing body
  • School/college dean

Upon submission to the Graduate Council, the New Programs and Program Review Committee will review. When the committee is satisfied with the proposal, a summary is distributed to all Graduate Council members, and the originators are asked to present the proposal and answer any questions that arise. After approval from the Graduate Council, the proposal is also evaluated and reviewed by:

  • Dean of the Graduate School
  • Provost
  • Academic Affairs Committee of the Presidents Council
  • The Board of Governors makes the final authorization for the university
  • State Universities of Michigan and North Central Accreditation's Higher Learning Commission

To submit to the Graduate Council.


A new program proposal typically takes six to twelve months for evaluation and approval.