Proposing A New Academic Program

Refer to the Standard Approval Process Flowchart to see which approvals are required for university governance reviews.

Actions Requiring a New Program Proposal

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  • Offering a New Degree, Diploma, or Certificate in a New or Existing Major (Field of Study)

    If you want to offer a new degree/diploma/certificate program, you need to follow the instructions to submit a New Program Proposal.

    If you plan to offer the same program in different instructional locations and/or instructional modalities, you must submit a separate proposal for each location/modality.

    A new program proposal will require full university governance approval, including Board of Trustee approval. In certain cases, it may also require SACSCOC approval which could delay implementation by as much as a year, but this is not the norm. This would be determined during the University Accreditation review. 

    Degree/Major/Minor Naming Conventions

    Although degree, major and minor names are not standardized in the USA, SACSCOC requires that we follow commonly accepted practice in higher education when choosing the names associated with official academic credentials. The standard degree names include: Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Science, Master of Arts, Master of Science, Doctor of Philosophy. There are also many recognized professional degree names which may or may not include the major/field of study in the degree name. Part of the peer comparison you need to provide in the proposal is a justification for the degree/major/minor name. Since program websites are often marketing oriented, it is best to use the official university catalog or bulletin as a data source for the degree name at other institutions. Sometimes degree names are reflected in guidelines of professional associations or specialized accrediting bodies which can also be included in the peer comparison information.

    Also, since these are part of an academic credential, names must use formal language. No slang, jargon, abbreviations, or acronyms are permitted, though you can use those as marketing language.

     

    Bachelor's Degree Programs

    • A bachelor's degree program must require a minimum of 120 credit hours of undergraduate coursework. This usually includes general education requirements, the school's or degree's advanced writing and communication requirement, requirements specific to the degree, and requirements for the major. If a specific minor, second major or course of study outside the major (such as pre-med requirements) is required for the degree, that should also be included.
    • Graduate courses cannot be used to meet the minimum 120 credit hours for a bachelor's degree.
    • There are no requirements at UM for the length of an undergraduate major. Commonly accepted practice in higher education is 30 credit hours for a major but this varies significantly by degree program since some degree-specific requirements include introductory coursework in the major.
    • The New Program Proposal includes a peer comparison in which you must describe how similar programs are designed at peer institutions in order to demonstrate that the requirements and program length you are proposing is appropriate.
    • The normal courseload for a full-time undergraduate student is 15-16 credit hours per semester. 
    • Please note in planning the curriculum that undergraduate students must be enrolled for a minimum of 12 credit hours in order to be considered full-time (and be eligible for financial aid or visas). Certain courses may also count as full-time (such as a thesis course).
    • If you are planning to actively recruit international students, we recommend that you consult with International Student and Scholar Services to learn more about program requirements affecting international students.
    • All undergraduate programs must be offered on the Coral Gables campus, though individual courses may be taken on the Medical or Marine campuses, as appropriate.
    • The University's Undergraduate Admission Office handles admission for all undergraduate programs except the Bachelor of General Studies (offered through DCIE).
    • The University Curriculum Committee (UCC) oversees the general education and advanced writing and communication requirements and reviews undergraduate program proposals for the Faculty Senate.
    • Areas of Knowledge

      • A portion of the general education requirement involves the Areas of Knowledge requirement which requires students to take courses in three broad disciplinary areas: Arts and Humanities, People and Society, and STEM. 

      • Undergraduate majors are eligible to count as a cognate to fulfill one or more Areas of Knowledge. Review the Area of Knowledge section in the Academic Bulletin to determine which, if any, of the Areas of Knowledge the new program's major may fulfill. On the proposal form, check the box(es) under Areas of Knowledge that you want the new program's major to fulfill. The University Curriculum Committee will review these as part of the governance process and will make the final determination at that time.

      • Please note that although one major may be able to fulfill multiple Areas of Knowledge, an individual student may only use one major toward one Area of Knowledge. However, a degree program may integrate a second major or minor into its program requirements which may be used to fulfill other Area of Knowledge requirements.

    • Refer to the Undergraduate Policies and Procedures section in the Academic Bulletin for additional policies and requirements specific to undergraduate programs.

    Master's Degree Programs

    • A master's degree program must require a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate level coursework.
    • Undergraduate coursework cannot be counted toward master's degree requirements but may be taken by approval as supplemental instruction (such as foreign language instruction, music lessons, etc.).
    • Admission requirements for a master's degree program must include an earned bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution or international equivalent.
    • A master's degree program curriculum usually includes a set of core (required) courses; electives; a comprehensive exam; and a thesis, internship, practicum, or capstone project/experience; but this varies by program.
    • All master's degree programs are required to design the curriculum and degree requirements to include knowledge of the literature of the discipline (usually through the core courses) and engagement in research and/or professional practice/training (usually through a thesis, internship, practicum, or capstone project/experience).
    • A master's degree is expected o be more advanced in rigor and academic content than a bachelor's degree program.
    • The New Program Proposal includes a peer comparison in which you must describe how similar programs are designed at peer institutions in order to demonstrate that the requirements and program length you are proposing are appropriate.
    • If the master's degree program will require a master's thesis (or master's thesis option), it must follow the Graduate School's requirements for Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD). If the program does not want to follow the ETD requirements, do not use the word "thesis" but instead, use "capstone paper," "research paper," etc.
    • If the program will offer both a (ETD) thesis and non-thesis option, you should include these options as program subcomponents on the proposal form and clearly define the curriculum requirements and plan of study for each option.
    • Please note in planning the curriculum that graduate students must be enrolled for a minimum of 9 credit hours in order to be considered full-time (and be eligible for financial aid or visas). Certain courses may also count as full-time (such as a thesis course).
    • If you are planning to actively recruit international students, we recommend that you consult with International Student and Scholar Services to learn more about requirements affecting international students.
    • Refer to the Master's Degree section in the Academic Bulletin for additional policies and requirements specific to master's degree programs.
    Doctoral Programs
    • A doctoral program must require a minimum of 30 credit hours of graduate level coursework beyond the master's degree and 60 credit hours of graduate level coursework beyond the bachelor's degree.
    • Undergraduate coursework cannot be counted toward the degree requirements but may be taken by approval as supplemental instruction (such as foreign language instruction, music lessons, etc.).
    • Admission requirements for a doctoral degree program must include an earned bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited institution or international equivalent.
    • A doctoral program curriculum usually includes a set of core (required) courses, electives, qualifying exams, and a dissertation but this varies by program.
    • All doctoral programs are required to design the curriculum and degree requirements to include knowledge of the literature of the discipline (usually through the core courses) and engagement in research and/or professional practice/training (usually through a dissertation).
    • A doctoral degree is expected to be more advanced in rigor and academic content than a master's degree program.
    • The New Program Proposal includes a peer comparison in which you must describe how similar programs are designed at peer institutions in order to demonstrate that the requirements and program length you are proposing are appropriate.
    • If the master's degree program will require a master's thesis (or master's thesis option), it must follow the Graduate School's requirements for Electronic Theses and Dissertations (ETD). If the program does not want to follow the ETD requirements, do not use the word "thesis" but instead, use "capstone paper," "research paper," etc.
    • If you have different admission requirements and/or curricular pathways for students entering the doctoral program with only a bachelor's degree versus students entering with an earned master's degree in a related field, you may want to include in the proposal separate curriculum requirements tables and plan of study grids for these pathways.
    • If you plan to award a concurrent master's degree to students in the doctoral program, please note that in the proposal. If the master's degree is not an existing program, then you will need to complete a separate New Program Proposal for the master's degree program as well and clearly state that it is not a standalone program but rather, earned concurrently with the doctorate.
    • Please note in planning the curriculum that graduate students must be enrolled for a minimum of 9 credit hours in order to be considered full-time (and be eligible for financial aid or visas). Certain courses may also count as full-time (such as a dissertation supervision course).
    • If you are planning to actively recruit international students, we recommend that you consult with International Student and Scholar Services to learn more about requirements affecting international students.
    • Refer to the Doctoral Degree section in the Academic Bulletin for additional policies and requirements specific to doctoral programs.
    Diplomas and Certificates
    • Diplomas and academic credit-bearing certificates are academic credentials but are non-degree programs. As such, they are often able to be applied directly toward another degree program or programs and may be designed as standalone programs that students pursue separately or as programs that students pursue concurrently with a degree program.
    • Because they are non-degree programs, most diplomas and certificates are not eligible for federal financial aid. If you are proposing a new diploma or certificate program, please reach out to the Office of Financial Assistance and Student Employment for more information.
    • There are no program length requirements for diplomas and certificates per se, except for those that may qualify for gainful employment (reach out to the Office of Financial Assistance and Student Employment for more information).
    • The New Program Proposal includes a peer comparison in which you must describe how similar programs are designed at peer institutions in order to demonstrate that the requirements and program length you are proposing are appropriate.
    • Please note that all non-credit certificates must be offered through the Division of International and Continuing Education.

  • Offering a New Major (Field of Study) in an Existing Degree

    Every degree/diploma/certificate program is required to specify a major (field of study) even if this major is reflected in the degree name (such as some professional programs) and not printed on the transcript. Since majors are components of an academic credential, not a credential themselves, to propose a new major, you need to follow the same guidelines as described in the first section above for new degree/diploma/certificate programs. [Refer to first section above for more information.]

    Areas of Knowledge

    Undergraduate majors are eligible to count as a cognate to fulfill one or more Areas of Knowledge (Arts and Humanities, People and Society, and STEM). Review the Area of Knowledge section in the Academic Bulletin to determine which, if any, of the Areas of Knowledge the new major may fulfill. On the proposal form, check the box(es) under Areas of Knowledge that you want the new major to fulfill. The University Curriculum Committee will review these as part of the governance process and will make the final determination at that time.

    Please note that although one major may be able to fulfill multiple Areas of Knowledge, an individual student may only use one major toward one Area of Knowledge.

  • Offering a New Undergraduate Minor

    Although undergraduate minors, like majors, are not academic credentials in themselves because they are often open to students in multiple degree programs and/or majors, we treat them as standalone programs. To propose a new minor, you need to submit a New Program Proposal. In the Plan Type question on the form, select "Minor" and complete the questions that appear on the proposal form.

    There are no requirements at UM for the length of an undergraduate minor. However, commonly accepted practice in higher education is 15 credit hours for a minor but this varies by program. The New Program Proposal includes a peer comparison in which you must describe how similar programs are designed at peer institutions in order to demonstrate that the requirements and program length you are proposing is appropriate.

    Areas of Knowledge

    Undergraduate minors are eligible to count as a cognate to fulfill one or more Areas of Knowledge (Arts and Humanities, People and Society, and STEM). Review the Area of Knowledge section in the Academic Bulletin to determine which, if any, of the Areas of Knowledge the new minor may fulfill. On the proposal form, check the box(es) under Areas of Knowledge that you want the new minor to fulfill. The University Curriculum Committee will review these as part of the governance process and will make the final determination at that time.

    Please note that although one minor may be able to fulfill multiple Areas of Knowledge, an individual student may only use one minor toward one Area of Knowledge.

  • Offering a New Dual or Joint Degree Program Involving UM Colleges/Schools Only

    • A dual UM degree program involves two or more degrees/certificates from within the same UM college/school
    • A joint UM degree program involves two or more degrees/certificates from different UM colleges/schools
    • Students in a UM dual/joint degree program will receive all degrees involved in the dual/joint degree program at the same time, once all requirements for all degrees are completed. If you want students to receive the degrees sequentially as the requirements for each degree are completed, you must clearly describe it as an accelerated dual/joint degree program in the proposal. 

    Dual/Joint Program Involving Existing UM Programs

    To propose a new dual or joint degree program within UM using existing degree/certificate programs, you need to submit a New Program Proposal.

    In the Career question on the form:

    • Select "Dual Career" if the dual/joint degree program involves
      • an undergraduate and graduate program
      • an undergraduate and Law School program
      • an undergraduate program and the MD program
      • a Graduate School and Law School program
      • a Graduate School program and the MD program
      • a Law School program and the MD program.
    • Select "Graduate" if all of the programs involved fall under the Graduate School.
    • Select "Law" if all of the programs involved are in the Law School.
    • Select "Undergraduate" if all of the programs involved are at the undergraduate level.

    If you select "Dual Career," a second question will appear for you to check each career involved in the program. 

    In the Plan Type question on the form, select "Dual/Joint Degree" and complete the questions that appear on the proposal form.

    Please note that for dual/joint degrees involving multiple careers/levels or multiple schools, approval will be required for each career and school involved. Contact Patty Murphy or the Faculty Senate Office for more information.

    Dual/Joint Program Involving One or More New UM Programs

    If you are proposing a dual or joint degree within UM in which one or more of the degrees in the program are also new, you need to submit multiple New Program Proposals as follows: 

    1. Submit one New Program Proposal for each new degree/certificate involved in the new dual/joint degree program AND
    2. Submit one New Program Proposal for the new dual/joint degree program

    You can submit these so that they go through the approval process at the same time but they must be separate proposals in CIM.

    If the new degree(s) being created (in step 1 above) will only be offered as part of the dual/joint degree program, please note in the new degree proposal that the degree will not be a standalone program but rather, will only be offered as part of the new dual/joint degree program.

    Requirements for Dual/Joint Degree Programs

    All dual/joint degree programs must meet the degree requirements for each type of degree involved as described in the first section above ["Offering a New Degree, Diploma, or Certificate in a New or Existing Major (Field of Study)]. 

    The intent of developing dual/joint degree programs is to allow students to pursue two programs concurrently and/or to reduce the number of courses required for both degrees and/or the length of time it will take to complete both programs. However, each degree involved in the dual/joint degree program must meet the minimum program length requirements as described in the first section above using a unique count of credit hours (meaning courses may not be double counted toward the minimum credit hour requirements across the programs involved in the dual/joint degree program). In the New Program Proposal, you should provide a clear rationale to justify any courses or degree requirements that are being waived or removed for students in the dual/joint degree program. Usually this is explained through course content overlap in the programs but you need to be specific in terms of course numbers and content.

    Certain careers/levels have different financial aid regulations which can also constrain dual/joint degree programs. Bachelor's degree programs have different financial aid regulations than other programs (Graduate, Law, MD). The MD program also has different financial aid from Law and Graduate programs. Please consult with the Office of Financial Assistance and Student Employment to determine the specific regulations pertaining to the dual/joint degree you are proposing.

    Dual/joint degree programs that involve undergraduate and non-undergraduate programs must meet the following registration requirements while the students are completing the undergraduate program:

    • Undergraduates cannot take graduate courses until they have earned a minimum 90 credit hours (usually senior year).
    • Undergraduate students cannot take more than 6 credit hours of graduate level coursework in one semester.
    • Undergraduate students cannot take more than 12 credit hours of graduate level coursework total during their undergraduate career.
    • The total undergraduate + graduate courseload in a given semester is expected not to exceed 15 total credit hours.
    • Undergraduate students must be registered for a minimum of 12 credit hours of undergraduate coursework each semester.

  • Offering a New Dual or Joint Degree Program Involving Another College/University

    • A dual degree program with another institution involves two or more degrees/certificates awarded separately by UM and the other institution
    • A joint degree program with another institution involves one degree that is jointly awarded by both institutions (NOTE: This is rare)

    Dual Degree Program Involving An Existing UM Program

    To propose a new dual or joint degree program within another institution using an existing UM degree/certificate program, you need to submit a New Program Proposal.

    In the Career question on the form:

    • Select "Dual Career" if the dual/joint degree program involves
      • an undergraduate and graduate program
      • an undergraduate and Law program
      • an undergraduate program and the MD program
      • a Graduate School and Law program
      • a Graduate School program and the MD program
      • a Law School program and the MD program.
    • Select "Graduate" if the UM program falls under the Graduate School and the other institution's program is graduate level.
    • Select "Law" if the UM program is in the Law School and the other institution's program is a law program.
    • Select "Undergraduate" if all of the programs involved are at the undergraduate level.

    If you select "Dual Career," a second question will appear for you to check the each of the careers involved in the program. 

    In the Plan Type question on the form, select "Dual/Joint Degree" and complete the questions that appear on the proposal form.

    Please note that for dual/joint degrees involving multiple careers/levels or multiple schools, approval will be required for each career and school involved. Contact Patty Murphy or the Faculty Senate Office for more information.

    Dual/Joint Program Involving One or More New UM Programs

    If you are proposing a dual or joint degree with another in which the UM degree program is also new, you need to submit multiple New Program Proposals: 

    1. Submit one New Program Proposal for the new UM degree/certificate involved in the new dual/joint degree program AND
    2. Submit one New Program Proposal for the new dual/joint degree program

    You can submit these so that they go through the approval process at the same time but they must be separate proposals in CIM.

    If the new degree(s) being created (in step 1 above) will only be offered as part of the dual/joint degree program, please note in the new degree proposal that the degree will not be a standalone program but rather, will only be offered as part of the new dual/joint degree program.

    Please note that you do not need to submit a new program proposal for the degree the other institution is awarding, just for the new UM degree  and new dual/joint degree program. 

    Cooperative Academic Agreement

    A Cooperative Academic Agreement with the other institution must also be approved as part of the approval process but this portion is done outside of the CIM system and will require notification to or approval from SACSCOC prior to implementation. Refer to the Cooperative Academic Agreement webpage for more information.

  • Reactivating a Closed Program

    Reactivating an academic program that was closed in the CIM system (since 2019-20)

    If you want to reopen a program that was closed using the CIM system, you can do so using the inactive program's CIM page and the Reactivate Form. Please note that you must select a change type of "All Other Changes" for a program reactivation.

     

    Reactivating an academic program that was closed prior to 2019-20 (prior to CIM implementation)

    Programs that were closed prior to the CIM implementation do not exist in the CIM system. Therefore, to reactivate one of these programs, you need to follow the instructions in the relevant sections above for offering a new program (degree/diploma/certificate, major, minor, or dual/joint degree). You can also check in the CIM system to verify whether or not the inactivated program exists in CIM.

    You may want to refer to the Previous Bulletin Archives to copy the old information into the New Program Proposal.

  • Merging an Existing Program(s) into a New Program

    To merge an existing program(s) into a new program, you have to first close the program(s) that is being merged and then complete a New Program Proposal. Be sure to explain whether students currently in the existing program(s) will be able to move into the new merged program. [See CIM instructions for a New Program Proposal and Program Closure Proposal for more detailed instructions.]

    The program closure and new program proposals will require full university governance approval, including Board of Trustee approval. The closure will require SACSCOC approval. In certain cases, the new program may also require SACSCOC approval which could delay implementation by as much as a year, but this is not the norm. This would be determined during the University Accreditation review. 

    NOTE: If you are merging an existing program into another existing program, go to the program changes website.

  • Adding a New Instructional Modality to an Existing Program

    Modality of instruction is defined as follows:
    • in-person (100% of courses are taught in-person)
    • hybrid (less than 100% of courses are taught in-person and less than 100% of courses are taught online, or courses are taught in hybrid modality)
    • online (100% of courses are taught via distance education)
      • asynchronous instruction (courses recorded/not viewed live)
      • synchronous instruction (courses delivered in real time/live)

    NOTE: If even 1 student in an in-person or hybrid program could potentially take 50-100% of the degree online, you need to create an online version of the program.

    If you currently offer a program in one modality and would like to also offer the program in another modality, you need use the New Program Proposal form because the federal government considers the same program in a different modality to be a distinct program. Follow the instructions for Proposing New from An Existing Program (Section B) so that the information from the existing program will be copied over into the form.

    For the Program Instruction Mode question, select the new modality from the drop-down box. In the next question, you need to change the existing location using the drop-down box if you are switching completely from in-person to online or vice versa. If you are switching to a hybrid modality, you will need to revise the % of the program offered at the current location and then click on the green addition sign in the top right hand corner of the table to add a second location (online is also an instructional location). For the % of the program offered section, you can put an exact number or a range, as appropriate. Complete the rest of the edit form as relevant. 

    If you are changing the modality of the existing program, you need to submit a Program Change Proposal instead.

  • Adding a New Instructional Location to an Existing Program

    The federal government regulates where a program's instruction takes place and considers the same program offered in different locations as distinct programs. An instructional location is one of the three UM campuses, online instruction, or an off-site location.

    If you currently offer a program in one location and also want to offer the program at a different location, you need to propose this using the New Program Proposal form because the federal government considers the same program in a different instructional location to be a distinct program. Follow the instructions for Proposing New from An Existing Program (Section B) so that the information from the existing program will be copied over into the form.

    This will require full university governance approval as well as SACSCOC approval prior to implementation which can take six months to a year. 

    NOTE: If you are just changing the location(s) of an existing program, or planning to split a current program's location so that a certain proportion is offered at one location and a different proportion at another location,, you need to submit a Program Change Proposal instead.

  • Adding a Different Version of, or Pathway to, an Existing Program

    Examples of versions or pathways of a program include the same academic credential but an accelerated version of a program or versions of a program that have different admissions criteria or program lengths.

    There are two ways to add a different version of or pathway to an existing academic program. You could propose it as a new standalone program using the New Program Proposal or as a new subcomponent (track) within the current program using the Program Change Proposal.

    We recommend proposing it as a new program rather than as a program change if the curriculum is substantially different from the existing program, or if it will be administered differently from the existing program (different program director, different admissions process and/or criteria, etc.). Otherwise, you should propose it as a program change.

    Please note that different modalities or instructional locations of the same program are not considered pathways or versions but as distinct programs.