Substantive Changes

  1. What is a substantive change notice?
  2. What does "prior notice" mean? If I am planning to make a change, when should I notify the Council?
  3. Can I provide the notice of substantive change with another required CEPH report, such as an annual report, interim report or compliance report?
  4. Must the school or program wait for a response from the Council before implementing the change?
  5. When will the school or program receive a response from the Council?
  6. What type of response should the school or program expect?

1. What is a substantive change notice?

A substantive change notice is a document that updates the Council on Education for Public Health of a change or changes that you have made within your accredited school or program.

CEPH’s Accreditation Procedures require that accredited schools and programs provide prior notice to the Council of any substantive change.

You must submit the appropriate form for EACH type of substantive change to submissions@ceph.org. See the full list of changes that would require a substantive change notice and its associated form below.

For PHP & SPH

  • Add an MPH or DrPH; 
    Required form - subchg.addMPHDrPH
  • Suspend or discontinue a degree, concentration area, or student enrollment; 
    Required form - subchg.discontinue
  • Rename a concentration (no curricular changes); 
    Required form - subchg.namechange
  • Add a public health bachelor's degree;
    Required form - subchg.addBSBA
  • Add an academic public health degree; 
    Required form - subchg.addacademic
  • Offer an existing degree at a site distant from the school/program OR offering an existing degree program that differs substantially in mode of delivery; 
    Required form - subchg.distantsite
  • Substantial revision of basic requirements for degree OR substantial change to degree length; 
    Required form - subchg.curricular
  • Major change to mission/vision/values;
    Required form - subchg.administrative
  • Major organizational or administrative change;
    Required form - subchg.administrative
  • For SPH only: Offer a new non-public health degree or concentration OR reactivate a suspended/discontinued non-public health degree or concentration;
    Required form - subchg.other

For SBP

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2. What does "prior notice" mean? If I am planning to make a change, when should I notify the Council?

Schools and programs undertaking changes of the type described in the procedures manual should notify the Council in writing before the change is implemented. In some very rare circumstances, this may not be possible; if this is the case, notify the Council in writing as soon as possible.

In general, curricular changes within universities require multiple levels of approval, and the period before implementation of the change (ie, before advertising a new degree/concentration or enrolling students in the new offering) provides ample time to notify the Council. As a general rule of thumb, provide notice to the Council after a curricular change has been approved through appropriate channels, but before you begin enrolling students.

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3. Can I provide the notice of substantive change with another required CEPH report, such as an annual report, interim report or compliance report?

No. A substantive change notice must be an independent submission and should not be combined with any other required report. Noting a new degree program in an annual report, for example, does not satisfy the school or program’s obligation to provide prior notice to the Council.

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4. Must the school or program wait for a response from the Council before implementing the change?

No. The procedures require prior notice to the Council, not prior approval from the Council. Please note, however, that if a school or program implements a change that the Council later determines may affect its continued compliance with the accreditation criteria, the Council will take appropriate action, as outlined in “Changes that Occur After Award of Accreditation” in the procedures manual.

Consultation with CEPH staff can often prevent the need for additional information or adverse action, but the Council’s official action, not staff opinion, is the final authority for approval of changes undertaken by accredited schools and programs.

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5. When will the school or program receive a response from the Council?

Staff will place your notice on the next meeting for which the docket remains open. The Council and its Executive Committee review substantive change notices throughout the year. You will receive written notice of the Council’s determination within 30 days of the meeting’s completion.

As long as you have submitted the notice in advance of implementing the change, you have satisfied your procedural obligation. The Council’s review and response may occur after the new program has begun.

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6. What type of response should the school or program expect?

In many cases, after review of the notice, the Council acts to accept the substantive change, and the change becomes part of the school or program’s accreditation.

In other cases, the Council may require further information, or, in rare cases, may take other actions if it believes that the change may affect the school or program’s continued compliance with the accreditation criteria. See the procedures manual for additional information on such actions.

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