Effective Date:
September 10, 1976
Revised Date:
January 1998
Review Date:
Approving Body:
Council on Post-Secondary Education
Vice-President (Academic) and Provost
Applies to:
All Staff


The purpose of this document is to outline the policies, procedures and guidelines governing the submission of proposals for new programs by Manitoba's universities and community colleges to the Council on Post-Secondary Education.

Section 14(2) of "The Council on Post-Secondary Education Act" states: A university or college that wishes to establish...a program of study, service or facility involving money at the disposal of the council shall first obtain the council's written approval.

Section 14(3) of the "Act" outlines the terms and conditions of these powers: After advising the minister, the council may grant an approval under subsection (2) for a limited period or may impose other terms and conditions on an approval, and a university or college shall comply with any terms and conditions that are imposed.

The program approval process for Manitoba's post-secondary institutions outlined in this document consists of a two-step process: a statement of intent and a formal program proposal. Institutions may submit to the Council statements of intent for proposed programs at any point in time.

It must be stressed that while this document outlines a particular set of mechanisms that institutions will be expected to follow in seeking approval for new programs, the Council recognizes the need for flexibility throughout the process. Particular factors such as the type of institution submitting a proposal (for example, a college versus a university; the size and mission of the institution), the nature of the proposed program (a professional program versus a university undergraduate Arts and Science program), as well as other mitigating factors (such as the need to respond quickly to a newly-emerged labour market need) will be considered by the Council in its deliberations. As such, the program approval process contained in this document should be viewed as an ideal template rather than a rigid set of conditions that must be met in every single instance.

Definiton of Terms Used in the Program Approval Process

An Institution refers to any post-secondary education institution in Manitoba. This would include the province's four universities - Brandon University, The University of Manitoba, The University of Winnipeg and Université de Saint-Boniface- as well as Manitoba's three community colleges - Keewatin Community College, Assiniboine Community College, and Red River Community College.

A Program refers to a group of credit courses that leads to the granting of a degree, diploma or certificate for which a unique credential is awarded by a university or college in Manitoba.

A New Program is a program that is newly established and implemented by a Manitoba post-secondary institution, or one that contains significant modifications (for example, a program for which a new credential is awarded) from a pre-existing program.

Credentials are diplomas, certificates, degrees and other types of official recognition awarded to students by an institution at its discretion, and in accordance with provincial and institutional legislation. Credentials also include official recognition for other achievements, such as the completion of one phase of a transfer program which must be finished at another institution.

General Guidelines

The program approval process provides a means by which the need for a particular program, at both the institutional and systemic levels, can be determined by the Council. To this end, it is intended to be a mechanism for avoiding unnecessary duplication across the post-secondary system. A standardized approval process also ensures that institutions are treated fairly, and that new programs are implemented at institutions which can offer them in an efficient and effective manner.

Duplication is contingent upon evolving knowledge and changing societal needs. Therefore, criteria for evaluating duplication will vary in time and context.

The program approval process outlined in this document is to be followed for all new programs involving monies at the disposal of the Council. This includes both new monies given to institutions, as well as existing monies provided through current operating grants.

1. Each post-secondary institution is responsible for preparing its program proposals and for ensuring that the criteria for the program approval process as outlined in Appendices A and B have been met. For joint programs (programs to be offered by two or more institutions), a joint submission is sufficient.

2. Due consideration should be given to consulting with other post-secondary institutions in Manitoba early in the development of any proposal. The aims of these consultations should be to foster joint and cooperative arrangements, to explore credit transfer possibilities, and to avoid unnecessary duplications in programming.

3. Institutions seeking permission to establish a new program will be required to submit a statement of intent to the Council. If the statement of intent is approved, the institution will then be requested to submit a full program proposal.

4. A program proposal approved by the Council does not necessarily guarantee funding for that program.

5. The Council may impose terms and conditions on any program approval. It will be the responsibility of the proposing university or college to comply with these requirements.

6. All proposed credit programs are subject to the provisions of this policy. This policy will be reviewed periodically as determined by the Council.

Guidelines for Submitting a Statement of Intent

1. The statement of intent serves to advise the Council of an institution's desire to establish a particular program. (See note re Statement of Intent Form.)

2. The statement of intent should be submitted to the Chair of the Council by the president of the institution, or the rector in the case of the Université de Saint-Boniface.

3. A formal program proposal will be considered by the Council only on the condition of prior approval of the statement of intent.

4. The statement of intent should include the following information:

(a) a description of the proposed program;

(b) a tentative implementation schedule;

(c) preliminary enrolment estimates;

(d) preliminary estimates of annual operating and capital costs required to implement the program (preferably for each year of the program during the implementation period);

(e) where possible, demonstration of market need and market demand for the program for the first 3 to 5 years;

(f) other institutions offering this kind of program;

(g) an outline of which agencies, organizations, institutions or groups may be consulted in the development of the formal program proposal.

5. In its review of the statement of intent, the Council may request further information from the proposing institution for the purposes of clarification.

6. The Council will respond to the statement of intent in one of the following ways:

(a) approve the statement of intent and authorize the institution to directly proceed with the development of a formal program proposal;

(b) reject the statement of intent and give reasons therefore; or,

(c) place approval of the statement of intent on hold until a future point in time.

7. If the Council rejects a statement of intent, it shall be prepared to receive a written appeal. The proposing institution will then have 30 days within which to appeal in writing to the Council as a whole.

8. Unless further information is required, the statement of intent process will require approximately 60 days from the date of submission to the Council.

Guidelines for Submitting a Formal Program Proposal

1. Formal program proposals shall be developed only if the statement of intent has been approved by the Council. Formal program proposals shall be submitted to the Chair of the Council by the president of the proposing institution or the rector of Université de Saint-Boniface within 6 months from the date of the approval of the statement of intent. (See note re Program Proposal Form.)

2. The Council will respond to the formal program proposal in one of the following ways:

(a) approve the program proposal;

(b) reject the program proposal;

(c) conditionally approve the program proposal subject to completion of specific requirements and/or receipt of further information; or

(d) place approval of the program proposal on hold until a future point in time.

3. Should the Council decide not to approve a formal program proposal, the reasons for doing so will be provided to the institution submitting the proposal.

4. If the Council rejects a formal program proposal, the proposing institution may appeal the decision in writing to the Council within 30 days.

5. Where, in the opinion of the Council, the proposal involves a major, high cost program, it may be forwarded for comment to post-secondary institutions in other provinces. This process could require additional time beyond the time frames proposed in this document.

6. Notwithstanding point 5, the formal program approval process will require approximately 60 days from the date of submission of a complete proposal to the Council.

Note: The Statement of Intent Form and the form for a formal Program Proposal can be obtained from the office of the Vice-President (Academic) and Provost.