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Higher Education in Maryland

Academic Program Proposals
From Degree-Granting Institutions Authorized to
Operate in the State of Maryland

An institution submits a proposal using guidelines in accordance with State regulations.
See COMAR Title 13B.02.03 (PDF) for the full set of regulations. Proposals for new programs should be submitted electronically to acadprop@mhec.state.md.us.

New Academic Programs, Degrees and Stand-Alone Certificate Programs

      An institution shall submit  a program proposal for a new program to:

  • establish instruction leading to a formal award in a subject area in which the award is not presently authorized,  
  • establish an instructional program in a subject area which will offer a degree at a different degree level than presently authorized, 
  • establish a new major by combining course work from two or more existing degree programs, or 
  • establish a degree that is of a different type than that presently authorized.

Substantial Modification to Existing Program

      An institution shall submit  a program proposal for a substantial modification to:

  • change more than 33 percent of an existing programs course work;
  • convert more than 50 percent of a program previously approved for offering in a distance education format to a classroom or site-based learning format, or convert more than 50 percent of a program previously approved for offering in a classroom or site-based learning format to a distance education format;
  • establish a new area of concentration within an existing program, and/or;
  • establish a new program title within an approved program.

      An institution shall submit  a program proposal for an off-campus program for a substantial modification to offer an existing program as an off-campus program.

Certificate Programs

  • Directed Technology Certificate is a specialized learning program designed for community colleges intended to meet specific employer training needs.  It requires the completion of at least 12 credits but no more than 24 credits. 
  • New Certificate Programs within an existing degree area.  These programs are distinctly different from directed technology certificates and fall into several categories: Lower-Division Certificates, Upper-Division Certificates, Post-Baccalaureate Certificates, Certificates of Advanced Study, and Professional Certificates.  Use this link for information on the differences between the certificates and the guidelines for proposing a new certificate program.
  • New Stand Alone Certificate

Closed Site Approval

  • A letter of notification shall describe the program and affirm that there is access to library and faculty resources consistent with the scope and nature of the offereings.

Cooperative Programs

  • The proposed program shall be planned by representatives from each cooperating institution.  Identical proposals for each institution shall go through the normal program approval procedures for the institutions and segments, including formal approval and recognition by each governing board.  A memorandum of understanding between or among cooperating institutions shall be included when the program proposal is submitted.

Off-Campus Programs

  • An institution shall submit a program proposal for an off-campus program that contains information regarding  need and demand for extending the program and the impact the program may have on similar programs that may exist in the region.

Distance Education Programs

  • A program proposal  for a distance education program shall be submitted by the institution to the Commission before implementation.

Title Change of an Approved Program

  • An institution may submit a brief letter of request indicating the existing and proposed titles and a justification for the proposed title change.

Non-Substantial Program Modifications

  • For changes that do not meet the requirements for substantial modifications, an institution  may submit a letter of notification that describes and provides a justification for the proposed change, along with supporting and/or comparative documentation (i.e. course outlines, course descriptions) from the existing and proposed programs.

Discontinue Program

  • An institution shall provide written notice to the Commission in advance of a program's discontinuance.

Suspend Program

  • Before suspending a program, the institution shall notify the Secretary in writing.

Reactivate Program

  • After a 3-year period, the institution shall notify the Secretary in writing of their intent to either discontinue or reactivate a suspended program.

Articulation Agreements

  • Between Degree-Granting and Maryland Secondary Schools and Non-Degree Institutions
    A written proposal for articulation or transfer of credit of specific courses or programs shall be submitted by the chief executive officer of the school system or the non-degree granting institution to the chief executive officer of the degree granting institution. The proposal shall include, but is not limited to, a complete description of course/program content, instructional/experimental learning hours, expected competencies, and assessment measures used. The proposal shall also indicate whether the intention is for transfer of credit for courses within an articulated program or for transfer of credit for individual courses. Agreements must be approved by the Maryland Higher Education Commission. Agreements must be signed by the chief executive officers of the two institutions entering into the agreement to be valid and considered by the Commission.
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