Effective June, 2017

Proposals for new degree or certificate programs in The Graduate School, or in any of the professional schools, must be approved by the faculty governance of the school as well as its dean. Certificate programs can then take effect. Degree proposals are forwarded to the Provost’s Office for referral to appropriate faculty committees, as well as for review and vote by the Academic Programs Committee. All new degree programs then must be approved by Academic Council, and ultimately by the Board of Trustees.

1. Written proposals should follow the guidelines listed under “Template for Proposals for New Graduate/Professional Degree or Certificate Programs”.

2. The proposal must be discussed, voted on, and approved by the faculty of the sponsoring unit (e.g., department, institute or program). The proposal must also be vetted by senior financial administrators and relevant faculty oversight committees of the sponsoring unit(s). Explicit support for the proposal by the sponsoring unit, as communicated by the relevant dean or director, must be detailed in a letter accompanying the proposal. In the case of a new dual degree program, both deans of the involved schools must approve the proposal.

3. The process

a) Proposals should be developed in consultation with the academic dean of the sponsoring school.

b) Upon submission, the sponsoring school’s administration will review the proposal for adherence to academic and financial requirements. Proposals will be returned for revision if they fail to meet them. Otherwise proposals are entered into the faculty review process as soon as scheduling allows.

c) A subcommittee of the faculty, or its faculty governance committee, will review the proposal. They may ask for additional information or revisions to improve the proposal. Otherwise they forward it to the full faculty or governance committee with recommendations.

d) The faculty or its governance committee will meet with leaders of the sponsoring unit as part of its deliberations. If approved, the proposal is forwarded to the dean of the sponsoring school for consideration.

  • Proposals for certificates or for substantive changes in existing programs, but not involving a new global or interdisciplinary dimension, can go into effect if approved by the dean of the sponsoring school.
  • If approved by the dean, proposals for new degree programs, or for an added global or interdisciplinary dimension to an existing program, are forwarded to the Provost.

e) The Provost seeks the advice of the Academic Programs Committee (APC) and approval of the Academic Council (AC) with respect to new degree programs. For master’s degree proposals, the Master’s Advisory Council provides extra review to advise APC and AC.

f) After receiving the endorsement of the faculty committees and councils, if the Provost supports the proposed new degree, s/he presents it to the Board of Trustees for approval.

g) As deemed necessary under the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) substantive change policy, the accreditation liaison submits requisite paperwork to the commission.

Template for Proposals for New Graduate / Professional Degree or Certificate Programs

I. Rationale for the program, including:

a) a statement of how the proposed program fits into the research and teaching mission of the sponsoring unit

b) justification for why the new program is needed, i.e., what benefits will accrue to students, faculty, the sponsoring unit, and Duke?

II. Description of the program, including:

a) strategic objectives and educational goals

b) degree requirements for the program (length of program, credits, courses, prerequisites, RCR training, examinations, papers, internships and professional development, experience)1

c) curriculum (term structure, courses -- number, core versus elective, progression and sequence of courses, experiential courses)

d) brief descriptions of courses and learning opportunities (Appendix A)

e) brief backgrounds and bios of key faculty who will participate in the program (Appendix B)

f) explain any distance---based learning opportunities proposed for the program, such as online course offerings, internships, or other educational activities away from Duke.2

g) nature and description of student participation in independent research, mentored study, field study, etc.

h) target audience for the proposed program

III. Relationship of new program with other Duke programs, including:

a) analysis of similar or related programs at other universities as well as at Duke

b) distinguishing features of the proposed program from other programs offered by (i) the sponsoring unit, (ii) other universities, and (iii) other programs offered at Duke

c) reliance by proposed program on other units at Duke, e.g., to offer service courses or electives; nature of agreements or procedures to ensure continuity of course offerings

d) anticipated consequences (positive or negative) to the sponsoring unit or to other programs at Duke

IV. Market research for the proposed new program, including:

a) evidence of sufficient demand among potential applicants to support enrollment targets included in business plan (section V)

b) evidence of expected opportunities available to graduates from the proposed program

V. Financial projections (Appendix C)

a) Five-year business plan of revenues less all program expenses including but not limited to: leadership costs, faculty costs, staff costs, fringe benefits, program costs, admissions, career services, marketing and recruiting, etc.

b) description of financial aid, scholarship amounts (and expected distribution), fellowships, outside funding

c) detailed analysis of instructional costs, linking courses to be taught with type and cost of instruction (tenure track, regular rank, adjunct)

d) description of the new program’s reliance on sponsoring unit and/or central Duke resources and infrastructure such as classroom space, office space, shared admissions, library services, career services center, Graduate School, etc.

e) recruitment plan for meeting enrollment targets

VI. Student community

a) describe how the sponsoring unit will promote diversity among the students matriculating in the program, what resources are committed to ensuring diversity in the student body, and what is the plan for their deployment

b) describe the types of student support services to be made available centrally or by the sponsoring unit

c) number of international students anticipated in the program, and resources necessary to support their specific needs

d) summary of career development services that will be provided to the students, including but not limited to those to be provided centrally

e) sponsoring unit support for graduate student clubs and other co-curricular events

VII. Program evaluation

a) benchmarks and metrics for evaluating success of the new program (all items should be tracked), e.g., demand for program (applications, enrollments, selectivity, yield, retention), increase in diversity (student body and faculty), quality of applicants (GPA, standardized test scores, etc.), financial health of the program, graduate career success (percentage with jobs within three months of graduation, career paths program graduates have pursued post-graduation, etc.)

b) sponsoring unit commitment to third year review of program performance, including history and analysis of evaluation metrics

c) learning assessment plan indicating specific student learning outcomes, how the outcomes will be measured, how data are to be gathered, and how the findings will be used to improve the program (Appendix D)

VIII. Risk assessment

a) enrollment (e.g., realistic growth plan, marketing and recruitment efforts)

b) implementation factors (e.g., curriculum, staffing)

c) reputational factors (to Duke, to sponsoring unit)

d) financial factors (what are the key drivers of profit/loss, strategies to mitigate downside risk)

IX. Letters of support (Appendix E)

a) supporting statement(s) from the dean or director of the sponsoring unit

b) additional clearances obtained or required (e.g. from a school’s faculty/advisory board, from professional licensure organizations, etc.)

c) letter of support from the head of any other unit that is expected to make a significant contribution to the program (e.g. when required courses or collaborating faculty are from another department)

d) letters of support from the heads of other Duke units with related academicprograms

List of Appendices

Appendix A: Descriptions of Courses and Learning Opportunities

Appendix B: Backgrounds and Bios of Key Faculty Participating in the Program Appendix C: Financial Projections

Appendix D: Learning Assessment Plan Appendix E: Letters of Support


1 - The Graduate School requires a minimum of three semesters of full---time enrollment and tuition, or equivalent, for master’s programs. A minimum of 24 graded credits is required, with 30 or more credits overall, for a master’s candidate to graduate. Graduate School training in Academic Integrity and Responsible Conduct of Research (4 hours) is required for matriculating master’s students, and 12---18 hours for PhD students, depending on the disciplinary division of the proposed program.

2 - For proposed programs with distance---based learning opportunities, please contact Educational Compliance in the Office of the Executive Vice Provost for information to include with the proposal.