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P-3 Curricular Program Prospectus submission form. For assistance see the CIM site.

P-3 proposals are the basis of the administrative review and approval process that:

P-3 proposals must be preceded by submission of an ACUE Curricular Program Prospectus. Following the completion of the prospectus process, a P-3 proposal may be submitted by the academic unit to the Office of Undergraduate Education.

P-3 Principles

One or more colleges or campuses may be authorized to offer degree programs. This authorization has sometimes been referred to as an academic program partnership or an extended program. The Provost is responsible for administratively authorizing the moving, sharing, and discontinuance of academic sponsorship of existing degree programs for all colleges and campuses. The University Faculty Senate does not take part in this authorization.

Three types of agreements may occur:

  1. Joint partnership or consortia in which, in addition to the original sponsoring college or campus, one or more additional colleges or campuses are also awarded authority to offer the existing program. Graduates in these programs belong to and are certified for graduation by the college or campus in which they are enrolled.
  2. Handoff agreement in which the authority to offer an academic program is transferred from one college and/or campus to another. Here, the originating college withdraws its academic authority for a program and another college/campus or group of colleges/campuses is awarded authority in its place.
  3. Extended program agreements are those in which the sponsoring college or campus extends a program to an additional campus or campuses where only the originating college or campus has the authority to award the program degree. Extended programs include:
    • programs offered through the World Campus and/or Continuing Education because these delivery units do not have academic authority independent of an academic unit;
    • circumstances where specialized licensing and/or accreditation requirements are involved, such as Nursing programs, in which the originating college retains the academic authority.

A college or campus must submit a P-3 proposal that includes endorsement from both the extending college and the unit(s) at which the extended degree will be offered to the Office of Undergraduate Education. If the extending college does not endorse the P-3 proposal, the Office of Undergraduate Education may authorize a joint partnership or consortium, handoff agreement, or extended program agreement. All proposals originating from a Commonwealth Campus must include a memo of endorsement from the Office of the Vice President of Commonwealth Campuses.

In every case in which a program is transferred or shared, every effort must be made to insure curricular integrity by minimizing the number of core course substitutions at the newly offering campus or college. Disciplinary communities are nonetheless encouraged to consider the development of program options beyond the core that reflect local expertise, student demand, and market need. In all instances, colleges or campuses adopting programs through the P-3 process are subject to the originating program's entrance requirements. When those requirements are amended, they are amended for all colleges operating under the original P-1 and for all colleges delivering under the authority of P-3.

Deans or chancellors retain the authority to move a degree program within a college or campus without initiating the P-3 process. When such actions are taken, the college must notify the Office of Undergraduate Education, which will then inform other offices as appropriate.

P-3 Review and Approval Process:

The process for moving/sharing/discontinuing degree programs among colleges and campuses should begin in the academic unit and adhere to the processes required by that unit. Once unit approval is obtained, the steps listed below must be taken. Proposal approval times may vary based on unit requirements, consultation, and committee meeting schedules; therefore, these steps should be initiated at least one year in advance of the desired changes.

P-3 Proposal Elements

After the P-3 prospectus has been discussed at ACUE, a memo will be issued from the Office of Undergraduate Education authorizing the P-3 proposal process to begin. The P-3 proposal must include the following:

  1. A statement of clear, measurable and rigorous program objectives and learning outcomes.
  2. Relationship of proposal to university and college mission.
  3. Program quality indicators such as:
    1. On-going involvement of a minimum of three or more full-time faculty aligned academically and disciplinarily with the program. These faculty may be located at a single campus, or in the case of shared programs, across multiple campus locations;
    2. Program leadership by senior-level faculty;
    3. Ability to move student program cohorts through in a timely manner;
    4. Availability of a sufficient number of program electives within the discipline and in supporting area of study;
    5. University-wide curricular integrity that includes disciplinary community engagement and the avoidance of curricular drift;
    6. Ability to minimize the need for core course substitutions and explicit rationale for, and justification of, necessary core substitutions.
  4. Impact on Penn State college and campus enrollments and flow of students among campuses.
  5. Market need and demand documented by current, valid, and reliable evidence.
  6. Physical and fiscal resource availability (please include the official University Budget Office costing analysis form as well as other relevant information).
  7. Strategic and academic approval and support demonstrated by the signature of the appropriate chancellor and/or dean.
  8. Disciplinary community and administrative consultation (see Curricular Consultation Statement in the Faculty Senate Guide to Curricular Procedures).
  9. Signed Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) of all parties (when applicable). An MOU is typically required for a joint partnership or consortia, and it typically includes items related to administration of the program, teaching assignments, and exit strategies.

P-3 Program Probationary Review

Four years after a program has been authorized for delivery by an additional campus/college or through World Campus or Continuing Education through a P-3 process, a program review will be conducted.

The additional location offering the program will provide evidence to the authorizing college or campus and to the Office of Undergraduate Education that the following criteria are being achieved:

  1. Adequate faculty and staff resources exist.
  2. The program aligns with university and unit missions.
  3. Market need and demand exists to maintain sufficient student enrollments.
  4. Students are able to maintain timely academic progress.
  5. Adequate equipment, library and information technology resources, clinical and cooperative arrangements, or other special facilities exist.
  6. Adequate financial resources have been established to assure program continuation.
  7. Assessment data indicate that students are achieving the program's learning objectives.

The Provost may, through the Office of Undergraduate Education, end the P-3 probationary period by granting a joint partnership or handoff agreement to the unit(s); or the Provost may, based upon an unsatisfactory evaluation of the reviewed criteria, require the P-3 offering to be phased out; or conditions may be established, including a limited time period to complete them, that must be met to avoid P-3 program phase out.

The year four review of extended programs triggers an additional set of questions and possible administrative responses. Assuming a positive evaluation of criteria 1-7 above (and/or other review criteria as appropriate), a determination will be made by the Office of Undergraduate Education in consultation with the authorizing college and the delivering unit as to whether (a) extended status should be continued or (b) extended status will be replaced by joint partnership or handoff agreement. The decision will include elements such as licensing, accreditation rules, and other unique circumstances.

If the extended status is maintained, the next consideration of extended status will take place four years hence.

If the authorizing college determines that an extended status should be ended and that the program should not be continued by the delivering unit, then the college will work in consultation with the Office of Undergraduate Education and the delivering unit to phase out the program at that location through the P-3 process.

Approved: ACUI (10-25-79) 
Approved: Provost Eddy (12-5-79) 
Approved: Provost Brighton (8-25-97) 
Approved: Provost Erickson (9-20-00) 
Revised: Editorial (4-18-06) 
Revised: ACUE (3-1-07)
Revised: ACUE (2-7-08)
Revised: ACUE (4-2-09)
Revised: ACUE (9-2-10) 
Revised: ACUE (4-7-11) 
Revised: ACUE (7-7-11)
Revised: ACUE (12-6-12)
Revised: ACUE (11-7-13)
Revised: ACUE (11-6-14)
Revised: ACUE (10-5-17)