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, Course Design, and State Authorization to discuss enrollment goals, market analysis, program course design desires and examples, and plans to expand the program beyond Ohio (if applicable). 
  4. Learn about the differential tuition approval process (if applicable).
  5. 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.
  3. Submit your proposal, along with your completed OTDI MOU, 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 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 OTDI 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 program's 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.