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New Degree Programs

Developing an entirely new degree program (both undergraduate and graduate) is an exciting academic initiative that supports the teaching and research priorities of a Faculty/division. The process is governed by the University of Toronto Quality Assurance Process (UTQAP).

According to the UTQAP (section 1.2.), the “Office of the Vice-Provost, Academic Programs responds to divisional queries and facilitates proposal development with respect to institutional academic, planning and budget, student life, governance and approval aspects of proposals.”

The first point of contact for faculty considering such an initiative should be the appropriate Dean’s office.

Process for New Degree Programs

The process for new degree programs is best understood as comprising five phases (see a diagram of the process to approve new degree programs):

Phases for New Degree Programs


The first step in the development of a new program is the development of a program outline.

The VPAP office will work with the Dean’s office to convene a new program consultation meeting to discuss the program outline which will include representatives from Provostial and university administrative offices. The purpose is to give proponents early support and feedback on the initiative.

Proponents should consult widely concerning any proposal.

Proponents should work closely with their Dean’s office on the development of a new program proposal. VPAP will work with the Dean’s Office to provide consolidated feedback on the proposal from the relevant university offices.

The VPAP office will coordinate with the library to provide a library statement and also provide the student services information for the proposal.

All proposals for new programs should be supported by full calendar descriptions and new course proposals.


All proposals for new programs require sign-off from the Dean’s office and the Provost’s office before moving forward.


This step is intended as an opportunity to assess the proposed program against leading international programs in the field; to secure recommendations on areas of improvement; and to highlight innovative aspects of the proposed program.

Reviewers are recommended by the Dean’s office for approval by the VPAP office.

A new undergraduate program requires at least one reviewer; new graduate programs require two. See the reviewer nomination form.

Criteria for selecting reviewers:

  • External reviewers should be
    • active and respected in their field
    • normally associate or full professors with program management experience
    • representatives of peer institutions offering high-quality programs in the field under review.
  • All members of the review committee must be at arm’s length from the unit/program(s) under review.

Reviewers should receive all faculty curriculum vitae in a consistent format as an appendix to the proposal and full course syllabi or proposals.

Most Dean’s offices will develop their own templates for the new program appraisal. Attached are templates that may be helpful. Please always consult with your Dean’s office before using any template:

In preparing their review report, reviewers may wish to use the following as a template:

Items requiring expedited approval by the Quality Council are not subject to external appraisal such as new graduate diplomas.


New programs require approval by the relevant Faculty Council(s) and by University governance:


All new undergraduate programs and graduate degree programs require Quality Council approval.

New graduate degree programs, diplomas, new undergraduate degrees and certain new undergraduate programs also require approval by the Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Development (MAESD).



Jennifer Francisco,
Coordinator Academic Change