Program Development and Modification Process

New Academic Programs

Outlined below is the process required to develop new academic programs at Towson University.

1.  Letter of Intent (LOI) - The department submits a completed LOI to the college dean for approval and signature. The dean submits the LOI to the Provost’s Office. The LOI is shared with the Deans' Council for feedback. If the LOI is approved by the Provost, the Provost's Office sends the signed LOI to the dean, department chair, and the Registrar.

2. The Provost’s Office submits the LOI to the USM Office of Academic Affairs. The LOI should be submitted 6 to 12 months before intended submission to Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) and/or the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE) .  USM shares the LOI with the USM Academic Affairs Advisory Council (provosts and vice presidents). Institutions are asked to review and to respond directly to the proposing institution’s provost/vice president with comments, questions or objections within 10 business days. If there are no objections, development of the formal program proposal should proceed.

3. Curricular Approval Process and Development of the New Program Proposal -The department develops the proposal and submits it with the program request form for approval to the college dean followed by the appropriate curricular approval bodies at the college and institutional levels. Departments should submit a draft proposal to the Provost's Office for guidance in developing the proposal, including budgets.  All forms will be submitted online using the Curriculum Inventory Management System (CIM).

4. Undergraduate program proposals that have been submitted and approved by the dean and the College Curriculum Committee (CCC) should be forwarded to the University Curriculum Committee (UCC) for review and signature.

Graduate program proposals that have been submitted and approved by the dean of the college and the College Curriculum Committee should be forwarded to the Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) for review and signature.

5. If approved by UCC or GSC, the department will be notified, and the UCC or GSC will forward the proposal to the Chair of the University Senate Executive Committee for inclusion on the next University Senate agenda for final approval.

6. Once approved and signed by the University Senate, the college dean will be notified by the University Senate. The University Senate submits the completed proposal and all curricular approval forms to the Provost’s Office.

7. In the Provost’s Office, the proposal is reviewed to ensure it is complete and consistent with institutional planning, USM, MHEC, and/or MSCHE requirements.  Approval by the Provost and the President is required before the proposal is submitted to USM and MHEC concurrently for approval. 

8.  The USM Office of Academic Affairs prepares the proposal with the Chancellor’s recommendation for submission to the USM Board of Regents Education Policy Committee (EPC) for its review at the next scheduled meeting. The EPC makes a recommendation to the Board of Regents at their next meeting. The EPC may recommend approval, request additional information or recommend that the proposed program not be approved.  Action is taken by the Board of Regents at their next meeting, which is within 60 days of the submission to USM.

9. Proposals will be reviewed by the MHEC Secretary within 60 days after submission. MHEC concurrently reviews the proposal. However, distribution of the proposal can not occur until the proposal is fully approved by the USM Board of Regents. Proposals are circulated among segments and institutions for comment (30-day comment period). When the proposal is approved, the Secretary of MHEC sends a letter to the Provost’s Office, which includes the new program inventory codes.

10. If the proposal requires approval as a substantive change by MSCHE, the department prepares the required  documentation for Middle States using the Middle States Substantive Change Definitions and Instructions. The department submits the draft substantive change document to the appropriate dean for approval, and the dean’s office submits the substantive change documentation to the assistant vice president for assessment for review and approval. Once the substantive change request has been approved, the substantive change request, executive summary, and copies of the MHEC approval letter are submitted by the assistant vice president for assessment to MSCHE on behalf of the Provost’s Office.

11. When the substantive change request is approved, MSCHE sends notification of approval to the University.

12. The Provost’s Office notifies the appropriate offices of the program action, including the dean, department chair, Institutional Research, Registrar, Admissions, and the University Relations catalog coordinator.

Marketing for the requested program and admissions decisions must be delayed until notification of approval is received by both MHEC and MSCHE.


Division of Academic Affairs
Administration Building, Room 311

Phone: 410-704-2557
Fax: 410-704-3129

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