Academic Planning Proposals FAQ

Please note that the submission process for academic planning proposals is being transitioned to Curriculog. The project is currently beginning the final phase. Eventually, all schools will transition to using Curriculog for the submission of academic planning proposals.

1. To whom should academic planning proposals be submitted?

All academic planning proposals (including planning proposals for centers and institutes) should be submitted electronically to Provost Ann E. Cudd at provost@pitt.edu. All proposals must include a letter of support from the dean of the school or president of the campus.

2. Who should be contacted for assistance with graduate academic planning proposals?

For questions regarding graduate academic planning proposals, contact Jennifer Walker at jlwst88@pitt.edu.

3. Who should be contacted for assistance with undergraduate academic planning proposals?

For questions regarding undergraduate academic planning proposals, contact Paula Janikowski at plj5@pitt.edu.

4. Who can be contacted for assistance with planning proposals regarding centers/institutes?

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

5. What is the review and approval process for academic planning proposals after they are submitted to the Provost’s Office?

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 may also be reviewed by the Senior Vice Chancellor for Research. If all portions of the proposal are in order, it is forwarded to the Provost’s Cabinet for further review (which may include a financial analysis). Thereafter, the majority of proposals are reviewed by either the University Council on Graduate Study (UCGS) or the Provost’s Advisory Committee for Undergraduate Programs (PACUP). 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.

6. What types of academic planning proposals are reviewed by UCGS and PACUP?

UCGS and PACUP review 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.

7. When do UCGS and PACUP convene to review academic planning proposals?

UCGS and PACUP meet once a month during the fall and spring terms. They do not convene during the summer. For specific dates and times, refer to the committee websites for UCGS and PACUP.

8. When must academic planning proposals be submitted to make it on to the agenda for the upcoming meeting of UCGS or PACUP?

A completed academic planning proposal can, generally speaking, be forwarded to the appropriate committee 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 the appropriate committee.

9. What are the general guidelines on academic planning proposals?

See Guidelines for the Review of Academic Planning Proposals.

10. What are the financial analysis guidelines for new academic planning proposals?

See Financial Analysis Guidelines for New Academic Programs

11. What are the guidelines for off-campus and distance education programs?

See Guidelines for Off-Campus/Distance Education.

12. What are the types and definitions of graduate certificates?

See Guidelines for Graduate Certificates. Note: For information on graduate Micro-credentials, please see FAQ number 25.

13. What is the assessment requirement for academic planning proposals?

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. The matrix is located online for download as a PDF or download as a Microsoft Word template. 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, please see the Assessment website.

14. Where do I find the policies and guidelines for graduate programs?

The policies and guidelines for graduate programs can be found in Regulations Governing Graduate Study at the University of Pittsburgh, which is available in the Graduate and Professional Studies Catalog (select in dropdown menu).

15. Where do I find the policies and guidelines for undergraduate programs?

The policies and guidelines on undergraduate programs are in the Student Affairs Section of the University Policies and Procedures manual and in the Academic Regulations section of the Undergraduate Catalog.

16. What must academic planning proposals for new or substantially modified majors, degree programs, academic departments, or schools 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. The matrix is located online for download as a PDF or download as a Microsoft Word template.

17. What must academic planning proposals for the termination of majors, degree programs, academic departments, or schools 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.

18. What must academic planning proposals for areas of concentration (ARCOs) or minors 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.

19. What must academic planning proposals for new certificate programs 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 or graduate). For information on graduate certificates see the Guidelines for Graduate Certificates. For information on undergraduate certificates see the Undergraduate Catalog.

(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. The matrix is located online for download as a PDF or download as a Microsoft Word template.

20. What must academic planning proposals for the termination of certificate programs, areas of concentration, or minors 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 enrolled students to complete their programs.

21. What must academic planning proposals for name changes 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.

(3) A description of the any impact the name change may have on other academic units.

(4) A list of faculty groups and administrators who have been consulted, and a summary of their comments on the name change.

(5) A description of how students and applicants for admission will be informed of the name change.

(6) A plan for enabling students enrolled in the current program to complete their program under the original name if they so choose.

22. What must academic planning proposals for new off-campus programs and distance education programs currently or not currently offered on campus 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. The matrix is located online for download as a PDF or download as an MSWord document.

23. What are the most 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 is not clear on the distinction of the degree type proposed (research degree, clinical/ professional degree, joint, dual, etc.)
  • Proposal does not clearly state the degree program being proposed: for degree programs this includes the degree type (BA, BS, MS, MA, PhD, MBA, etc.), the major (math, English, business, etc.) and if applicable any area of concentrations.
  • Proposal does not state the type of certificate program proposed.
  • Proposal does not include a letter from the Dean of another School that supports one of the following: the new program is similar in nature or name to an existing program in another School or the new program requires courses offered by another School.
  • 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.

24. What annotations or text can be added to a student’s academic transcript?

Transcript Annotations are added to academic transcripts to indicate special graduating circumstances or completion of special programs that are not majors, minors, areas of concentrations, nor certificates. The Guidelines for Transcript Annotations provide the criteria that should be used to determine whether a transcript annotation is appropriate and the approval process.

25. What are the guidelines for graduate Micro-Credentials?

Graduate Micro-credentials were approved effective 9/1/2018. See the guidelines for creating a new micro-credential.

26. Additional information needed as part of the process to enter new programs into PeopleSoft.

(a) Program Length (in years) – Number of years that a typical student will take to complete the new program. Note that this information will be used to determine a student’s eligibility for federal financial aid. (This information is not needed for areas of concentration or tracks.)

If an undergraduate certificate: Since undergraduate certificates are to be completed along the way or earning a bachelor’s degree, certificates can most typically be considered to require 4 years to complete.

(b) Effective Date – First term when students can be admitted into the new program. Note that approved programs may be promoted to potential applicants before the effective date.

(c) Last Admit Term – Last term in which student will be admitted into the program. This applies to program name/description changes, program suspensions, and program terminations.

(d) Inactivation Term – Last term in which a student will graduate from the program. This applies to program name/description changes, program suspensions, and program terminations.

(e) Provide a recommended Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Code for each new major, minor and certificate. See the full list of CIP codes and more information. CIP codes are used to report completion data of our degrees awards outside of Pitt so that the programs can be compared to similar programs at other schools, independent of department or other naming convention