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Degree Programs

Guidelines for Proposing Degrees


Campus Academic Master Plan

Every December, the Chancellor’s office requests an update to our campus Academic Plan.  The Board of Trustees then reviews the entire CSU Academic Master Plan, typically at their March meeting.  Any projected new degree program must receive acceptance by the Board of Trustees before it goes through on-campus curricular review.  

The Academic Master Plan should be more than a list of new programs. It should represent the collective opinion of campus constituencies about which desired new programs best serve the long-term interests and development of the campus as a whole and which most contribute to advancement toward the campus' goals.

CSU Guidelines - Degree Programs

  • The following Trustee Guidelines regarding program development have guided CSU planning since the 1960s.  In addition, program development in some areas (e.g. engineering), is limited or guided by Title 5 or system-level policy.
  • Curricula are to reflect the needs of students and of the state.
  • The foundation program for all campuses in the system consists of the liberal arts and sciences, business administration, and teaching.  The Board designated specific subject areas that would be regarded as the “Broad Foundation Program,” which was updated in 1979 by the Project Team on Academic Programs to include: undergraduate programs in anthropology, art, biology, chemistry, economics, English, foreign languages, geography, geology, history, mathematics, music, philosophy, physics, political science, psychology, sociology, speech/communication, and theatre arts/drama.  Societal need and student demand are not the “preeminent criteria” for offering baccalaureate programs in these disciplines.
  • Programs in applied fields and professions other than those above are to be allocated within the system on the basis of (1) state needs, (2) campus service-area needs, and (3) identification of employment opportunities.
  • Curricula in applied fields and professions are to be allocated in a systemwide pattern that will achieve an equitable and educationally sound distribution of programs throughout the state.
  • While all university campuses may wish to offer the same programs, the trustees exercise great selectivity in the final approval of new curricula.
  • Specialized, high-cost programs are to be allocated on the basis of review and study of the individual subject area.
  • Degree programs are to be broadly based and of high academic quality.
  • Unnecessary proliferation of degrees and terminology is to be avoided.
  • Formal reviews of existing curricula are to be conducted by each campus.

CSU Guidelines - Master's Degree Programs

  • New master's degree programs should be projected only when the sponsoring department is well established and has achieved a level of quality that has been affirmed by a program review or, in subjects for which national accreditation is available, by a visiting team.
  • Attention should be given to the impact the proposed master's degree will have upon the corresponding bachelor's degree and other instructional activities of the department.
  • The program should fit with the campus' and college's Academic Master Plan.
  • For proposed graduate degree programs, a minimum of five full-time faculty members with the terminal professional degree should be on the program staff.
  • New master's degree programs should be initiated only if (1) they have the enrollment potential to support the offering of at least four graduate-level courses each year; (2) there is evidence of the proposing department's capacity to support the level of research required for a graduate program; and (3) sufficient graduate-level coursework can be offered to permit a student's program to include 70% graduate-level coursework

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