Academic Program Approval: Independent, New in Massachusetts, and Out-Of-State Institutions

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The Board of Higher Education (BHE) serves a role of consumer protection for the review and approval of academic programs at independent institutions in Massachusetts. The BHE'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 BHE; rather they are granted the authority to award degrees in accordance with the Code of Massachusetts Regulations (610 CMR 2.00).

Program Review Processes

Independent institutions of higher education (for-profit, non-profit and out-of-state institutions seeking to operate in Massachusetts) seeking initial degree-granting authorization, new degree authority, degree title changes or institutional name changes after 1943 must submit a petition to the BHE.

The application template and process used is dependent on several factors including, but not limited to the institution’s accreditation status; whether it is seeking initial degree-granting authority or approval for an additional degree(s) under its existing degree-granting authority; and whether the program is closely related to an existing program already offered by the institution.

Whom should I contact about Program Review?

Institutions may contact Department of Higher Education (DHE) program review staff at

Note: All application materials should be submitted in the DHE’s EDvera portal. Please do not mail program review applications to the DHE unless instructed to do so by DHE staff.

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