Academic Affairs and Planning: Frequently Asked Questions
What is the difference between a degree option, pathway, or track? Will these appear on students' transcripts?
Terms used include: option, pathway, track, concentration, area of emphasis, and specialization. These are terms used by programs to describe distinct areas of study under one degree. They are treated identically for the review/approval process. In order for specific options/pathways/tracks to appear on students' transcripts, Graduate School review is needed.
Is the review procedure for all new programs and program options the same? What steps are involved in the review process?
Each review is tailored to the proposed program. For an overview of standard components for each type of proposal, see our Comparison Chart.
What timeline can we expect for the review and approval process of new programs?
The Office of Academic Affairs and Planning will respond to proposals by the end of the quarter after our three application deadlines. The response will include an expected timeline for review.
Graduate certificate programs do not require HECB review, but do require Graduate School Council review and Board of Regents approval. Thus, they can be approved more quickly than new degree programs.
Since new degree programs need to be reviewed by the Office of Academic Affairs and Planning, the Graduate School Council, Washington State Higher Education Coordinating Board, and the Board of Regents, the process can easily last up to a year from the time of submission. New program options usually require administrative review only and thus can be completed much more quickly.
How does the new program approval process relate to the approval process for new courses in that program?
These are two independent processes. New course proposals are approved by the appropriate College/School curriculum committee and then the UW Curriculum Committee. In general, graduate courses for a new graduate program are not given final approval by the UW Curriculum Committee until the program has completed the review process.
When in the approval process can we advertise a program and admit new students?
Students may not apply or be admitted to a program until final approval by the Board of Regents. Prospective students may be notified of a new program "pending approval by the Board of Regents" after it has been approved by the Higher Education Coordinating Board. Units may advertise a new degree program with the proviso “pending approval by the HECB and UW Board of Regents”
Why have you implemented deadlines for submission of proposals?
Due to an increasing number of proposals received by the Graduate School, the Office of Academic Affairs and Planning needs to be able to effectively manage its workload.
Can we meet with someone from Academic Affairs and Planning to discuss a proposal at the preliminary phases, before we have anything in writing?
We encourage you to contact the staff in Academic Affairs and Planning with questions early in the process of program creation. However, we ask that you wait to request a meeting with the Associate Dean until you have a draft of your proposal.
Are you involved in the review of self-sustaining programs?
The Graduate School is responsible for the academic oversight of all graduate degree programs at the three UW campuses. We review proposals for all graduate programs, regardless of the funding model.
Is there any difference between a 'certificate' and a 'graduate certificate'?
Proposals for Graduate Certificate Programs require review and approval by the Graduate School Council and the Board of Regents. Graduate Certificates include a specific course of study and appear on students' transcripts. Certificate programs offered through organizations such as UW Educational Outreach are not “graduate certificate” programs, do not appear on students’ transcripts and do not require Graduate School oversight.
Office of Academic Affairs and Planning
301 Loew Hall | Box 352191 | Seattle, Washington 98195