Approval and Change Processes

The purpose of this page is to provide a guide for faculty, staff, and administrators who wish to propose new degree programs or centers or change existing ones.  The first section focuses on new programs, while the second focuses on programs changes. The third applies to new center proposals.

New Programs

Requests for new programs, including new degrees, emphasis areas, undergraduate and graduate certificates, and minors must go through a comprehensive review process. All new programs must be reviewed and approved at the department/college level, using appropriate governance mechanisms specific to that unit (e.g., reviews by department and/or college faculty bodies, support of the department chair and dean). At the campus level, all new programs are reviewed and approved by either the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee or the Graduate Faculty Senate, before being reviewed and approved by the Provost and the Chancellor. With the exception of minors, all new programs are also reviewed and approved by the UM System and Missouri Department of Higher Education (MDHE), and new undergraduate and graduate degree programs are approved by the Board of Curators. More specific information on requests for each type of new program is provided below:

Degree Program
The most comprehensive process involves a request for a new Bachelors, Masters, Education Specialist, or Doctoral degree. The first phase is a pre-proposal reviewed and approved at the department/college level and the campus level. Once the pre-proposal is approved, the second phase is a full proposal that provides more comprehensive information about the proposed program, including a full financial analysis. The full proposal is reviewed and approved by the Dean, Provost and Chancellor, before moving to the UM System, Board of Curators, and MDHE for approval. More information about this process, including, templates and example proposals, can be found at the following links:

  • UM System information on new degree proposals, including templates and example proposals: click here
Emphasis Area
An emphasis area is an official, defined focus of study that exists within a degree program. Emphasis areas are included on a student’s transcript and approved by MDHE. A proposal for a new emphasis area is a single phase process where the proposal is reviewed and approved at the department/college level and the campus level before moving to the UM System and MDHE for approval. More information about emphasis areas can be found at the following links:

  • Graduate Faculty Senate information on emphasis areas: click here.
  • Guidelines for Undergraduate Emphasis Areas: click here.
Certificate Program
A graduate or undergraduate certificate provides a student with proficiency in a defined discipline(s). Certificates fall into three categories based on who is eligible to pursue the credential: 1) degree seeking students in a specific degree program or set of programs, 2) degree seeking students in any degree program, 3) open to non-degree seeking and degree-seeking students. Certificates typically require between 12 and 18 hours for completion. A proposal for a new certificate program that does not exceed 18 hours only requires a single proposal, similar to an emphasis area; proposals that exceed 18 hours may require both a pre- and full-proposal. More information about certificates can be found at the following links:

  • Graduate Faculty Senate information on certificates: click here
  • Guidelines for Undergraduate Certificates: click here.
Minor
A minor is affiliated with an academic department(s)/college(s) and is designed to provide a limited, coherent course of study that is less intense than a full degree. A proposal for a new minor is a single-phase process where the proposal is reviewed and approved at the department/college level and the campus level. More information about minors and the process can be found at the following links:

  • Graduate Faculty Senate information on minors:  click here
  • Guidelines for Undergraduate Minors: click here.

Program Changes

Any changes to a degree, emphasis, certificate, or minor must be proposed, reviewed and approved.  The process of review and approval depends upon the type of change being proposed. Please Note: Any change that involves modifying the title of the program, even a minor wording change (e.g., changing from “studies” to “science”), must be approved at all levels of campus and by MDHE)

Minor Changes
Minor changes are defined as changes that are only a slight adjustment to the program with little impact on students.  A proposal for a minor change is a single phase process where the proposal is reviewed and approved at the department/college level.  Below are changes that would fall into this category:

  • Minor changes to total credits to graduate (e.g., Change bachelor’s total from 123 to 120 credits)
  • Minor changes to program requirements (e.g., Adding an additional option to a list of courses; swapping one required course for another; adjusting the recommended sequence of courses)
  • Changes to program admission requirements (e,g., Program changing minimum standardized test scores; program removing an interview requirement)
Moderate Changes
Moderate changes are defined as changes that have a more significant impact on the program than a minor change, but ones that do not require approval by MDHE.  A proposal for a moderate change is a single phase process where the proposal is reviewed and approved at the department/college level and the campus level, with notification forwarded to UM System.  Below are changes that would fall into this category:

  • Changing the mode of program delivery (e.g., Changing from a traditional delivery mode only to also offering an online mode)
  • Changes to the owning department/college (e.g., Moving a program from the College of Education to the College of Arts & Science)
  • Changes to the interdisciplinary departments/colleges offering the program (e.g., One college is being removed from a list of four colleges originally offering a program)
Substantial Changes
Substantial changes are defined as changes that have a significant impact on students and require approval from the UM System and MDHE. A proposal for a substantial change is a single phase process where the proposal is reviewed and approved at the department/college level and the campus level before moving to the UM System and MDHE for approval.  Below are changes that would fall into this category:

  • Substantial changes to total credits to graduate (e.g. Increasing a degree program’s total credits by 25%)
  • Any change to the title of the program
  • Adding or removing a delivery site from the approved list, or changing a site’s address (e.g., Adding a classroom site in Springfield, MO)
  • Selecting a different CIP Code (federal government’s Classification of Instructional Programs)
  • Changing the type of degree (e.g., Changing a BA to a BS)
  • Changes to accreditation (e.g., Program changing from being accredited by Commission on Collegiate Nursing Education to Accreditation Commission for Education in Nursing)
  • Changing the parent degree to which an emphasis or certificate is linked (e.g., Moving the Emphasis in Data Analytics from the BS in Mathematics to the BS in Statistics)
  • Adding or removing an institution from the list of collaborators on a program (e.g., MSU no longer wishes to collaborate with MU and SLU on a joint program in Nursing)

Summary of MU approval processes for programs, certificates, emphasis areas, etc. click here

More information about program changes and the process can be found here.

New Centers

New Official Centers

The purpose of this template is to provide faculty, deans, and other administrative leaders a template to use when deciding to propose a new official university center. The creation of such centers is addressed in the MU System Collected Rules and Regulations.

New Internal Centers

The purpose of this template is to provide deans and other administrative leaders a template to use when deciding to create a new internal institute or center.