Education at OHSU

New Academic Programs and Curriculum Modifications

The establishment of new academic programs and curriculum modifications calls for various stakeholders to engage in the development, review and approval of the proposal. Per OHSU Policy 02-50-010, Proposing Curricular Modifications, OHSU utilizes three review levels for proposal of curricular changes, depending on whether the proposed change is classified as minor or substantive, as stipulation by the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities.

Category I proposals represent new academic program offerings by a school/college or department. Prior to offering a new academic program, sponsoring faculty must draft and successfully advance the proposal through the OHSU review process. This process may take up to 18 months to complete and includes approvals at the school and university level, as well as state and regional accreditation approvals.  

According to the Northwest Commission on Colleges and Universities (NWCCU), the regional accrediting agency for OHSU, Operational Policy A-2:  

If an institution implements a substantive change without prior written notice or if it proceeds to implement a substantive change denied by the Commission, the Commission may consider issuance of an order for the institution to show cause why its accreditation or candidate status should not be terminated. 

Before sponsoring faculty can begin the process of proposing a new academic program they must notify the Office of Academic Programs, Policy and Accreditation of planning intent. Once the Office of Academic Programs, Policy and Accreditation has been notified, the request will be distributed to OHSU stakeholders for comment. At the end of the comment period, programs will be notified of the decision, and if successful, granted permission to develop a full proposal. 

IMPORTANT: A department may not advertise or recruit students for a program until it has successfully passed through all of the required internal and external review and approval processes. (Reference Policy 02-50-020, Marketing Proposed Academic Programs under Academic programs and assessment) 

Category I: New program approval process

Each school has a process for reviewing proposed new academic programs. Following the school level process, the proposal is submitted to the Office of Academic Programs, Policy and Accreditation. The addition of new academic degrees and certificates is the purview of the OHSU Faculty Senate, and the Office of Academic Programs, Policy and Accreditation forwards all proposals for their review and approval. The proposal must receive the full endorsement of the Faculty Senate before it is advanced to the state-level process.  

Following Faculty Senate approval, all new programs must undergo an External Review to ensure the quality and effectiveness of the proposed offering. Once the External Review has been conducted, the Provost or designee notifies the Statewide Provost's Council of the intention to forward a proposal for a new academic program. Upon the endorsement of the Statewide Provost's Council, the proposal is submitted to NWCCU for notification and final approval.  

NOTE: Occasionally, substantive change to an existing program may require an external review and/or notification to the Statewide Provost's Council and NWCCU. For more information see the Approval Process Flowchart

Category II proposals are comprised of program changes that do not meet the accreditation threshold for a major or substantive change. Upon school level approval, changes require university-level approval and may require state or regional accreditation approval. 

Category III proposals are comprised of minor program changes such as a new required or elective course, minor changes to prerequisites, course sequencing, changes to graduation requirements, etc. Upon school level approval, changes are administratively reviewed and operationalized through the Office of Academic Programs, Policy and Accreditation and Registrar's Office.  

Submission deadlines for curricular modification proposals

Category I: Consult the Office of Academic Programs, Policy and Accreditation.

Category II:

  • Summer 2024 implementation: Proposals due to Provost’s Office by Monday, Dec. 11, 2023
  • Fall 2024 implementation: Proposals due to Provost’s Office by Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024

Category III: Proposals must be submitted to the Provost’s Office at least 4 weeks prior to the opening of student registration for the desired term of implementation.

  • Fall 2023 deadline: Monday, July 17, 2023
  • Winter 2024 deadline: Monday, Oct. 23, 2023
  • Spring 2024 deadline: Tuesday, Jan. 16, 2024
  • Summer 2024 deadline: Monday, April 8, 2024

If there are questions about the level of approval needed for a proposed change, please contact the Office of Academic Programs, Policy and Accreditation

Additional Resources and Information

Curriculum Modifications FAQs