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Queen's University



A program is a coherent whole composed of a set of articulated and integrated courses or other learning activities considered mandatory for obtaining a particular degree.

New Program

A ‘new program’ is brand new:  that is to say, the program has substantially different program requirements and substantially different learning outcomes from those of any existing approved programs offered by Queen’s.  Examples of what constitutes a ‘new program’ are provided in the COU Council on Quality Assurance Guide

Minor Modifications

Minor modifications are defined as small changes to a program for clarification purposes or to offer greater detail; these do not change the essence of a program or the learning expectations (DLEs).  According to correct practice, minor modifications for undergraduate programs are approved by their respective faculty boards and/or curriculum committees.  Minor modifications to graduate programs are approved by the relevant Faculty Board(s) where required as per the relevant regulations of each Faculty (School) Graduate Council (Committee) and the Graduate Studies Executive Council (GSEC).

Minor modifications include (but are not limited to) changes to:

  • Descriptions of a program or course; 
  • Course prerequisites;
  • List of compulsory and optional courses;
  • Renaming a field in a graduate program.

Major Modifications

A major modification to a program is a change that has a substantial effect in altering the program.  To be considered a major modification, a proposed change must modify the program’s conceptual or structural foundations as they were approved by Senate.  Major modifications in most cases would be subject to the Expedited Approvals process (see below). 

Major modifications include (but are not necessarily limited to):

  • The requirements for the Program differ significantly from those existing at the time of the previous cyclical review (e.g. admission, graduation requirements);
  • There are significant changes to the DLEs and outcomes but they do not meet the threshold for a “brand” new program;
  • There is the addition of a new field;
  • There are significant changes to the Program structure (e.g. a substantive change in 40% or more of the required workload of the Program);
  • There are significant changes to the faculty engaged in delivering the Program and/or to the essential physical resources, including but not limited to changes to the existing mode(s) of delivery (e.g. different campus, online, inter-institutional collaborations, etc.).

Where there is any uncertainty about whether a proposed change should be considered a minor or major modification, academic Units should consult with the Provost and/or Vice-Provost and Dean of the School of Graduate Studies (as appropriate), who have the responsibility for making this determination. 

Expedited Approvals

The distinguishing features of the Expedited Approval process are that external consultants nor does the Proposal Brief have to be approved by QC. 

Situations where an Expedited Approval process could be implemented include (but are necessarily not limited to):

  • Proposal for a new collaborative, combined, or graduate dual Program;
  • Proposal for a new for-credit graduate diploma; or
  • Major modifications (as defined above) to existing programs.

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