Academic Approval

Propose a New Degree Program

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Initiating a Proposal
Coordination with Other Units
Approval Process Details

Initiating a Proposal

Faculty typically initiate proposals for new degree programs. As a first step, the head of the academic unit (e.g., dean of the school) notifies the campus chief academic officer of intentions to proceed with development of a proposal. (See particular campus process for further details.)

In proposing a new program, it is recommended that faculty and administrators assess whether a new degree is necessary, or if a new major within an existing degree is a viable option. While majors are approved within Indiana University, degrees require additional approval at the state level.

All proposals must be submitted with the required cover sheet, as approved by the Academic Leadership Council (ALC). In addition, degree proposals must be prepared in the format prescribed by the Indiana Commission for Higher Education’s policies (see New Academic Degree Programs section), as approved by the ICHE on August 10, 2012.

The Required Approvals Matrix provides detailed information regarding the levels of approval necessary before a new or modified program may be implemented.

Coordination with Other Units

University-wide and core school development of degree program proposals must be coordinated with affected campuses. When appropriate, campus development of degree program proposals should be coordinated with deans of university-wide schools. In the instance of a degree or certificate offered at multiple sites, one campus should be designated as the host or responsible party. That campus should present the proposal on behalf of the university-wide or core school or the affected campuses to subsequent levels of review. In all such cases, documented written approval should be made part of the proposal before continuing with the process. This may take place in parallel with the campus process, but must be done before the proposal goes to the ALC.

The initiating unit of the proposed program must consult the Office of the Executive Vice President for University Academic Affairs (OEVPUAA) to develop consistent approaches to estimating costs and identifying sources of revenue to support the program. This contact should be made before the proposal has been routed through all the campus approval steps. Proposals must have OEVPUAA signoff before review can begin.

Review by the Campus Curriculum Committee is required.

Review by the Graduate School is required for all graduate certificate and degree programs represented by disciplines within the University Graduate School. (When in doubt, be inclusive and assume Graduate School approval is needed.) The campus originating a proposal is responsible for soliciting campus-level reviews and Graduate School approval (when needed) before proposals are presented to the ALC.

Note that Graduate Affairs Committees exist on each campus. Note also that professional degrees (e.g., nursing, social work, etc.) do not require Graduate School approval. Review by the Office of Online Education is required for all programs offered online or via distance education.

Allow 6-8 weeks for external reviews.

Allow an additional two weeks for revisions.

Approval Process Details

The campus chief academic officer submits the degree program proposal to the Academic Leadership Council at least 10 days prior to its next scheduled meeting. (Use the ALC’s OnCourse site to post documents.) The purpose of this review is to assure conformity with university policy and quality standards as well as presentation of approved programs in a manner that will ease passage through subsequent university bodies, the trustees, and state agencies. The ALC may approve as is, return to the initiating campus with suggested alterations, table or defer for later decision, or disapprove.

OEVPUAA reports actions taken by the ALC as soon as possible to the IU President and University Registrar.

The OEVPUAA forwards new degree program proposals to the secretary of the IU Board of Trustees for inclusion on the agenda of its Academic Affairs and University Policy Committee and subsequently for presentation to the full board.

The OEVPUAA also submits Administrative Action Report items. See the Required Approvals Matrix for guidance on “agenda” vs. “report” items.

NOTE: Programs not requiring ICHE action may be implemented following their presentation to and acceptance by the Board of Trustees (as either an action or report item), if required, at their regularly scheduled meeting.

The OEVPUAA will notify campus of progress of degree proposal.

Following trustee approval, the OEVPUAA sends the new degree program proposals to the ICHE Commissioner. (The ICHE requires submission of proposals at least five weeks before a particular meeting.)

The ICHE notifies all state institutions of higher education of the proposal and provides an opportunity for comment and remonstration.

The OEVPUAA responds on behalf of the university to all requests from other institutions for copies of new degree program proposals and alerts the appropriate campus officer of the request in case additional information is requested.

Under the following conditions, the ICHE may expedite action by consent (however, all requests must continue to be accompanied by a full degree program proposal):

  • Adding a second degree designation to an existing program (e.g. A.S. to an A.A.S.)
  • Delivering an on-campus program to an off-campus site through faculty available on site or traveling to the site
  • Adding a degree elsewhere in a multi-campus system to a new campus within the system

The following factors require full consideration before action is taken by the ICHE:

  • Consistency with the mission of the campus or institution
  • Transfer of credit
  • New program area
  • New degree level for a campus
  • Accreditation
  • Unnecessary duplication of resources
  • Significant investment of state resources

Certain actions taken by the university require only that the ICHE be informed (see the Required Approvals Matrix for guidance on “agenda” vs. “report” items). Normally, information-only items are conveyed by letter from the OEVPUAA to the ICHE staff.

Full review and presentation by the staff to the ICHE on new degree program proposals occurs at regular monthly meetings. The ICHE staff will direct questions to academic units about proposals through the OEVPUAA.

During the ICHE remonstrance process, the OEVPUAA will inform campus academic officers of inquiries from other institutions about new degree proposals.

Once decisions are made by the ICHE, the OEVPUAA informs the campus chief academic officer, University Registrar, dean and department chair of units in which degree is to be offered, and authors of the proposal—among others requesting notifications (contact lists maintained by OEVPUAA).


On the IUPUI campus, the Graduate Office has responsibility for routing all courses numbered 500 or higher through the approval process, and the Registrar’s Office has responsibility for all courses with numbers up to 499.

Distance education options for already-existing degrees do not need to have trustee approval. They are reviewed by the ALC and the Office of Online Education and go directly to the ICHE.

Degree name changes (unlike new degrees) can be encoded in SIS (i.e., receive CIP codes) as soon as the name change is approved by ALC (and subsequently reported to the trustees on the AAR). The name change needs to be reported to the ICHE if it is in their inventory so that the ICHE inventory is updated.

If there should be a change in CIP code, it would have to be agreed upon with the ICHE. The university registrar and OEVPUAA would need to be informed since those offices maintain the institutional tables and systems that translate degree programs to CIP codes for state and federal reporting.

The Degree Program Review Process can also be viewed as a document (PDF | Doc) or as a flowchart (PDF | Xls).