What is a New Program?

“A ‘new program’ is brand-new … [it] has substantially different program requirements and substantially different learning outcomes from those of any existing approved programs offered by the institution” – University of Waterloo IQAP

Types of new programs include:

  • Bachelor’s degree (e.g., BA, BSc)
  • Major in an existing Bachelor's degree (e.g., Bachelor of Science in Zoology)
  • Master’s or Doctoral degree (e.g., MA, MSc, PhD)
  • Graduate Diploma (GDip)
    • Type II – completed concurrently with graduate degree, requires additional academic units, usually interdisciplinary
    • Type III – a stand-alone, direct-entry program aimed at post-degree or non-degree students

Each year, the Quality Assurance Office hosts an information session for any member of the campus community who is considering proposing a new program. To find out when the next info session will be held, please contact the QA Office

Proposing a New Program

The Quality Assurance (QA) Office shepherds the new program approval process and is the main point-of-contact for those who are developing a new program(s).

The development of a new program can take between 1.5 (graduate programs) to 2.5 years (undergraduate programs) to progress from Phase One to Phase Four. The process may be shorter for programs that do not require an external reviewers’ site visit (i.e., collaborative programs and graduate diplomas). Please review Expedited Approvals for details.

Each new program proposal requires many levels of approval, including Department/School, Faculty Undergraduate or Graduate Committee, Faculty Council, Senate Undergraduate Council or Senate Graduate and Research Council, Senate, Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance (Quality Council), and the Ministry of Colleges and Universities (MCU). 

The New Program Approval Flowchart (pdf) illustrates each of the steps involved in the development of a new program. Details on the four phases are as follows.