Program of Studies Policy

Policy Number: SS-3003-2008
Policy Title: Program of Studies
Policy Owner: Registrar
Effective Date: December 17, 2008
Last Revised: August 23, 2023

On this page:

1. Purpose

This policy provides guidelines with respect to consistent processes, which are required for the development and maintenance of definitive Programs of Studies.  This policy outlines standardized procedures to ensure programs meet and exceed standards and expectations for quality and relevance.

2. Application and Scope

A Program of Studies (POS) is an official list of all the required courses and work integrated learning components (i.e. placement, co-op, capstone projects etc.) across all semesters or levels of an approved degree, diploma, or certificate program. Successful completion of a POS leads to an approved  credential. Consistent processes are required for the development and maintenance of definitive Programs of Studies for full-time and part-time degree, diploma, and certificate programs, and are monitored and managed through  a three-year review cycle in alignment with academic quality and processes (i.e., Program Review).

3. Definitions

“Academic Data Officer (ADO)” means the support staff employee that oversees the academic data associated with the Program of Studies.

“Academic Manager” means the managerial employee who performs administrative duties with oversight of academic activities in each Department or School, typically an Associate Dean.
“Course” means a unit of teaching within a Program of Studies that typically lasts one academic term and covers a specific learning outcome where students receive a grade and academic credit following completion. 

“Credential” means an  awarded Mohawk College degree, diploma, or certificate awarded at Convocation.

“Program” means a group of courses leading to a particular degree, diploma, advanced diploma, certificate, graduate certificate or degree.

“Program Advisory Committee” means a committee who ensures Program Standards are current and relevant to industry, business and sector needs.

“Program of Studies” means an official list of all the required courses and work integrated learning components within all semesters or levels of an approved degree, diploma, or certificate program, successful completion of which leads to a credential.

“Program Standards” means the development and review of standards which ensure the program of studies remain appropriate and relevant to student and employer needs including; Vocational Learning Outcomes (the vocationally specific learning outcomes which apply to a program), Essential Employability Skills (the essential employability skills learning outcomes which apply to all programs), and General Education Requirement (the requirement for general education in postsecondary programs)

“Work Integrated Learning” means a combination of academic study with industry-based work experience which is a mandatory part of program of study.

4. Principles

The College is committed to maintaining a high level of quality vis-à-vis academic programming through consistent and established renewal standards, to exceed ministerial, industry and global benchmarks.

5. Accountability and Compliance

5.1 Accountability Framework

This policy has been approved by the Senior Leadership Team. 

5.2 Compliance

The Registrar oversees the Program of Studies Policy and is responsible for its overall implementation. 

6. Rules

6.1 Development of the POS

  • The process for creating and updating a POS for all active and approved programs, based on current data, will be initiated by the Academic Data Officer (ADO). The ADO has responsibility for the development and maintenance of the POS and for all course data.
  • The POS will be circulated to Academic Managers, with the appropriate course master listing, procedures, and deadlines.
  • The POS will be prepared, submitted and approved at least eight (8) months before a new intake of students.
  • The POS will be reviewed every three (3) years. In consultation with the Academic Manager, the course Academic Manager will make course changes relating to the POS as it pertains to industry needs, program advisory feedback etc., at the time of the review.
  • The Academic Manager will develop a POS in consultation with Academic Quality and the Curriculum and Program Quality Consultants (CPQC) the course Academic Manager who is responsible for the delivery of service courses. The Program Academic Manager is responsible for recommending approval of the POS. SS-3003-2008 Program of Studies
  • Out of cycle requests for POS changes will only be considered where changes are required to meet accreditation requirements, legislative and/or regulatory changes, significant shifts in industry standards or competencies and/or ministry program changes (nomenclature, VLOs, program standards), or college restructure.
    • Academic Managers shall follow the exemption process including completing the form and rationale where consideration for out of cycle POS changes are being requested.
  • The POS will be returned to the ADO with appropriate approvals. The ADO will be authorized to make changes to the POS.
  • The ADO will verify course data information stored within College Systems with the information provided on the POS.

  • The ADO will consult with the appropriate Program and Course Academic Managers and Academic Quality as required.

  • The ADO will be responsible for retaining central files for all POS and POS changes. Where applicable the ADO will monitor and record the cumulative effects of the changes and inform the Program and Course Academic Manager as appropriate.

  • Approved POS information is published on the College web site and other College mediums and in the College reporting tools.

  • When a student’s POS is being reviewed, for example in determining their eligibility to graduate, , the ADO will provide the current POS, and the student’s POS (referred to as the student’s POS version) for consideration by the Program Academic Manager.

  • For a POS program review, the ADO will provide the Program and Course Academic Manager with the current POS. Academic Manager will be responsible for supplying all appropriate course information.

  • The POS will remain constant as per the POS review cycle.

  • The current POS will be referenced when considering student progression.

6.2 Approval of POS

As per the POS review cycle, approvals will be made for the changes below:

6.2.1 Ordinary Changes


Ordinary changes refer to amendments which require few or no additional resources. Requests are considered in consultation with Academic Quality where necessary. Examples of ordinary changes include:

  1. Deletion of an existing course
  2. Addition of a new course
  3. Increase/decrease in hours of instruction
  4. Change to a course title
  5. Change in prerequisites or co-requisites

Following approval, the ADO will arrange distribution; the Program Academic Manager will inform the Program Advisory Committee.

6.2.2 Extraordinary Changes

Extraordinary changes are administered as an Exemption Request form as part of the POS Review Cycle. Examples of extraordinary changes include:

  • Accreditation Requirements
  • Legislative and/or Regulatory Changes
  • Significant Shifts in Industry Standards or Competencies
  • Ministry Program Changes (nomenclature, VLOs, program standards)
  • College Restructure

The Program Academic Manager is responsible for recommendation of approval.

The Program Academic Manager will present the POS to the Program Advisory Committee (PAC). Then they will forward the POS to the Vice President, Academic (or designee) for endorsement of the approval.

Following approval, the ADO will arrange distribution of the POS, which will be referred to as the definitive document.

Current POSs will be available on the Mohawk College website. Historical POS documents can be obtained from the ADO and through College reporting tools.

6.3 Maintenance of the POS

  • The ADO is responsible for maintaining files on course and program information for use by the Registrar’s Office.
  • The ADO will ensure that the Course Master is maintained and that it reflects accurate course data as provided by the Academic Manager. All data pertaining to courses is retained permanently in the master source in College systems.
  • When a course is created on the Course Master by the ADO, only grades with a numerical value as outlined in the Student Evaluation System will be entered. An “R” grade, i.e. “requirements met”, will not be assigned by the ADO unless authorization is received from the Dean, Academic Development.

7. Policy Revision Date

7.1 Revision Date

August 2028

7.2 Responsibility

The Registrar will be responsible for reviewing this Policy every five years or as required. 

8. Attachments

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9. Specific Links

AS-2009-2017 Breadth Policy (Degrees)  

SS-3104-2009 Grading and Transcripts Policy  

AS-2001-2008 Program Advisory Committees Policy  

AS-2004-2007 Program Curriculum Policy

Program Promotion and Graduation Policy

AS-2000-2013 Program Quality Policy

Curriculum and Program Quality Consultants (CPQC)