Middle States Approval

The University is accredited every ten years by the Middle States Commission on Higher Education.  Midway through each cycle, the Commission conducts a further evaluation to determine if the accreditation should be reaffirmed for the remaining five years. If the University makes any significant changes in its programming in between these reviews, it is obligated to seek the Commission's approval before putting them into effect.

The Commission defines the type of programmatic changes that require its review in a document entitled Substantive Change Policy Statement.  While the policy statement describes all of the actions that might trigger a substantive change review, there are two types that are most likely to require the Commission's approval. These typically occur when a school is seeking to create collaborative programs with other universities, especially in other countries:

Departments and schools interested in creating degree and certificate programs with other educational institutions should contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Programs (OVPAP) at ovpap@columbia.edu or (212) 854-2691 to determine if the Middle States Commission needs to review its plans.  When the Commission's approval is required, the originating unit should prepare a proposal that follows the guidelines included in the Substantive Change Policy Statement. That proposal differs in content and form from the one that must be prepared for the University Senate and the New York State Education Department. Please contact OVPAP to confirm if Middle States approval is required.