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Academic Program Approval: Independent and Out-Of-State Institutions

The Board of Higher Education serves a role of consumer protection and licensing for the approval of academic programs as independent institutions. The Board of Higher Education's authority and procedures apply to institutions of higher education chartered after 1943 and/or institutions that changed their charters after 1943.

Independent institutions of higher education are not licensed by the Board; rather they are granted the authority to award degrees in accordance with the Code of Massachusetts Regulations.

Streamlined Program Review Policy for Massachusetts Institutions

On May 6, 2014, the Board of Higher Education (BHE) voted to institute a new streamlined process for review and approval of new academic programs offered by Massachusetts independent institutions that meet certain criteria. The new policy significantly reduces the time and cost of program approval for eligible institutions, while still meeting the BHE’s legislative mandate to ensure minimal quality standards. The policy provides for two paths to approval:

Questionnaire for Online/Hybrid Programs

Out-of-state institutions interested in offering online/hybrid programs in Massachusetts, please start with the DHE’s new questionnaire, found here.

By completing the questionnaire, you will be provided with information about whether or not the institution’s degree program requires approval, how to apply for approval, and who to contact at the Department if you should require additional information.

Related Links
Academic program approval for public institutions
Independent and out-of-state institutions under Board of Higher Education purview

610CMR 2:00 Degree-Granting Regulations for Independent Institutions of Higher Education


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