Academic Program Development

Towson University faculty develop and design academic programs through a robust process under the auspices of internal governance. Certain types of academic program proposal also require external approvals. The Office of the Provost facilitates the external approval process. The table below can help guide you to the appropriate procedures. 

Proposal type Proposal Life-cycle & requirements

New academic program

A new academic program requires successful completion of the following sequential steps in a program development life-cycle. 

1.  Letter of Intent (LoI) and proposal budgetary worksheets. The provost's Program Concept Review Group will consider the LoI and budgetary proposal at a regularly convened meeting that will include the proposal's progenitor and representatives from the relevant dean's office. Upon LoI and worksheet completion, the proposal progenitor should convey them to the

2. USM circulation period: Submission of the LoI to the University System of Maryland (USM) whereupon USM circulates it for a three week period for comment or objections form other USM institutions.

3. Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) proposal and internal governance. Following the USM circulation period, the program's progenitor will develop an MHEC proposal. The Office of the Provost has provided program proposal guidance and an MHEC proposal template to facilitate this requirement. 

The proposal's progenitor will populate the "Next Catalog" via Courseleaf's Curriculum Inventory Management (CIM) Software. The Registrar’s Office provides support and guidance on populating the Curriculum Inventory Management (Courseleaf) system. Upon completion of both the MHEC proposal and the CIM entry, the relevant curriculum committees and Academic Senate will consider the proposal. 

4. MHEC review: If institutionally approved, the Office of the Provost remits the completed proposal to the MHEC for a sixty day review. This review includes a thirty day circulation period affording all Maryland institutions the opportunity to comment upon or object to the proposal. 

Substantial Modification to existing academic programs

A substantial modification is one that involves changes affecting more than 33 percent of an existing program’s course work. A proposal for substantial modification to existing programs has the same requirement as that of a new program, with the exception that it eschews the remittance of the LoI to USM. However, a substantial modification proposal should still complete the LoI as a means of demonstrating the program changes' rationale to apprise the Office of the Provost of  the intended changes and to help inform the MHEC proposal. 

The addition of an Area of Concentration is also considered a substantial modification.

Online programs

When making an existing program available online,  please complete the online conversion form and send to the .

Creation of a certificate from curriculum in an existing degree
Where a certificate program is being developed, please complete and submit the new certificate form.
New courses /
Changes to existing courses
Off-campus programs/instruction
  • A program being offered at an off-campus location requires MHEC review and approval as a "Closed-Site" offering, where an agreement with a specific cohort's employer forms the basis for enrollment. Please contact the Towson Learning Network's for details.
  • A program open to the public that is off-campus will require an MHEC proposal that addresses all those criteria that apply to a new academic program. Those proposing an open enrollment off-campus program should discuss details with the .

Non-Substantial Program Modifications

A non-substantial modification involves all changes that do not meet the criteria for a substantial change. The University is required to notify the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) by submitting an MHEC non-substantial modification cover sheet, a letter of notification that communicates a detailed rationale for the proposed change and include supporting evidentiary documentation of the changes. Examples of documentation include comparative charts showing the existing program and proposed program, course outlines, course descriptions, and program titles). Non-substantial changes include the following:

  • Articulation Agreement
  • New Certificate within Existing Program
  • Non-substantial change to an Existing Program
  • Non-substantial Modification to Existing Certificate Program
  • Change in Program Modality
  • Title Change
  • CIP Code Change
  • Closed Site Approval
  • Discontinue Program
  • Suspend Program
  • Reactivate Program
  • Statewide and/or Health Manpower Designation

International Programs