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The self-study phase includes inquiry, data analysis, and self-reflection, which culminate in a self-study document that summarizes key findings and insights. This phase is faculty-led and should involve the entire program faculty, as well as invite input from other stakeholders such as students, alumni, administration, etc. 

Self-Study Template (.doc)
Graduate Self-Study Template (.doc)

Reviewer Nominations

Review teams are generally comprised of two external and one internal reviewers (from a different college than that of the program under review), and nominations are submitted to the Dean’s Office via the reviewer nomination form (.doc). It is the Dean’s responsibility to determine the final make-up of the review team. Once reviewers are identified, formal invitations are sent to the selected reviewers either by the college or department.  

Honoraria and Other Costs

The college is responsible for the payment of all expenses associated with the site visit, including reviewer travel and honoraria. External reviewers are typically paid $1,000 (exclusive of approved travel expenses). Although serving as an internal reviewer is considered university service for Cal Poly faculty members, a modest stipend of $500 is recommended for internal reviewers.

Completing the Self-Study

Development of the self-study typically occurs over the course of one academic year with the peer review/site visit occurring the following year.  In addition to the standard self-study topics, programs also address the current university theme (diversity and inclusion), CSU theme (Graduation Initiative 2025), and an optional program selected theme. More information on these themes can be found in Section VI of the self-study template

Site Visit Details

Selecting Dates: The site visit generally occurs over two days.  Early in the self-study process, the department should coordinate with the Dean’s Office and Academic Programs and Planning to select dates for the site visit.  The department will ensure reviewer availability on the selected dates.

Logistics: Coordination of logistics for the site visit, including any travel or lodging arrangements, scheduling meetings, reserving rooms, etc. is the responsibility of the department. One notable exception is the coordination of the required entrance and exit meetings, which are scheduled in collaboration with the office of Academic Programs and Planning. Departments should submit a draft itinerary to the associate dean and the office of Academic Programs and Planning for input prior to sending the finalized itinerary to the review team. A sample on-campus site visit itinerary (.doc) has been developed to assist with planning. Contact Angela Standifer ( for a sample virtual site visit itinerary.

Review Team Communication: Approximately one month prior to the site visit, Academic Programs and Planning will send reviewers an official welcome email, which will include a copy of the self-study and guiding questions for the team. 


QUESTIONS?  If you have questions about any aspect of program review, please contact Angela Standifer,

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