Skip to:

Content of Proposals

Proposals for all new programs, including dual degrees, certificates of graduate study, and concurrent undergraduate/graduate degree programs, should provide the following information.

Objectives and Justification

  • Explain how the program complements and is defined in relation with other Rackham degree programs, and why a new program is needed rather than modifying an existing program.
  • Discuss relative features and strengths of the proposed program in the context of similar programs at peer universities, and with similar programs at other Michigan universities.
  • Show evidence of the need for the program, explaining how graduates will contribute to research, education, public service, or the private sector, and the anticipated demand and career paths of the graduates.
  • Show evidence of the demand for the program and prospects of job availability.
  • Discuss possible impacts or overlaps the program may have on other U-M programs and the career opportunities for graduates of those programs.

Curriculum and Requirements

Rackham Graduate School Academic Policies stipulate minimal coursework and other requirements for Ph.D. degrees, master’s degrees, dual degrees, certificates, and sequential, concurrent and accelerated undergraduate/graduate degrees. Coursework requirements should be composed primarily of courses 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.

Coursework requirements should be composed primarily of courses 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.

Proposals for master’s programs should list required courses and credit hours, stipulating the minimum credit hours required for the degree. Discussion should explain distribution requirements and electives as well as theses, capstone projects, internships, fieldwork, practicums, and any requirements mandated by accrediting agencies. A master’s program may distinguish areas of concentration in two ways:

  • A sub-plan designates a track of study that appears only on the transcript. A detailed discussion must explain the rationale, courses, credit hours, and other requirements for each sub-plan.
  • A plan, less frequently used, designates a more formal track of study that appears on both the diploma and the transcript. A detailed discussion must explain the rationale, courses, credit hours, and other requirements for a plan.

Proposals for Ph.D. programs should present requirements and the expected time-frame for achieving candidacy and completing the degree, including a list of required courses and credit hours, distribution and cognate requirements, electives, and any additional requirements for the acquisition or demonstration of competencies or skills such as language or research methods. Discussion should explain how readiness for candidacy will be assessed through written or oral exams, portfolios, or papers, as well as expectations for the dissertation, including other requirements during candidacy such as seminars accompanying dissertation research and writing. Proposed requirements should be compared with those of peer programs. A Ph.D. program may distinguish areas of concentration by designating sub-plans that appear only on the transcript. A detailed discussion must explain the rationale, courses, credit hours, and other requirements for each sub-plan. Proposals should provide a master’s option for successful pre-candidates who leave the program without completing the doctorate. Proposals may also include a stand-alone master’s degree in the same field of study, providing a detailed discussion of the requirements, which should approximate those for students exiting the Ph.D. program with a master’s.

Faculty Resources

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

  • Names, rank and tenure status of faculty who have agreed to serve as regular participants in the new program.
  • Evidence of the commitment by core faculty to provide leadership, to ensure that planned required courses are taught regularly, and to devote time to mentoring and advising.
  • Evidence of funding sufficient to support the faculty time for upholding this commitment.
  • Ph.D. program proposals should include short CVs of participating faculty.

Program Implementation

Proposals should discuss:

  • How the program chair will be selected, how the appointment will be made, and faculty available to provide future leadership.
  • The formation, composition and duties of the faculty program committee.
  • How faculty will be assigned teaching, advising, and other administrative responsibilities.
  • How administrative support will be provided, including support for student services.
  • How faculty will assess program goals, outcomes and quality.

Admissions and Enrollment Planning

Proposals should discuss:

  • Enrollment targets, anticipated application and admissions activity, and desired steady-state cohort size.
  • Application requirements, including credentials incoming students are required or expected to have, and the admissions review and decision-making process.
  • Whether enrollments are expected to be incremental to those in other programs, or if these are expected to have an impact on enrollments in these programs.
  • Measures that actively support the successful recruitment of a diverse pool of graduate students, including students 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:

  • Plans for academic advising, mentoring, annual reviews, and other steps to support degree completion and professional and career preparation.
  • Steps for building and maintaining an inclusive academic community among students and faculty.
  • Measures for ensuring the successful degree completion of students traditionally underrepresented in the program or field.

Finances, Space and Equipment

Proposals should outline funding arrangements to support a program of high quality. Rackham approval does not convey or imply funding for any costs associated with starting or maintaining a new program. Proposals should provide detailed information about:

  • Start-up or bridging costs.
  • Sources for supporting a five-year full-funding model for Ph.D. programs and any funding for a master’s program, as well as anticipated needs and sources of additional funding for dissertation or thesis research required for students to meet program requirements.
  • Administrative funding and other program costs.
  • Specialized equipment or other resources for teaching or research.
  • Space for program administration and operations.
  • Firm commitments from the units that will provide resources to meet transition and ongoing program costs.

Last updated: January 19, 2015 - 9:49am