Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

WHAT CONSTITUTES 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 (BA, BSc, etc.)
  • Master’s or Doctoral degree (MA, MSc, PhD, etc.)
  • 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

There are a number of new credentials that are considered a major modification to an existing program, rather than a new program. Examples include:

The Quality Council has a number of examples that distinguish between new programs and major modifications.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN GRADUATE DIPLOMAS, FIELDS AND SPECIALIZATIONS?

   

Type 2 Graduate Diploma (GDip)

Type 3 Graduate Diploma (GDip)

Graduate Research Field

Graduate Specialization

 

Description

In conjunction with graduate degree; includes additional academic requirements (1.0 academic units)

Stand-alone direct-entry; minimum 4 graduate-level academic courses

Define student’s research concentration; specific course requirements support learning outcomes associated with that field

Sub-discipline in a student’s primary area of study; normally available in programs with sufficient coursework to allow customization.  Minimum 4 courses that allow depth/ mastery in area

Required level of approval

SGRC approval

X

X

X

X

Senate approval

X

X

X

X

Quality Council

X

X

 

 

MTCU

 

X

 

 

Output

Is a separate diploma (parchment)

X

X

 

 

Appears on student transcript

X

X

X

X

Minimum requirements for Graduate Diplomas, guidelines for graduate research fields, and guidelines for graduate specializations are defined in the Graduate Studies Academic Calendar.

WE ARE INTERESTED IN DEVELOPING A NEW PROGRAM. WHO SHOULD WE CONTACT FIRST?

Please contact the Quality Assurance Office. The Office, together with IAP, will let you know what the next steps entail.  Please review the information on the New Program Proposals webpage. 

IS THERE A DIFFERENCE BETWEEN THE STATEMENT OF INTEREST AND THE PROPOSAL BRIEF?

Yes. The Statement of Interest is a 1-2 page summary (use template provided) that is sent to the Quality Assurance Office for consideration at the initial stage of program development. 

The Proposal Brief (Volume I) is a more detailed document, developed later in the process, after the Statement of Intent has been reviewed and approved. 

HOW LONG DOES THE PROCESS TAKE?

The process can take up to 24 months depending on the type of program and the timing involved in scheduling review by Faculty Council, external reviewers, Senate Undergraduate Council (SUC) or Senate Graduate Research Council (SGRC), Senate, Quality Council, and the Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities (MTCU). NOTE: Submissions to MTCU are accepted only 4 times a year: November, January, April and July).

The process is expedited for graduate collaborative programs and diplomas as they do not require an external review site visit.

CAN THE FACULTY COUNCIL APPROVE THE PROPOSAL BRIEF BEFORE RECEIVING THE FINANCIAL VIABILITY ANALYSIS FROM IAP?

No. The Financial Viability Analysis and approval of the Provost must occur before the Proposal Brief (Volumes I, II, III) are presented to Faculty Council.

HOW CAN NEW PROGRAM DEVELOPERS IMPROVE THEIR CHANCES OF GETTING A NEW PROGRAM APPROVED QUICKLY?

Engage the Quality Assurance Office and IAP early on in the process of program development. The Quality Assurance Office and IAP will work to identify any potential ‘red flags’ that could derail or significantly lengthen the program approval process.  The Quality Assurance Office and IAP can also offer advice that might help the program approval process proceed more smoothly.

AT WHAT STAGE SHOULD THE DEPARTMENT INVOLVE CO-OPERATIVE AND EXPERIENTIAL EDUCATION (CEE), THE LIBRARY, CENTRE FOR TEACHING EXCELLENCE (CTE), CENTRE FOR EXTENDED LEARNING (CEL), ETC.?

The Department should involve the relevant academic support units early on while preparing the Proposal Brief (Volume I). The proposed submission must include learning outcomes mapped to graduate (GDLEs) and undergraduate degree learning outcomes (UDLEs). If the program will include co-op, a report from CEE will be required, and all submissions require a report generated by the Library.

The Centre for Extended Learning (CEL) has a long waitlist for online course development, and the average course takes 10 months to develop. The Department should contact CEL at the onset of planning, or at least 2 years before intended first intake.

Deadlines and timelines for new program approvals are driven by the calendar year and term in which the program is to be effective.

A new undergraduate program must be approved by the Department, Faculty Council, Senate Undergraduate Council, and Senate by November of the preceding year. For example, in order to market the program to potential students the new program must be submitted for inclusion in the viewbook and faculty brochures nearly 2 years before first intake.

A new graduate program must be approved by the Department, Faculty Council, Senate Graduate & Research Council, and Senate before the proposed effective date. Please consult GSPA for any questions about approval timing.

WHAT IS AN EXPEDITED PROCESS?

An expedited process does not require a site visit by external reviewers - only graduate collaborative programs and graduate diplomas follow this process.