2.2 Initial Institutional Process

The process the institution follows to approve new undergraduate and graduate programs will, at a minimum [1]:

2.2.1  Identify authorities

Identify the authority or authorities responsible for the IQAP and its application.

2.2.2  Identify contact

Identify the authoritative contact between the institution and the Quality Council. This will be the sole contact for communication between the institution and the Quality Council about the approval process.

2.2.3  Identify steps

Identify the institutional steps required to develop and approve new programs. The IQAP will also set out the intra-institutional steps that will apply to the quality assurance of other new programs (for example, a new Emphasis, Option, Minor Program or similar) which do not require Quality Council appraisal and approval.

2.2.4  Evaluation Criteria

Require, at a minimum, the evaluation criteria specified in Framework Section 2.

2.2.5  Program Proposal Brief

Require the preparation of a Program Proposal Brief that addresses the specified criteria and meets the requirements of this Quality Assurance Framework together with any further institutional requirements which it chooses to apply (see template and Guide). For proposals for new for-credit graduate diplomas, apply only the applicable components of the Evaluation Criteria (Section 2.1). Since no external reviewers are required, steps 2.2.6 through 2.2.9, inclusive, in the Initial Institutional Process will not apply.

2.2.6  External reviewers

Establish and describe a process for the selection and appointment of external reviewers and any others who will review the new program proposal. There will be at least one reviewer for new undergraduate programs and two for new graduate programs. External review of new graduate program proposals must incorporate an on-site visit. External review of new undergraduate program proposals will normally be conducted on-site, but may be conducted by desk audit, videoconference or an equivalent method if the external reviewer is satisfied that the off-site option is acceptable. The reviewers will normally be associate or full professors, or the equivalent, with program management experience, and will be at arm’s length from the program under review. (See Guide for a definition of arm’s length and for suggestions on the selection of reviewers.)

2.2.7  Reviewers’ report

Excepting occasions when two languages are used or when contrary circumstances apply, the reviewers will normally provide a joint report (see template) that appraises the standards and quality of the proposed program and addresses the criteria set out in Section 2.1, including the associated faculty and material resources. They will also be invited to acknowledge any clearly innovative aspects of the proposed program together with recommendations on any essential or otherwise desirable modifications to it.

2.2.8  Internal response

Require, in response to the Reviewers’ Report(s) and recommendations, responses from both the proposing academic unit and the relevant deans or their delegates.

2.2.9  Institutional approval

Based on the Proposal Brief, the Reviewers’ Report(s) and the internal responses to both, and in accordance with the IQAP, the institution will determine whether or not the proposal meets its quality assurance standards and is thus acceptable or needs further modification. The institution may stop the whole process at this or any subsequent point.

2.2.10  Quality Council Secretariat

After completion of any other requirements of its IQAP, the institution will submit the Proposal Brief, together with all required reports and documents, to the Quality Council Secretariat. The submission template will require information on whether or not the proposed program will be a cost-recovery program. The same standards and protocols apply regardless of the source of funding.

2.2.11  Announcement of new programs

Subject to approval by the university’s senior academic officer (e.g., Provost and Vice-President Academic), an institution may announce its intention to offer a new undergraduate or graduate program in advance of approval by the Quality Council. When such announcements are made in advance of Quality Council approval, they must contain the following statement: “Prospective students are advised that offers of admission to a new program may be made only after the university’s own quality assurance processes have been completed and the Ontario Universities Council on Quality Assurance has approved the program.”


  1. Institutions are free to add to this list of required components of the new program approval process.