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Graduate Academic Program Self Review

Owned by the Academic DepartmentsSupported by the Graduate School

Owned by the Academic Departments
Supported by the Graduate School

Welcome to Clemson University’s graduate academic program self review webpage.

The purpose of graduate academic program self (GAPS) review at Clemson University is to:

  • support program faculty’s leadership and interest in continuous improvement in graduate program quality and effectiveness;
  • help departments/units and programs identify areas for further development as well as opportunities to redirect or generate additional resources to support that development;
  • achieve the University’s, the Provost’s, and the Graduate School’s shared visions for continuing and growing excellence in graduate education aligned with University-wide strategic initiatives;
  • stimulate systematic review, self-analysis, planning, assessment, documentation, and improvement to the quality and effectiveness of Clemson’s graduate academic programs;
  • encourage partnerships and increased communication and insight among program faculty and department, college, and university administration regarding graduate programs’ strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats, and quality assurance plans, strategies, and outcomes;
  • facilitate internal and external input and recommendations relative to graduate degree program quality, planning, and assessment; and
  • provide assurance of program quality to all stakeholders, including faculty, administration, current students, alumni, state legislature, state CHE, and SACSCOC and other professional accrediting bodies.

program review cycleThe full review (eight-year cycle) consists of the submission of a comprehensive self-study, internal review of the self-study, a three-day on-site external panel review, and action planning and assessment aligned with other University efforts, such as annual program assessment coordinated through Clemson’s Office for Institutional Assessment; ClemsonForward, Clemson’s 10-year strategic plan; and relevant College/School, Department/Unit, and Program documents and efforts/activities. A mid-cycle review (year four) provides an opportunity for examination of progress made toward program outcomes and goals as well as graduate student learning outcomes and goals, analysis of trends in metrics collected during the prior three to four years, and modification of goals and strategies where appropriate.

GAPS reviews are coordinated through the office of the Dean of the Graduate School with authority delegated by the Provost. The Graduate School:

  • provides oversight of the process;
  • invites external reviewers when appropriate;
  • coordinates site visits; and
  • determines, with input from graduate program coordinators, department chairs, and college administration, when program review documents are final.

You can find the proposed schedule for GAPS review at the link below. If you are scheduled for GAPS review within the next year or two, please contact to schedule a kickoff/informational meeting with your team.

Useful review tools

Proposed GAPS Review Schedule
GAPS Review Guidelines
Request for Abbreviated Review
Self-Study Template — for Year 6, 2022; includes Internal Review questions
External Panel Report Rubric
Action Planning Templates:
  1. Action Plans for Established Programs, Regular GAPS Review
  2. Action Plans for New Programs (optional), Regular GAPS Review
  3. Action Plans for Established Programs Approved for Abbreviated GAPS Review

Contact information

For more information, contact

Cairen Withington, Director of Graduate Program Review and Effectiveness,
or Dr. Brian N. Dominy, Associate Dean of the Graduate School,

Ms. Withington headshot

Cairen Withington

Director of Program Review
and Effectiveness,
the Graduate School


Dr. Dominy headshot

Brian N. Dominy, Ph.D.

Associate Dean
of the Graduate School
for Academic Policy and Program Effectiveness

Dr. Lopes headshot

John M. Lopes, Ph.D.

Associate Provost and Dean
of the Graduate School