Cohort Special Arrangement Programs

Purpose and characteristics

Cohort Special Arrangement (CSAR) programs are short-term graduate programs established for one or both of the following purposes:

  1. To provide a unique program, not available elsewhere in the University, to a specific group of students
  2. To prototype programs that are being considered for development by an academic unit

CSAR programs can be a master's program, diploma or certificate. They run for a maximum of three years and offer credentials that have already been approved for SFU (e.g. MA, MSc, etc.). Normally, CSAR students are not eligible for awards adjudicated by the Senate Graduate Awards Adjudication Committee.

The essential features of a cohort special arrangement program are that the program has coherence, academic merit, falls outside or between existing programs, and is adequately resourced.

The approval process for a new program is followed once the CSAR program is ready for development, with the exception that the NOI step is not required.

Sample Proposals

Approval Process

  1. Academic unit prepares and approves proposal
  2. Proposal is submitted to Faculty Graduate Studies Committee (FGSC) for approval
  3. The chair of the FGSC sends the proposal to the following for review and comment:
    1. Dean of the Faculty that will house the program, for approval of budget, space and other required resources
    2. Graduate Program Chairs of other faculties ( for evaluation of potential overlap with existing programs/courses
    3. The library (, if new course proposals are part of the package
  4. FGSC submits proposal to Senate Graduate Studies Committee (SGSC) for approval, along with the library report, feedback from other faculties, and confirmation from the Dean of the home faculty*
  5. SGSC submits proposal to Senate Committee on University Prioirties (SCUP) and Senate for information
  6. If necessary the proposal will be submitted to Board of Governors (BOG) for the approval of fees
*Once a proposal is approved at SGSC, marketing for the program can begin as long as the marketing includes a statement like the following:  "This program has been approved by the Senate Graduate Studies Committee and is currently awaiting final approval from the Board of Governors. We anticipate that this program will be able to commence in September 2015."
NOTE: When a Special Arrangement program is ready for development into a new regular program, the Notice of Intent is not required. Only the Full Program Proposal (FPP) is required for approval. A report detailing the outcome of the program and it's suitability for continuing should be included in the FPP or in the cover memo that is submitted with the FPP. 

Related Senate Documents