Program Planning

Program review and planning assures integrity and accountability of our programs, and promotes continuous institutional improvement. It is an important requirement of the CSU and WASC. The relevant criterion addressing program planning in the WASC Handbook is quoted below:

The institution employs a deliberate set of quality-assurance processes in both academic and non-academic areas, including new curriculum and program approval processes, pe­riodic program review, assessment of student learning, and other forms of ongoing evaluation. These processes include: collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data; tracking learning results over time; us­ing comparative data from external sources; and improving structures, services, processes, curricula, pedagogy, and learning results.

-2013 Handbook of Accreditation, WASC (CFR 4.11)

For more information on WASC activities as SJSU, please visit the SJSU WASC webpage.

At SJSU, program planning is a future-oriented process based on program assessment. Programs use this information to develop five-year action plans guiding decisions in a variety of areas such as curriculum revision and development, scholarship, resource management, faculty and staff hiring, student recruitment and retention, and interaction with the community.

Frequency of Review

Program planning is required for all SJSU programs every five years, or the semester after external accreditation reviews if the cycle is seven years or fewer (Senate Policy F03-4). It is typically done at the department level, but is occasionally 

done on a program, school, or college level depending on unique circumstances. All programs in the unit must be included in the program plan, including baccalaureate degrees, minors, graduate degrees, certificate, and credential programs. The current schedule of program planning due dates can be found here: Program Planning Calendar.

Writing the Program Plan

ProgramPlanning Process

Please refer to the Program Planning Template

(docx) for the required format and instructions for writing the program plan itself.  If the program has any GE courses, a 

Program Review of GE is also required according to Senate Policy S14-5 (click here for specific GE guidelines for Program 

Review). If the program has certificate programs, they are subject Senate Policy S13-10.  If an undergraduate program has more than 120 units, an application for the 120 unit exception is required (Senate Policy S01-5). The completed program plan must be submitted to and approved by the dean of the host college, and then submitted to


External Review

A list of three qualified external reviewers is submitted to, and the visit is scheduled and coordinated. Further details are found on the GUP External Reviewer webpage. This step is not required for programs that are externally accredited and have already undergone external review. The external review typically takes at least a semester, so please schedule accordingly.  The external reviewer's report, along with rebuttals, if any, are submitted to

PPC Review

The documentation up until this point undergoes review by the Program Planning Committee (PPC). The PPC prepares the Letter to the Provost summarizing key points of the documentation and appends the committee evaluation and recommendations.    

Action Plan and Meeting With Provost

The last step in the process is to schedule a meeting with the department, dean, GUP, Academic Budget and Planning and the provost to discuss results of the program planning process and the action plan for the department. The Letter to the Provost will form the basis of discussion.  The program planning process concludes when the action plan identifying the top 3-5 priorities with milestones and timeline are agreed upon by all parties.  what to expect

The Program Planning Checklist can help departments manage what steps to work through during the Program Planning Process.


The responsibility for the program plan belongs to the department chair. The chair may delegate the responsibility as he/she sees fit. Assigned time of 0.2 from GUP is available for one faculty member in the department/unit during the semester the program plan is being written. Chairs can request the departments 0.2 release by completing the Program Planning Release Time Request.

Submission and Communications

The submission of the program plan to the dean and all resulting feedback and communication from the dean, external reviewer, and the department are to be sent via email with the appropriate attachments and links. Please cc on all emails pertaining to submission of program planning documents.

Extension Requests

The first Program Planning Extension Requests on program plans for one semester are automatically granted by the PPC if approved by the dean. Additional requests will be forwarded to the AVP of GUP for approval.  Extension dates are adjusted on the program planning calendar once the request has been approved.

Other Resources