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Academic Program Development

New Degree Program Proposals

As a general rule, new degree program proposals must be submitted to the Chancellor’s Office for approval.  The following is an outline of the typical development process:

Stage 1: Academic Plan

  • The New Degree Summary Statement is prepared using the template sent to colleges every fall quarter.
  • The New Degree Summary Statement is reviewed at the university level by the Academic Plan Consultative Committee.  If approved by the Provost, the new degree is added to the Campus Academic Plan.
  • The New Degree Summary Statement and the Campus Academic Plan are submitted for review by the Chancellor's Office. If approved by the Board of Trustees, there is a five-year window to implement the new program.

Stage 2: New Degree Program Proposal

  • The new program proposal is developed using the template provided by the Chancellor's Office.
  • The new program proposal is submitted for review by the appropriate associate dean and by Academic Programs & Planning.
  • The new program proposal is submitted for review by the Provost.

Stage 3: Campus Curriculum Review

  • The new program proposal is submitted for approval by the department curriculum committee, the college curriculum committee, and the Academic Senate Curriculum Committee. It is the author's responsibility to ensure that the program proposal progresses through all the required campus approvals, and the author should plan to be in attendance at all meetings. Associated course proposals can be submitted through the curriculum management system at the same time as the program proposal.
  • If approved by the Senate Curriculum Committee, the new program proposal is submitted for approval by the Academic Senate Executive Committee as an attachment to a senate resolution (click here for an example). 
  • If agendized by the Executive Committee, the new program proposal is submitted for two readings by the Academic Senate.
  • If approved by the Academic Senate, the new program proposal is submitted for approval by the President.

Stage 4: Chancellor’s Office Review

  • If approved at all campus levels, Academic Programs & Planning submits the new program proposal to the Chancellor's Office; this should take place 18-24 months prior to the proposed quarter of implementation.

Stage 5: Notifications

  • If approved by the Chancellor's Office, Academic Programs & Planning notifies campus stakeholders (i.e., the department, college, Admissions, and Financial Aid).

Other Proposals

The above outline applies to the regular process for proposing entirely new programs only. Other types of new program proposals (i.e., pilot and fast-track) or proposals to make changes to an existing program (e.g., elevations, pilot conversions, and changes to the degree designation, title, or code) will have their own processes and requirements, including Chancellor's Office approval or notification. In addition, the university's accrediting agency, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, requires a substantive change proposal for new online or off-campus programs.

Proposals for new subprograms (i.e., minors, concentrations, specializations, and graduate certificates) may require Chancellor's Office notification. All such proposals must undergo campus curriculum review via the curriculum management system. See the Registrar's Curriculum Handbook for more information.

Proposals to combine existing bachelor's and master's degree programs in a 4 + 1 or blended degree program do not undergo curriculum review, but they must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Education, the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs, and the Provost. For more information on blended degrees, see the Graduate Education Handbook.

Whether proposing a new degree program, a change to an existing program, a new subprogram, or a blended degree program, the development process should begin with a consultation in Academic Programs & Planning. Please contact Amy Robbins (acrobbin@calpoly.edu) to schedule a meeting or to request further information.

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