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New Degree Program Proposal

Faculty who wish to develop new graduate degree programs are encouraged to work closely with the Graduate School's Office of Academic Services (OAS) from the beginning of the proposal process. We can advise on how to create a proposal that will ensure quality delivery, and garner speedy review and approval.

New graduate programs must be approved by the home department, the decanal unit, the Office of Academic Services in consultation with the Associate Dean's Graduate Council (ADGC), SUNY-Central in Albany, and the State Education Department (SED). Please review the SUNY Guide to Academic Program Planning as you move through this process.

*Note that the process for obtaining a new advanced certificate is different than obtaining a new degree program. Visit our New Advance Certificate Proposal page for more information.

Step 1: Letter of Intent (LOI) and subsequent comment period

The first step in developing a new academic program is to complete the Letter of Intent (LOI, SUNY form 1B), to be approved by the respective decanal unit, the Associate Dean's Graduate Council, and the Graduate School, before it is sent to SUNY.

We recommended that you request a consultation with Katie Darling, Associate Dean for Academic Services (kdarling@buffalo.edu) prior to submitting a Letter of Intent. Please copy Brittany Iannucci (bai2@buffalo.edu) on any such requests.

Once the LOI is approved on campus, Katie Darling will send the LOI to SUNY-Central. SUNY-Central will announce the new program plan to other SUNY campuses for a 30-day comment period that enables the campuses to offer suggestions or express concerns. When the 30-day comment period ends and/or objections from other campuses have been resolved to the satisfaction of SUNY-Central, an approval letter will be sent to Katie Darling, who will share with all appropriate parties on campus. The LOI expires two years after the date of the approval letter from SUNY-Central.

Step 2: Preliminary composition of the formal program proposal

Once an LOI approval letter is received by SUNY-Central, the department seeking the new graduate degree program can begin working on the formal program proposal (SUNY form 2B)*, which must include an on-site visit and external evaluation by faculty from similar graduate degree programs at peer or aspirant peer institutions.

Although the final proposal will include information from the external evaluation, the remainder of the proposal must be written prior to the site visit and shared with the evaluation team for review and consideration.

*You may also be required to submit supplemental forms, please review the SUNY website for more information.

Step 3: The site visit, external evaluation, and institutional response

The external evaluation must include at least two SUNY-approved faculty members from outside of UB, who are invited to comment on the feasibility of the program and the capacity of the department to implement it.

Step One: Selecting evaluators

The first step in planning the site visit is selecting the external evaluation team. The department should gather the names and curricula vitae for three to five proposed external evaluators and send the list to Katie Darling (kdarling@buffalo.edu), to be shared with, and approved by, SUNY-Central. In most cases only two evaluators will be required to visit the campus, however in certain circumstances, such as interdisciplinary degree programs, campuses may be required to submit reports for three or more reviewers.

Each external evaluator is expected:

  • to possess significant expertise in the discipline of the proposed program; and
  • have no personal or professional relationships with department faculty that are, or appear to be, a conflict of interest.

For any program leading to professional licensure, one evaluator should be from a New York State institution, to provide expertise on New York State’s licensure requirements.

Step Two: Site visit

Once the external evaluation team has been approved by SUNY-Central, the department is responsible for formally inviting the evaluation team to campus and coordinating their two-day site visit. The department is also responsible for all costs incurred during the site visit, including travel costs for the evaluation team.

Prior to their visit, the External Evaluation Report (SUNY form 2D) should be shared with the external reviewers.

Step Three: External evaluation

Upon completion of the site visit, each evaluator should email his/her separate and signed report directly to the department, to be included in the formal proposal. External evaluators must use the External Evaluation Report (SUNY form 2D) when writing the evaluation.

Step Four: Institutional response

Once all external reports have been received and reviewed by the department, the next step is for the department to prepare a single institutional response to all external evaluations that addresses what was revised to incorporate suggestions from the evaluators, or why suggestions were not incorporated. The response should address all of the evaluators’ concerns and recommendations, indicating those that have been adopted, or will be adopted, or the reasons why they will not be adopted.

Step 4: Finalizing the formal program proposal for submission

After the individual external evaluations have been collected and the institutional response has been written, this documentation is incorporated into the finalized proposal.

Careful review and revision of a draft program proposal at the campus level can prevent unnecessary delays in SUNY-Central and SED reviews. Departments should ensure that all applicable items have responses, that all responses are accurate, complete and clear, and that all required information is part of the proposal and easy for reviewers to find.

When the final proposal is approved at the department and decanal level, it is then shared with Katie Darling (kdarling@buffalo.edu) and Brittany Iannucci (bai2@buffalo.edu) for review by the Office of Academic Services. Once approved by the Office of Academic Services, the proposal will then be subject to a vote at the monthly Associate Dean's Graduate Council meeting, for formal campus approval.

Step 5: SUNY-Central review

Following approval by the Associate Dean's Graduate Council, Katie Darling will submit the final program proposal to SUNY-Central for review. The assigned campus reviewer at SUNY-Central will work with the Katie Darling, where necessary, until the program is approved. Each program proposal is reviewed in terms of SUNY policy and priorities as well as mission, market, and quality. SUNY-Central generally responds to new program proposals within 60 days.

Step 6: SED review

After its approval by SUNY-Central, the new program proposal is sent to SED for review. The assigned campus reviewer at SED will work with the Katie Darling, where necessary, until the program is approved.

When the program proposal is approved, SED will notify Katie Darling, who will share the SED Approval Letter with all interested parties.  SED review can take up to one year.

New Program Development and Review Process Chart

OAS - The Graduate School's Office of Academic Services
ADGC - Associate Dean's Graduate Council

Questions? Please check our Program Proposal FAQ's page.

Interested in the status of your submission?

Take a look at our Programs in the Hopper page.