Initiate a Program

To be globally competitive, NC State must attract the world’s best students and provide them with cutting-edge education. Effective program development is essential for achieving this goal.

Master’s and Doctoral Programs

The development of new Master’s and doctoral programs is a multi step process; it is governed by UNC System Policy No. 400.1.1[R]. All proposers should familiarize themselves with the definition and minimum requirements of the type of program they plan to propose as outlined in Section 3.1 of the Graduate Handbook.

Groups and faculty considering the initiation of a new graduate program are urged to contact us at grad-curriculum@ncsu.edu for an initial orientation. We will provide guidance regarding the preparation of the necessary materials, discuss budget expectations and routing processes. This initial step is essential to the timely completion of the review process.

The Letter of Intent (LOI) is a pre-proposal for program development. After the initial orientation with the Graduate School, the proposers should

  • complete (i) the LOI, (ii) a one-page concept paper as well as the appropriate parts of (iii) the on-campus-routing form for LOIs, and (iv) the budget template
  • initiate the on-campus routing process for LOIs which culminates in the approval by the Chancellor and submission to the UNC System Office (UNC SO) by the Provost’s Office, see tables below for system’s level review process
  • get started on the next step (full proposal) in anticipation of an approval.
System level review process for LOI (Master’s)

LOI submitted to UNC SO

UNC SO responds with approval to move forward with request

or

UNC SO responds with questions; campus replies within four weeks
UNC SO approves and invites submission of Request to EstablishCampus submits Request to Establish within four months

System level review process for LOI (Doctoral)

LOI submitted to UNC SO

UNC SO responds that proposal is complete

or

requests information; campus replies within four weeks
Completed LOI forwarded to UNC Graduate Council for review/vote at next quarterly Graduate Council meeting.

If Council vote is negative, campus may revise and resubmit LOI; Campus resubmits within four weeks
UNC SO/Educational Planning, Policy, and Programs Committee approves and invites submissions of Request to EstablishCampus submit Request to Establish within four months

The Request to Establish (RTE) is a full proposal for program development. The proposers should

  • (i) complete the RTE form, (ii) complete the appropriate parts of the on-campus routing form for RTEs, and (iii) update the budget template after consultation with the various parties involved
  • initiate the on-campus routing process for RTEs which culminates in the approval by the Chancellor and submission to the UNC System Office (UNC SO) by the Provost’s Office, see tables below for system’s level review process
  • start planning the concrete steps leading to the start of the program (advertisement strategy, discussions about program leadership, etc).
System level review process for RTE (Master’s)

RTE submitted to UNC SO
UNC SO responds that proposal is complete

or

UNC SO requests information; campus replies within four weeks
RTE forwarded to UNC Graduate Council for four-week review period. Graduate deans submit comments to UNC SOUNC SO reviews package and sends recommendation to Educational Planning, Policy, and Programs
(EPPP) committee

or

campus is notified of remaining issues; campus replied within four weeks
EPPP committee approves and sends to Board of Governors (BOG); BOG acts on EPPP recommendation

System level review process for RTE (Doctoral)

RTE submitted to UNC SOUNC SO responds that proposal is complete

or

UNC SO requests information; campus replies within four weeks
RTE forwarded by UNC SO to selected external reviewers External reviews sent to campus; campus notified whether reviews will be sent to Graduate Council SubcommitteeProposal presented to Graduate Council; UNC SO recommends to Educational Planning, Policy, and Programs (EPPP) committee

or

if utilized, Graduate Council Subcommittee responds to UNC SO
EPPP committee approves and sends to Board of Governors (BOG); BOG acts on EPPP recommendation

Graduate Certificates

The development and approval of new post baccalaureate certificates is handled entirely on campus. All proposers should familiarize themselves with the definition and minimum requirements of graduate certificates as outlined in Section 3.13 of the Graduate Handbook.

Groups and faculty considering the initiation of a new graduate program are urged to contact us at grad-curriculum@ncsu.edu for an initial orientation. We will provide guidance regarding the preparation of the necessary materials, discuss budget expectations and routing processes. This initial step is essential to the timely completion of the review process.

The proposers must complete the graduate certificate proposal template; in particular, they have to

  • Identify a program coordinator (comparable to a Graduate Service Coordinator (GSC) for graduate programs) and a program director (similar to a Director of Graduate Programs (DGP) for graduate programs); the director must have graduate faculty status.
  • Outline admission requirements as established by the academic unit/program.
  • Outline curriculum requirements. If the curriculum includes proposed new courses or courses taught thus far as special topics courses, the unit/program must submit course actions to create these new courses.
  • Provide a list of faculty participants and a method for the identification of future faculty participants.
  • Include a list of learning outcomes and an outcomes assessment plan.

The appropriate on-campus routing form must be submitted along with the proposal. The full routing process for graduate certificates is described here.

  • The program coordinator/director will monitor admission cycle of the graduate certificate program.
  • Unless otherwise requested in the proposal, the standard University tuition rate will apply for course work in certificate programs. Tuition other than the standard rate will require approval by NC State University, the Board of Trustees and the Board of Governors, and will be classified as receipt income and subject to the same rules as state appropriated funds.
  • A new academic structure code (in SIS) will be created for each Graduate Certificate Program for tracking purposes. Student credit hours (SCH) will be assigned for certificate program students based on the instructor assigned to teach the courses that certificate students take.
  • The Graduate Certificate Program coordinator will notify the Dean of the Graduate School of the student’s completion of certificate requirements.
  • The Graduate School will perform an audit of the student’s record of work in the Graduate Certificate Program and, once the record is approved, will notify Registration and Records to prepare a certificate and include notification of completion on the student’s official University transcript.
  • As with all graduate programs, curriculum changes should route for approval through the appropriate college graduate committee and the Administrative Board of the Graduate School.
  • If, at any time, it is deemed the certificate program should be terminated, an official request, including teach-out plans, should be submitted to the Administrative Board.

Accelerated Bachelors/Master’s Programs


The Accelerated Bachelors/Master’s (ABM) degree program allows exceptional undergraduate students at NC State an opportunity to complete the requirements for both the Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees at an accelerated pace. These undergraduate students may double count up to 12 credits and obtain a non-thesis Master’s degree in the same field within 12 months of completing the Bachelor’s degree, or obtain a thesis-based Master’s degree in the same field within 18 months of completing the Bachelor’s degree.

This degree program also provides an opportunity for the Directors of Graduate Programs at NC State to recruit rising juniors in their major to their graduate programs. However, permission to pursue an ABM degree program does not guarantee admission to the Graduate School. Admission is contingent on meeting eligibility requirements at the time of entering the graduate program. More information is available in Section 3.12 of the NC State Graduate Handbook.

Groups and faculty considering the initiation of a new ABM program are urged to contact us at grad-curriculum@ncsu.edu for an initial orientation. We will provide guidance regarding the preparation of the necessary materials, discuss budget expectations and routing processes. This initial step is essential to the timely completion of the review process.


In order to establish an ABM program, the same department or program that awards the Bachelor’s degree must sponsor the Master’s degree. This does not preclude Master’s degrees in interdisciplinary graduate programs in which the sponsoring department participates, or acceptance of the student into a closely related field if the department granting the graduate degree recommends admission to the Graduate School.

The proposers must provide a memorandum which includes

  • the name and contact information of the initiator
  • a justification for the creation of the program.

The proposal package, i.e., the memorandum and the short routing form should routed as follows

  1. department head(s) or program director(s) endorse the proposal and submits to the college dean(s)
  2. college undergraduate and graduate committee(s) recommend
  3. college dean(s) endorse and submit to the Office of Undergraduate Courses and Curricula and the Graduate School
  4. Administrative Board of the Graduate School recommends
  5. Graduate Operations Council is informed
  6. Dean of the Graduate School approves and submits to Provost for notification of Vice Provosts and Deans Council


The program shall be administered in compliance with Section 3.12 of the NC State Graduate Handbook.
Curriculum changes should be handled through the appropriate college committees, the Administrative Board of the Graduate School, and the Office of Undergraduate Courses and Curricula.

All ABM Programs will be subject to review as part of the regular graduate program review cycle. If at any time it is deemed the ABM should be terminated, an official request, including phase-out plans, should be submitted to the Administrative Board of the Graduate School and the Office of Undergraduate Courses and Curricula.

3+X Programs

3+X programs are a type of combined bachelor-master programs where the undergraduate institution is a non-US institution. Undergrads are selected from their non-US institution and complete 3 years’ study at home. They then spend a transition semester at NC State which typically involves some graduate coursework and get a BS from their home institution. They can then apply to an NC State Masters program and, if admitted, work towards a regular NC State Masters, typically on an accelerated schedule, with some of the graduate credits carrying over from their first semester.

Programs and departments interested in initiating a 3+X program should familiarize themselves with the way these program operate or contact directly David Dixon, Director of Global Partnerships, Office of Global Engagement.

Programs and faculty interested in initiating a 3+X program have to

  • identify a non-US partner institution, in coordination with their director of graduate programs,
  • develop a working relationship leading to the development and signature of a Memorandum of Agreement,
  • complete the corresponding routing form.

We recommend contacting the Graduate School at grad-curriculum@ncsu.edu and/or the Director of Global Partnerships early in the process for an initial orientation.

External Dual Degrees & Joint Degrees


An external dual program results from an agreement by NC State and another institution whereby students study at the two institutions and each institution grants a separate academic award bearing only its name, seal, and signature. This is not to be confused with a joint program which results from an agreement by NC State and another institution whereby students study at the two institutions and the institutions grant a single academic award bearing the names, seals, and signatures of each of the participating institutions.

Groups and faculty considering the initiation of either a new dual or joint degree graduate program are urged to contact us at grad-curriculum@ncsu.edu for an initial orientation. Additional relevant information about the process for external dual degree programs is available from the Provost Office.

Minor Programs


Unless instructed otherwise, the Graduate School will initiate a minor corresponding to any newly approved graduate program. Each graduate program establishes guidelines for its minor. Minimum hours are usually 9 hours for Master’s students and 12 hours for doctoral students. The graduate program also selects required courses for the minor.

New graduate minor programs in areas that do not have a graduate major must be formally reviewed and approved. A written proposal to establish the minor program has no standard format, but should include the following:

  • statement of justification/need for the minor
  • requirements for admission
  • procedures for administration of the minor
  • requirements for faculty membership in the minor program and list of initial faculty
  • procedure for adding new faculty to the minor program
  • requirements for the minor including courses, number of credit hours required, any minimum grades.

The proposal should be sent to grad-curriculum@ncsu.edu together with the short routing form.

Licensures


In agreement with the Code and UNC Policy Manual section 400.1.3[R].V, departments/programs applying for licensure to conduct a postsecondary degree activity should contact the UNC System Office and arrange for a preliminary conference to discuss the related standards and procedures.