Academic Planning

At the University of Maryland, Baltimore (UMB), creating and implementing new academic programs is an important aspect of providing quality education to students. As a university, we must be committed to developing new programs to stay relevant and meet the evolving needs of students and society.

Prior to enrolling students, all new programs must be approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission (MHEC) and the University System of Maryland (USM).

Developing a new academic program typically involves several stages, including a needs assessment, program design, resource allocation, and approvals, so careful planning is critical. Typically, a new program will take eight to 12 months from inception to approval, which should be considered while also taking into account time needed for marketing and recruitment.

The following steps outline the process for approval of a new academic program at UMB.

  1. Initial communication: The school should communicate to the Office of the Provost its intention to submit a new program proposal to MHEC and USM. An email can be sent to
  2. Internal notification: The Office of the Provost will notify the Cross Functional Team, which is composed of members from the Office of the Registrar, the Bursar’s Office, and the Center for Information Technology Services. The proposer and the cross-functional team will meet to discuss the following questions:
    • How will students in the new program be registered?
    • Will students be charged an existing tuition rate or has a different tuition/fee schedule been submitted to the Board of Regents?
    • Is this a certificate*, bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral program?
      • *If it’s a certificate program, generally financial aid isn’t approved for at least one year.
    • How many credit hours will students need to complete to earn the degree?
    • Where will the program be offered? (UMB has approval from the Middle States Commission on Higher Education to offer programs in Baltimore, Universities at Shady Grove, and the UMCP Computer Science Instructional Center.)
    • How will the program be laid out in the academic calendar?
    • With what department (if applicable) will the major be associated?
    • What will be the description for the major (30 characters maximum)?
  3. Circulation of Letter of Intent: The first step in the program approval process is to submit a letter of intent to USM. USM circulates the letter of intent to other USM schools for a period of three weeks. If no comments or concerns are raised during that period, the full proposal can move forward.
  4. Full proposal to both MHEC and USM: Once the circulation period passes, the full proposal may be submitted to USM and MHEC. USM accepts proposals during designated submission windows, while MHEC proposals may be submitted on the 1st or 15th of any month. Accompanying the proposal are a letter from provost requesting the approval of the new program and an MHEC cover sheet.
  5. MHEC process: Within 10 days, MHEC will determine if a proposal is complete or if additional information is required. If the proposal is complete, it will be circulated to all Maryland colleges and universities for a period of 30 days. If no objections are received during that time, MHEC will render a decision within 30 days.
  6. USM process: Once a proposal is submitted to USM, the submitter will be invited to present at the next Committee on Education Policy and Student Life meeting. The final vote on the program’s proposal takes place at the full Board of Regents meeting.
  7. Approval: When approval letters are received by the Office of the Provost, they will be forward to the proposing school, and implementation can begin. New programs should not be advertised until final approval is granted.
  8. Implementation: Once the new academic program has been approved by the Secretary of Higher Education (MHEC) and the Chancellor (USM), it can then be implemented.
  9. Monitoring and Evaluation: Finally, the new academic program will be monitored and evaluated to ensure that it continues to meet the goals and objectives set out in the original proposal. Approved programs that are not accredited by a professional organization will go through a program review process every seven years.

      Note: The process for new programs within an existing degree program (that is, the degree is made up of courses from a different approved program) is abbreviated and should be discussed with the Office of the Provost.

      The University of Maryland, Baltimore is committed to providing high-quality academic programs to its students, and the approval process for a new academic program is an important part of this commitment. If you have any questions about the process, please contact the Office of the Provost at UMB.