Program Development and Revision

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To assist schools looking to revamp their current programs and/or launch a new program that reflect the Master’s Essentials, the following recommended steps have been developed to help faculty navigate this process. Key planning approaches are offered in the areas of market analysis, initiating change, identifying barriers and facilitators, approvals, marketing, faculty and staff development, program implementation, and evaluation.

Tips for Planning MSN Curricular Changes [PDF]

Estimating Costs for a New Academic Programs

Below are some of the expense categories to consider when estimating the costs for a new academic program.  Some of these categories represent annual recurring costs and others represent one-time start up costs that will last some period of time before needing to be replaced or refreshed.  For the one-time costs, for business planning purposes, the expense can be amortized across the number of years of expected useful life for the item.

Many of these expense categories (including department administration, financial and administrative support, dean’s office, institutional support, etc.) represent expenses that the school already has, but it is important to consider whether there is an incremental cost associated with the development and launch of a new program or what approximate portion of the current cost should be allocated to the new program.  For example, the school might already have a development and alumni relations team but with the launch of a new program, there might be additional support required to raise money to support scholarships for that program and to oversee alumni relations for the new program’s graduates.  Alternatively, the incremental cost might be able to be absorbed within the existing resource levels but a certain percentage of the existing resources should be allocated to the new program for purposes of determining the full cost of the program

Annual Recurring Costs:

  • Faculty salaries and benefits for course delivery, advising, and related responsibilities, including full-time faculty as well as part-time or adjunct faculty
  • Tutorial/remedial costs for students, including teaching assistants, etc.
  • Program administration:
    • Academic Affairs Dean and Program Director salary and benefits
    • Staff to the program director (salary and benefits)
    • Clinical placement administration, including staff resources for identifying and evaluating placement sites as well as contract administration
    • Supplies and services (copiers, phones, etc.) for the program administration staff
  • Department administration to support and oversee the faculty required to teach in the program (if applicable):
    • Department chair salary and benefits
    • Department staff salary and benefits
    • Supplies and services (copiers, phones, etc.) for the department staff and faculty
  • IT and multimedia costs to support the faculty and students in the program
    • Might include instructional design, online course support, and distance learning infrastructure needs as well as help desk support
  • Student services (staff salary and benefits, and supplies)
    • Admissions
    • Financial aid
    • Registrar
    • Student accounts
    • Advising, career services, and other student support services
  • Funding for financial aid and scholarships
  • Marketing and promotion
    • Staff salaries, benefits, and supplies
    • Vendor costs for ad placement and related services
  • Development and Alumni Relations (staff salary, benefits, and supplies)
  • Indirect cost for:
    • Space (square footage, utilities, maintenance and repair, custodial, insurance, security, etc.)
    • Financial and administrative support (business services, human resources, payroll, purchasing, contract/legal services, etc.)
    • School administration
    • Institutional support 
  • Regulatory cost such as for government/commissioning body approvals, accreditation, etc.
  • Library, clinical lab, educational materials resources, and expenses
  • Development of the curriculum and courses
  • Faculty development
  • Special events (graduation, etc.) and extracurricular expenses to support student needs
  • Housing and auxiliary services such as food services, fitness, health services, etc.

One-Time or Start-Up Costs:

  • Furniture and equipment for the program administration staff
  • Furniture and equipment for the department staff (if applicable)
  • Furniture and equipment for staff in student services,
  • Distance learning infrastructure (equipment)

Budget Template: Responsibility cost management model [PDF]