Academic Program Review

Consistent with Strategic Planning Goals and the expectations of our regional accrediting agency, USD endeavors to strategically impact student learning and success and to model best practices in institutional sustainability and effectiveness.


The University’s academic program review process provides a systematic and continuous means of assuring academic excellence in student learning. It is designed to encourage accountability and dialogue among members within the program under review as a self-reflective, continuous process within the broader institutional and discipline-based contexts. The process is meant to assist programs in understanding their distinctive and collaborative roles within the university community and with relevant external constituents. It provides the foundation for assessing student learning and for making evidence-based plans and decisions to foster improvements at all levels of the institution. Program reviews are integral to planning, resource allocation, and other decision-making within the university. Program review components consist of four sections: Introduction and Context, Evidence of Program Excellence, Program Sustainability and Support, and Program Goals and Planning for Improvement.

The Academic Program Review (APR) is a four-stage process:

  1. Program self-study (with the utilization of data from sources such as IRP and TracDat)
  2. External review team site visit and report
  3. Academic Review Committee (ARC) recommendations
  4. Program's long-term plan and administrative memorandum of understanding (MOU)

Each stage is fully elaborated in USD's Academic Program Review Guidelines. The Academic Review Committee (ARC) meets once or twice per semester to discuss program review materials. Members are chosen by the schools' deans and by the Academic Assembly for the College of Arts and Sciences. 

A number of USD programs undergo programmatic accreditation reviews and site visits from external agencies. For these programs, USD's APR Guidelines for Programs with Accrediting Bodies have been adapted and crosswalks from the programmatic accreditor to the APR have been provided. Finally, several Master's programs are delivered fully online; each of these programs must also undergo a full review using USD's Online Program Review Guidelines.

For all programs, refer to the schedule below available in two formats: