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Program Reviews & Assessments

Addressing opportunity gaps and program learning outcomes


As part of the continuing, critical analyses of academic programs and student learning at UC San Diego, the Academic Senate performs scheduled program reviews to ensure superior educational quality throughout the campus. Alongside educational quality, comes the University's goal to eliminate equity gaps, and to significantly increase rates of on-time graduation. Assessment is at the forefront of this mission, and a necessary practice to achieving these goals.


Program reviews are a requirement for all colleges, departments and programs. The review cycle is initiated every 7 years and consists of data collection, a self-study, and a site visit. A review committee will examine the self-study, engage with various members of the campus community (e.g., program and college advisors, program faculty, teaching assistants, students, etc.), and submit a report on the review. 


While program review occurs every seven years, departments are routinely engaged in a process of assessment for continuous improvement. During program review, units are asked to report on program learning outcomes as well as descriptions of curricular improvements introduced in response to those findings. Academic units (colleges, departments, and programs) may move through the assessment cycle at different rates, nevertheless, it is recommended that units complete two full assessment 'cycles' (see below) during the period between each 7-year program review.



An assessment cycle will consist of the following:


 Department / Program Assessment Activities
 Campus Resources
Year 0*/Year 4: Identify Priorities and Monitor Progress
 Step 1: Convene faculty to review most recent self-study
 Step 2: Draft or revise Outcomes Inventory 
 Step 3: Draft or revise Curriculum Map
Year 1/Year 5: Plan Assessment Study
 Step 1: Convene faculty to clarify study goals 
 Step 2: Identify learning outcome(s) under review
 Step 3: Draft plan 
 Step 4: Submit plan
 View plan examples (coming soon)
Year 2/ Year 6: Implement Assessment Study
 Step 1: Convene faculty to review plan
 Step 2: Implement
 Step 3: Submit progress report
 View progress report examples (coming soon)
Year 3/ Year 7: Act on Findings
 Step 1: Convene faculty to review assessment results
 Step 2: Take action  
 Step 3: Submit final report 
 View final report examples (coming soon)
 *Year 0 is the year in which departments undergo program review.

Assessment Resources and Consultation Services

The Teaching + Learning Commons (  is available to support assessment activities at the course and program levels. 

Course Level Assessment

The Commons are available to consult with individual instructors regarding their course assessment. Expertise and recommendations can focus on the following topics: 

  • Developing course learning outcomes
  • Aligning course learning outcomes with course assessment
  • Designing rubrics for assessing projects, papers and presentations
  • Developing survey questionnaires to collect students’ feedback, perceptions and self-assessment of learning outcomes
  • Conducting classroom observations
  • Conducting student focus groups
  • Designing and administering online mid-term course evaluations
  • Organizing and interpreting assessment results

Program Level Assessment

The Commons is available to collaborate with departments and academic programs on conducting program assessment. Expertise and recommendations can focus on the following topics: 

  • Developing and revising an assessment plan
  • Aligning program learning outcomes with courses by developing a curriculum map
  • Selecting or developing assessment instruments (e.g., surveys, focus group protocols)
  • Conducting student focus groups
  • Organizing and interpreting assessment results

The assessment of program learning outcomes is also an important aspect of our accreditation. UC San Diego is accredited by the regional accreditor "WASC Senior College and University Commission" (WSCUC). To learn more about the university's accreditation, visit

Funding Support

Assessment Grants may be available this year- please check back for updates about funding.