New York State Registration

Once a proposal for a new joint degree program has received all of the necessary University approvals and the external evaluation(s), if required, have been received, the Vice Provost for Academic Programs sends it to the New York State Education Department (NYSED) for review. 

Within the NYSED, proposals for new educational programs are reviewed by one of two offices, depending on the fields in which they educate students.  The Office of the Professions is responsible for reviewing programs in most fields in which the State issues licenses. Currently, it approves new programs, with the exception of those leading to the Ph.D., in the following fields in which the University currently educates students:

     Architecture     Accounting     Dental Medicine
     Engineering     Landscape Architecture     Medicine
     Mental Health     Nursing     Nutrition
     Occupational Therapy     Physical Therapy     Social Work

It also evaluates programming in other fields leading to a license.  A complete list of its areas of responsibility is available on-line at

When the Columbia portion of a joint degree program is in another field or leads to the Ph.D. programs, it is approved by the Office of College and University Evaluation (OCUE).

In a joint degree program, some courses typically count toward both degrees, thereby reducing the total number of credits its students must complete. Any reduction in the Columbia requirements might affect the eligibility of students to sit for a licensing exam within New York, especially when the partner institution is located in another state or abroad.  Therefore, a school that wishes to create a new joint degree program in a field for which the Office of the Professions conducts the NYSED review should inform the Vice Provost of its intentions early in the program’s development.  The Vice Provost will forward that information to the Office of the Professions for its advice. 

The Office of the Professions and OCUE each require the use of a distinctive set of forms for applications to establish a new degree or certificate program or to modify an already registered program.  Schools can access the forms they should use by clicking on the link below.  

        NYSED Program Proposal Forms

Applications for new programs are entered through the Academic Program Approval System (APAS). Please contact the Office of the Vice Provost for Academic Programs (OVPAP) at or (212) 854-2691 for access to APAS. Given the substantial number of possible permutations in State forms, schools should contact OVPAP for guidance on which ones to use before starting to fill them out.

NYSED can take a year or more to review and approe programs. Therefore, the earlier a proposal is ready for review, the greater the chances are that it will receive State approval in time to begin advertising/recruiting for the new program on the desired date.