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Content of Proposals

Proposals for degree or certificate programs must explain the rationale and provide information for the curriculum and degree requirements; faculty resources; administration and implementation; admission requirements and projected enrollment; arrangements for advising, mentoring, and supporting the student community; and required funding, space, and equipment.

Objectives and Rationale

  • An explanation of the academic focus of the proposed program and a discussion of its relationship with other Rackham programs with which it might overlap or have proximate interests, and what impact the program may have on other U-M programs. Explain why a new program is needed rather than modifying an existing program.
  • A discussion of evidence of the need for the program, including the anticipated demand, career paths, and job prospects of graduates.
  • A discussion of the features and strengths of the program relative to similar programs at peer universities and other universities in the State of Michigan.

Curriculum and Academic Requirements

Proposals should adhere to the Graduate School’s policy requirements for Ph.D. degrees, master’s degrees, dual degrees, certificates, and accelerated master’s degrees. Coursework must be primarily at the 500 level and higher; 400-level courses must be approved by the Registrar for graduate credit and require work appropriate for the graduate level.

All proposals are required to provide a comprehensive description of the curriculum that includes:

  • Total required credits for master’s and certificate proposals, and for pre-candidacy for doctoral program proposals.
  • Brief description and credits for each required course.
  • A list of elective courses with credit hours.
  • Discussion of language or other competency requirements.
  • Discussion of capstone projects, internships, fieldwork, practicums, and any requirements mandated by accrediting agencies, including how these will be approved and how students will be assessed.
  • A model term-by-term program of study that shows how students will complete the program, including courses and credits earned, by term, and anticipated time to degree.

Proposals for master’s and doctoral degrees may designate sub-plans, which distinguish areas of concentration. A sub-plan designates a defined track of study that appears only on the transcript. A proposal that includes one or more sub-plans should include a detailed discussion of the rationale and curriculum for each, including courses, credit hours, and other requirements.

Proposals for Ph.D. programs should also discuss:

  • Requirements for advancing to candidacy, including written and oral exams, or other milestones (see section 4.3, Rackham Graduate School Academic Policies).
  • Expectations for structure of the dissertation: i.e., journal articles, monograph, performance.
  • Expected time-frames for achieving candidacy and completing the degree (section 4.4.1, Academic Policies).
  • Master’s option for students who complete pre-candidacy requirements and leave the program without completing the doctorate.

Proposals for a doctoral program may also include a stand-alone master’s degree in the same field of study, for which students may be admitted as an independent degree. The requirements for a terminal master’s should approximate those for pre-candidacy.

Faculty Resources

Proposals must provide evidence of sufficient faculty with active records of research and graduate teaching, including:

  • Names, rank, and tenure status of faculty who will be active participants.
  • Evidence of sufficient core faculty to provide leadership, to ensure that required courses are taught regularly, and to provide mentoring and advising.
  • Ph.D. program proposals should include short CVs of participating faculty.

Admissions and Enrollment Planning

Proposals should discuss:

  • Anticipated admissions activity, including first-year enrollment targets and steady-state cohort size, and whether enrollments are expected to be incremental or to have an impact on enrollments in other programs.
  • Admission requirements and the admissions process, including requirements for scores measuring English proficiency on exams such as TOEFL.[1]
  • Active measures to reach and recruit a diverse pool of students, particularly those traditionally underrepresented in the program or field.

Advising, Mentoring, and the Student Community

Proposals should discuss how the program will support a climate for student success, including:

  • How academic advising and mentoring will be organized, including annual student reviews, and other steps to support career preparation and degree completion.
  • Steps for building and maintaining an inclusive community, including measures for ensuring the successful degree completion of students traditionally underrepresented in the program or field.

Program Implementation

Proposals should identify the academic unit where the program will be administratively located and discuss:

  • How the program chair will be appointed.
  • The composition and duties of the faculty program committee and how the committee will be appointed.
  • How faculty advising, and other administrative responsibilities will be assigned.
  • How the Graduate Coordinator and other student services will be provided.
  • How regular program assessment will be done.

Finances, Space, and Equipment

Proposals should outline any necessary funding arrangements. Rackham approval does not convey or imply funding for any costs associated with starting or maintaining a new program. Proposals should provide information about:

  • Source of funding for anticipated start-up or bridging costs.
  • For Ph.D. programs, sources for funding five years of full support, as well as sources of additional funding for research or other needed requirements.
  • Grants or other funds available for master’s students.
  • Source of funding for administrative and other program costs.
  • Source of funding for specialized equipment or other academic resources.
  • Unit that will provide space for program administration and operations.
  • Firm commitments from the units that will provide resources to meet transition and ongoing program costs.

[1] Applicants whose native language is not English and who do not meet the Graduate School’s criteria for exemption, must submit TOEFL or other English language test scores as required to meet Rackham English proficiency requirements.