Online Program Development Process

This list outlines what steps colleges take and what approvals must be secured to create a distance education program at Ohio State.


  1. Meet with OTDI to discuss your proposed program and enrollment goals, learn about OTDI services available for online programs, discuss approval and development process, and identify next steps.
  2. Meet with your department and college curricular dean or chair and committee to discuss expectations and deadlines for proposal review and course changes upon program approval.
  3. Meet with OTDI marketing and your college marketing director to discuss enrollment goals and marketing plan. If applicable, complete our market research request form, so we may gather market data for your proposed program.
  4. Meet with OTDI fiscal and your college fiscal officer to discuss and understand the distance education budget model. Learn about the differential tuition approval process if it applies to your program.
  5. Familiarize yourself with state authorization.
  6. Review Graduate School and/or Council on Academic Affairs (CAA) proposal guidelines and past proposals.

Initial Approvals

  1. Develop and submit your proposal for approval to the appropriate department and college curricular committees.
  2. Complete OTDI's Memorandum of Understanding and budget projection worksheet.
  3. Submit your proposal, OTDI MOU, and budget projection worksheet for approval to the Graduate School and/or CAA.

Course Design and Program Development

This stage takes place after initial approvals are secured.

  1. Meet with OTDI distance education director and relationship strategist to begin course design.
    1. Your courses will be added to our course design schedule at this time. Courses are designed one to two semesters prior to term of offer.
    2. Schedule a follow-up meeting between instructors who will design courses within the online program and the OTDI associate director of course design to familiarize instructors with resources and the course design process.
  2. Submit applicable courses for online delivery and any course revisions to
  3. Meet with OTDI state authorization team to understand the requirements, service, and process for obtaining authorization.
  4. Meet with OTDI marketing to begin development of your customized marketing plan and Ohio State Online web page content.

Final Steps

  1. If applicable, obtain approval from University Senate, Board of Trustees and Ohio Department of Higher Education. (These approvals typically apply to Change of Delivery and New Program proposals.)
  2. Registrar assigns CIP, CPP, and ONL codes to your program.
  3. Create application in partnership with Undergraduate or Graduate Admissions.
  4. After application has been created and is live, OTDI marketing can begin.

Program Administration

  1. Prepare for application reviews, advising, student support, etc.
  2. Admit and enroll students, labeling students in the student information system with the Distance Education (ONL) subplan.
  3. Meet with OTDI for check-in conversation each semester.
  4. Continue to work with OTDI marketing to share data around prospective students, applications, and program goals and needs.

Program Approval Timelines*

  • New Program: 12-18 months
  • Change of Delivery: 9-12 months
  • Certificate: 6-9 months

*These timelines are estimates. There are many factors that can affect a proposal's timeline to approval. Please note that once a program has been approved, it needs to be added to the university’s systems and an application needs to be created. This process is estimated to take anywhere from 4-8 weeks.

Contact us for more information about developing your online program.