Loyola University Maryland

The Office of Academic Affairs

Academic Program Development and Compliance

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This webpage provides resources, guidelines, and support for the development of academic programs and direction on institutional governance, regulatory requirements, and accreditor responsibilities affecting program development or the operations associated with existing programs.

In developing academic programs or their offering of existing programs at non-Evergreen locations, Loyola University Maryland has a relationship with three external bodies: the Maryland High Education Commission (MHEC), the Middle States Commission on Higher Education (MSCHE), and the U.S. Department of Education. Each of these agencies has distinct, separate, and explicit roles and functions, albeit with some overlap in certain areas of collective or mutual interest.

As a general principle, those curricular or programmatic proposals that require review by MHEC require consideration by Loyola governance. This includes new degree or certificate program proposals or the substantial modification of a degree or certificate program. Below is a description and definition of programs and modifications that require consideration by Loyola governance and those annotated with an asterisk also requires MHEC review.

Proposals Requiring Loyola Governance, and MHEC Review

  • A new degree or certificate program*
  • a 'substantial modification'* to an existing degree, minor, or certificate program where proposed curricular changes affect more than 33% of an existing program's course work.
  • Online programs* whether new or previously approved for offering in a distance education format to a classroom or site-based learning format, where 50% or more of the credits or courses associated with the program are available online.
  • Establishing a new area of concentration* within an existing program (for example, an institution offers a program in psychology and wishes to add a new area of concentration in employee assistance training, or an institution offers a program in mental heal and wishes to offer a new area of concentration in addiction counseling); Code of Maryland Regulations (COMAR) 13B.02.03.02B defines area of concentration. 'Area of concentration' means a sequential arrangement of courses within a program that:
    • At the bachelor's level is at least 24 semester credit hours;
    • At the master's level is at least 12 semester credit hours above the bachelor's degree; and
    • At the doctoral level is at least 18 semester credit hours above the master's degree.
  • Any program changes requiring review by the Undergraduate or Graduate Curriculum Committee. The relevant curriculum committee will review the proposed changes and the information requested. This review can take up to four weeks.
  • Development of a minor. The requirements for minors range from 5-7 courses. Minors typically require 6 three credit courses. Any proposed minor requiring few than six or more than seven courses should provide written justification.
  • Off-campus program* where one-third or more of an existing program is available at a site other than the Evergreen campus.
  • Development of an articulation agreement.

The Program Development and Approval Guidelines provide additional guidance specific to each of the proposal types that require Loyola governance consideration and includes a proposal template that addresses the regulatory requirements of most MHEC reviews. Additional guidance is available from the Academic Compliance Officer.

Proposal Life-Cycle

The following Program Approval Workflow provides a representation of a proposal that must proceed through all stages of Loyola governance and that requires MHEC and/or MSCHE review. The Program Development and Approval Guidelines provides additional details on each element of the life-cycle. However, dependent upon the nature of the proposal, especially if it involves an extant program and/or one that does not require new and additional resources, not all steps are necessarily required and/or the governance process can eschew the traditional approach of establishing a motion for consideration and then a motion for decision at consecutive Academic Senate and Loyola Conference, but rather a single motion for consideration and decision.

The following proposal timeline illustrates the governance dates and steps involved in a proposal that requires Loyola governance consideration and MHEC review. For example, an undergraduate program introduced for consideration by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee on March 8, 2016, could potentially receive consideration by the Board of Trustees at its May meeting and thereafter should receive a recommendation on the proposal from the Maryland Higher Education Commission within sixty days. To facilitate the disbursement of financial aid the office of financial aid will usually need to submit the relevant state and/or accreditor approval documents to the U.S. Department of Education for addition to the institution's Eligibility and Certification Approval Report.