Proposing Changes to An Existing Academic Program

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

Actions Requiring a Program Change Proposal

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  • Changing the Home School, Department, or Program of an Existing Program

    To change the home school, department or interdisciplinary program (unit) in which an existing program is housed, you need to edit the existing program's CIM page. Select a Change Type of "All Other Changes" because this change will require full university governance approval. In the Academic Structure section, remove the current school and department/program and add the new ones. Complete the rest of the edit form as relevant. [See CIM instructions for a Program Change Proposal for more detailed instructions.]

    Please note that in CIM, the "department" field includes departments as well as course subjects, so be sure you pick an organizational unit within a school. For example, French is a course subject but the academic department is Modern Languages and Literatures.

  • Changing the Name of a Degree, Diploma, Certificate, Major, Minor, or Program Subcomponent (Track, Concentration, etc.)

    To change the name of an existing program (degree, diploma, certificate, major, minor, subcomponent, etc.), you need to edit the existing program's CIM page. Select a Change Type of "All Other Changes" because this change will require full university governance approval. Make the appropriate changes. Complete the rest of the edit form as relevant. Please note the naming conventions in the bottom section of this webpage). You should include peer comparison information to demonstrate that the new name is comparable to programs at peer institutions. [See CIM instructions for a Program Change Proposal for more detailed instructions.]

    If the new name you are proposing overlaps in any way with an existing program in another department or school at the University, you should include a memo of support for the change from the relevant department chair and/or dean as supporting documentation. This will facilitate the approval process.

  • Revising the Program's Curriculum/Degree Requirements and/or Program Length

    To revise the curriculum requirements, other degree requirements, and/or length of the program, you need to edit the existing program's CIM page. Select a Change Type of "All Other Changes" because most of these changes will require full university governance approval. Make the appropriate changes. Complete the rest of the edit form as relevant. [See CIM instructions for a Program Change Proposal for more detailed instructions.]

    Any changes to existing courses made through CIM courses will automatically populate into the CIM program pages, so you do not need to propose these types of changes in CIM programs.

    Course Renumbering

    If you are simply renumbering existing courses and there is a direct (1-to-1) correspondence between the old course number and the new course number, you can propose it as a Change Type of "Minimal Change or Correction Only" and explain in the Rationale section which courses were renumbered. This type of change will not require university governance approval.

    Updating Electives

    If you are just updating the list of courses students can choose from to fulfill electives, the courses are not from a discipline not currently represented in the program, and you are not changing the elective credit hours in the curriculum, you can propose it as a Change Type of "Minimal Change or Correction Only." This type of change will not require university governance approval. 

    Adding Alternate Courses

    If you are just adding course alternatives to existing courses in the curriculum (but not extensively throughout the curriculum), you can propose it as a Change Type of "Minimal Change or Correction Only." This type of change will not require university governance approval. 

    Revising Footnotes/Formatting

    If you are just changing the footnotes or formatting in the curriculum requirements table but these do not imply any changes to the curriculum/degree requirements or program length, you can propose it as a Change Type of "Minimal Change or Correction Only." This type of change will not require university governance approval as it is considered a Bulletin update only.

    Corrections

    If you want to make a correction (rather than a change) to the program's curriculum or program length, you can propose it as a Change Type of "Minimal Change or Correction Only." This will initiate an expedited review to determine whether or not it will require university governance review.

    Other Curriculuar Revisions

    If you are removing or adding even one required/core course from the curriculum, it will require full university governance review (as long as it is not just due to 1-to-1 course renumbering). If the proportion of credit hours of required courses vs. electives changes, it will require full governance review. If the program length is changing by even 1 credit hour, it will also require full university governance review. Select a Change Type of "All Other Changes." Make the appropriate changes. Complete the rest of the edit form as relevant.

    If your program's curriculum requirements are being affected by changes another program, department, or school is making, you still need to propose the changes as they affect your program in order to get the new curriculum approved (unless it is just a 1-to-1 course renumbering). This is particularly important for programs that embedded a certificate, minor or second major within the program curriculum. It's important to pay attention to course and program proposals as they go through the school approval process so that you have time to change your program as needed. Likewise, if your program is making changes that will affect other programs, please reach out to them so that they know to propose changes to their programs. In CIM courses, you can see the programs that include each course in their curriculum requirements.

    Please note that the Faculty Senate requires approval by vote by the department faculty and school council as well as approval of the department chair and school dean for all curricular changes that require university governance review. So, even if your school does not require the changes to go to the school council, the Faculty Senate does. 

  • Adding or Removing A Program Subcomponent (Track, Concentration, Specialization, Thesis or Non-Thesis Option, etc.)

    To add or remove a subcomponent to an existing program (track, concentration, specialization, thesis or non-thesis option, etc.), you need to edit the existing program's CIM page. Select a Change Type of "All Other Changes" because this change will require full university governance approval. Make the appropriate changes. Complete the rest of the edit form as relevant. You should include a curriculum requirements table and plan of study grid for the new subcomponent or revising the existing ones to include the new subcomponent [See CIM instructions for a Program Change Proposal for more detailed instructions.]

    If the subcomponent you are proposing overlaps in any way with an existing program in another department or school at the University, you should include a memo of support for the change from the relevant department chair and/or dean as supporting documentation. This will facilitate the approval process.

    Corrections

    If you want to make a correction (rather than a change) to the program's subcomponent information in CIM, you can propose it as a Change Type of "Minimal Change or Correction Only" and explain it in the Rationale section. This will initiate an expedited review to determine whether or not it will require university governance review.

  • Adding or Removing 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.

    To propose a new version or pathway of an existing program as a program change, you need to edit the existing program's CIM page. Select a Change Type of "All Other Changes" because this change will require full university governance approval. Make the appropriate changes. Complete the rest of the edit form as relevant. You should include a curriculum requirements table and plan of study grid for the new subcomponent or revise the existing ones to include the new subcomponent [See CIM instructions for a Program Change Proposal for more detailed instructions.]

  • Changing the Instructional Modality of 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 all 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 100% of their degree online, you need to create an online version of the program.

    To propose changing the modality of an existing program, you need to edit the existing program's CIM page. Select a Change Type of "All Other Changes" because this change will require full university governance approval. 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. [See CIM instructions for a Program Change Proposal for more detailed instructions.]

    NOTE: 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.

  • Changing the Instructional Location of an Existing Program

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

    If you are changing the location(s) of an existing program, or splitting 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 edit the existing program's CIM page. Select a Change Type of "All Other Changes" because this change will require full university governance approval. For the Where is the program offered? question, select the new location from the drop-down box. If you are splitting the program among different locations,  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. [See CIM instructions for a Program Change Proposal for more detailed instructions.]

    NOTE: 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 instead. 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.

  • Merging an Existing Program into another Existing Program

    To merge an existing program into another existing program, you have to (1) close the program that is being merged and (2) edit the CIM program page of the program that will remain after the merger. Select a Change Type of "All Other Changes" because this change will require full university governance approval. Complete the rest of the edit form as relevant to reflect the merger. Be sure to explain whether students currently in the existing programs will be able to move into the merged program. [See CIM instructions for a Program Change Proposal and Program Closure Proposal for more detailed instructions.]

    The program closure will require SACSCOC approval. The changes to the other program may or may not require SACSCOC approval. This would be determined during the University Accreditation review.

    NOTE: If you are merging existing programs into a new program, go to the new program website.

  • Adding or Removing One or More Areas of Knowledge to an Existing Undergraduate Major or Minor

    Undergraduate majors and 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 for more information.

    Proposing Only Changes to the Areas of Knowledge (No Other Changes)

    To propose adding or removing one or more Areas of Knowledge to or from an existing program, you need to edit the existing program's CIM page. If you are not making any other changes to the program (except to Bulletin text to reflect the proposed changes to the program's Areas of Knowledge), select a Change Type of "Area of Knowledge Only." In the Areas of Knowledge question, check or uncheck the appropriate Area(s) of Knowledge. In the Rationale question, provide an explanation for what you are proposing. Only changing Areas of Knowledge does not require full university governance approval. However, it will need to be approved by the department chair, school dean and the University Curriculum Committee. [See CIM instructions for a Program Change Proposal for more detailed instructions.]

    Changing the Areas of Knowledge and Other Changes

    Most programs will propose changes to the Areas of Knowledge when they are making curricular changes to the program. In this case, select a Change Type of "All Other Changes" because this change will require full university governance approval. In the Areas of Knowledge question, check or uncheck the appropriate Area(s) of Knowledge. In the Rationale question, be sure to include an explanation or justification for changing the Areas of Knowledge as well as the other proposed changes.Complete the rest of the edit form as relevant. [See CIM instructions for a Program Change Proposal for more detailed instructions.] The University Curriculum Committee will review the Areas of Knowledge changes as part of the governance process and will make the final determination at that time.

    NOTE: Although one major or minor may be able to fulfill multiple Areas of Knowledge, an individual student may only use one major or minor 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 Areas of Knowledge requirements.

  • Changing the Program's CIP Code (such as for a STEM Designation)

    The federal government requires every academic program to be assigned a six-digit standardized numeric code to represent the discipline/subject area, the Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) Code. The first two digits of the CIP code represent broad disciplinary areas. The final four digits represent subdisciplines or more specific areas. You can search for CIP codes on the NCES website. CIP Codes are also used to determine which programs qualify for the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security STEM designation. [NOTE: The US DHS STEM designation is not related to the STEM Area of Knowledge.]

    You can also search for CIP codes in the CIM proposal form by clicking the red Find... button. A pop-up window will open to display the CIP Code Picker. You can type a keyword into the Search box and press the  button. Or, you can click on the Select CIP Family drop-down box to select a broad disciplinary area (first two digits of the CIP code) and all of the six-digit CIP codes in that area will populate in the screen below.

    Proposing Only A CIP Code Change (No Other Program Changes)

    To propose changing an existing program's CIP code, you need to edit the existing program's CIM page. If you are not making any other changes to the program, select a Change Type of "CIP Code Only." In the Proposed CIP Code question, enter the new six-digit CIP code. In the Rationale question, provide a justification for how the curriculum requirements meets the definition of the new CIP code. Only changing a program's CIP code does not require full university governance approval. However, it will need to be approved by the department chair, school dean, University Accreditation and the Provost. [See CIM instructions for a Program Change Proposal for more detailed instructions.]

    Proposing A CIP Code Change and Other Program Changes

    Most programs will propose a CIP code change when they are making program name changes or curricular changes. In this case, select a Change Type of "All Other Changes" because these changes will require full university governance approval. In the Proposed CIP Code question, enter the new six-digit CIP code. In the Rationale question, be sure to include a justification for how the curriculum requirements meets the definition of the new CIP code in addition to a rationale for the other changes. Complete the rest of the edit form as relevant. [See CIM instructions for a Program Change Proposal for more detailed instructions. University Accreditation and the University Registrar's Office will review the CIP Code changes as part of the approval process and will make the final determination at that time. 

    STEM Designation

    Please consult with Patty Murphy prior to proposing a CIP code change in order to qualify for the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security STEM designation. Additional supporting documentation may be required for your proposal, such as a detailed course content analysis. 

  • Updating Program Bulletin Pages

    To update the academic program pages published in the Academic Bulletin through the CIM system (rather than through the Bulletin editing system, CAT), you need to edit the existing program's CIM page.

    If you are not making any real changes to the program (such as any of the changes listed on this webpage) but want to update or reformat the pages published in the Bulletin, select a Change Type of "Minimal Change or Correction Only" to expedite the review process. Bulletin Updates that do not involve program changes, do not go through the university governance process. Complete the rest of the edit form, including a brief summary of the changes in the Rationale question. [See CIM instructions for a Program Change Proposal for more detailed instructions.]

    Although the Bulletin editing system, CAT, is only open at certain times of the year, you can submit changes to the CIM pages at any time. However, these changes may not be published until the next year's Bulletin.

    For question about Bulletin Updates, contact Jenny Vargas.

     

Academic Program Requirements to Remember When Proposing Program Changes

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  • Naming Conventions

    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

    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

    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

    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 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.