Academic Affairs Policy Statement No. 1

New Degree or Major Programs

  1. References
    1. Academic Affairs Handbook, Board of Regents, University System of Georgia, July 1987.
    2. Bylaws of the University Council of the University of Georgia, 1988.
    3. Criteria and Procedures for New Programs, Board of Regents, University System of Georgia, updated January 2013.
    4. Last updated April 2019.
  2. Policy
    1. Effective this date and until rescinded, programs of academic work shall not be added to the curriculum of the University of Georgia unless recommended by the University Curriculum Committee in accordance with the Bylaws of the University Council, submitted by the President of the University of Georgia to the Chancellor, and approved by the Board of Regents of the University System. Policy and implementing guidance outlined herein are applicable to all Academic Degree Programs involving 30 hours or more of course work in a field of study. The policy statement may be reproduced for local use. Minor programs (less than 30 hours of course work) and non-degree certificate programs shall be subject to separate policy statements and implementing guidelines. No provisions stated herein are intended to conflict with the Bylaws or the Academic Affairs Handbook.
    2. A formal proposal is required when academic units contemplate adding a new degree or major program to the curricula of the institution. The formal proposal should include the following:
      1. Forecast
      2. Academic Framework
      3. Rationale
      4. Mission Fit and Disciplinary Trends
      5. Description and Objectives
      6. Need
      7. Demand
      8. Duplication
      9. Collaboration
      10. Admission Criteria
      11. Curriculum
      12. Program of Study
      13. Waiver to Degree-Credit Hour Length (if applicable)
      14. Student Learning Outcomes
      15. Assessment
      16. Recruitment and Marketing Plan
      17. Enrollment Projections
      18. Faculty
      19. Fiscal, Tuition, and Estimated Budget
      20. Facilities/Space Utilization
      21. Tuition Differential Application (if applicable)
      22. Letters of Support
    3. Board of Regents' policy states that a baccalaureate degree must contain 120 semester hours (exclusive of physical education activity/basic health or orientation course hours that the institution may require). A baccalaureate degree program must require at least 21 semester hours of upper-division courses in the major field and at least 39 semester hours of upper-division work overall. All majors must be authorized by the Board of Regents. Master’s degrees are established at a maximum of 36 semester hours. Generally, master’s degrees at the university require between 30 and 36 hours. In some cases, exceptions may be made regarding the total number of hours required for a new program. Requests for an exception to offer a program with fewer than 30 hours or
      more than 36 hours will follow the same approval process as the new major proposal, and justification should be provided as part of the proposal.
    4. Any changes above the 120 degree-credit hour maximum for baccalaureate degree programs or the 36 degree-credit hour maximum for master’s degrees must be presented in the form of a request for waiver to degree-credit hour length through the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost with a rationale for such changes. The rationale shall include references to external accrediting body requirements that exacerbate the need and requirement to increase credit hours in a program. Exceptions to degree-credit hour requirements indicated above may be made only with approval of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer of the University System of Georgia.
  3. Responsibility
    1. Faculty
      The responsibility for developing a new degree or major program resides with the faculty in each academic unit; however, only academic programs which promise to contribute to or otherwise enhance the mission of the University of Georgia should be considered for development.
    2. Administrative
      It shall be the responsibility of each school or college to ensure that all proposals receive appropriate faculty review prior to submission to the next higher administrative level. Both the head of the academic unit and the appropriate dean of the school or college submitting a proposal must review all proposals before they are submitted to the next higher administrative level. The Office of Instruction shall be responsible for reviewing proposals and providing any needed internal and external coordination of procedures. This shall include making appropriate recommendations to the Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost and the President of the University on program proposals that are transmitted to the Board of Regents for action. The Office of Instruction shall keep unit (library, institute, department, school, or college) heads informed of the current status of proposals as they move through the review stages required by governance procedures.
    3. Points of Contact
      Academic units contemplating the development of new undergraduate degree or major programs should consult with the Office of Instruction. For new graduate degree or major programs, academic units should consult with the Dean of the Graduate School.
  4. Procedure
    The Board of Regents requires the submission of a formal proposal in support of a new degree or major program. The proposal should be consistent with the University mission and follow the format provided on the forms attached to this policy.

    Proposals for new majors should be routed through the following approval sequence:
    1. Faculty of the academic unit proposing degree or major program
    2. Department Head or Director of academic unit proposing degree or major program
    3. Dean or Vice President of academic unit proposing degree or major program
    4. Graduate School Program Committee, if the major or degree program contains graduate courses
    5. Graduate Council, if the major or degree program contains graduate courses
    6. Dean of the Graduate School, if the major or degree program contains graduate courses
    7. Office of Instruction (for review)
    8. Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs and Provost
    9. University Curriculum Committee
    10. Executive Committee of the University Council
    11. University Council
    12. President
    13. Board of Regents

      Substantive Change Review: The Office of Accreditation and Institutional Effectiveness will evaluate the new major for substantive change as it moves through the approval sequence. If it is determined that the new major is a substantive change as defined by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), additional approval will be required.
  5. System Review
    1. The Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs will, as deemed appropriate, seek the advice of outside consultants in evaluating a program proposal.
    2. As part of the review process for formal proposals, the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs will disseminate to all University System of Georgia institutions, on a regular basis, a list of program proposals under consideration, and will invite interested parties to request a copy of the proposal for review and comment. Information received through this process will be considered in evaluating the proposals.

      Once approved, all programs will undergo a system review during the seventh year of operation. This review is designed to evaluate how well the program is meeting the expectations that were laid out in the formal proposal.