Proposals to make changes to an existing program (e.g., elevations, pilot conversions, and changes to the degree designation, modality, title, or CIP code) will have their own processes and requirements, including Chancellor's Office approval or notification. In addition, the university's accrediting agency, the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC), requires a substantive change proposal for new online or off-campus programs.
Blended 4+1 Programs
Proposals to combine existing bachelor's and master's degree programs in a 4 + 1 or blended degree program do not undergo full curriculum review, but they must be approved by the Dean of Graduate Education, Director of Academic Programs and Planning, Associate Vice Provost for Academic Innovations and Programs, the Provost, and the Chancellor's Office.
New blended programs are on hold until the start of semesters. The process for the proposal, approval, and launch can take 12-18 months. Departments wishing to launch a new blended program in fall 2026 should contact APP for a template and instructions in winter or spring 2025 to begin the process.
For more information on blended degrees, please consult with Academic Programs and Planning and the Office of Graduate Education.
Program suspension results when a program stops admitting students to a program. The process for suspension requires consultation with the program faculty and a proposal to the Provost, Associate Vice Provost, and Academic Senate Chair providing the reasons for the suspension, among other things. Note: it is possible for a program to be reinstated from suspended status.
In the case of a program suspension, as per WSCUC policy, the relevant department(s) and college(s) should work together to complete a teach-out plan that includes the following steps*:
- Compile a list of all currently enrolled and inactive students in the program.
- Create a plan to notify all currently enrolled and inactive students about the program suspension and about their options for finishing their degree.
- Advise all currently enrolled and inactive students in order to help them create individualized graduation plans.
- Plan how the program will be kept in suspension long enough for all eligible students to finish their degree in the time accorded them by university and state policy: ten years on their original catalog in the case of undergraduate degree programs (as per Cal Poly Catalog, “Choice of Catalog / Catalog Rights”), or seven years on their original catalog in the case of graduate degree programs (as per Title 5, Section 40510). Returning students may not be able to finish their degree after this time.
Program discontinuation results in the official and permanent deletion of a program from the campus Academic Master Plan. A request for discontinuance may be initiated at any time; however, discontinuation will follow the suspension of a program and documentation that all enrolled students have been taught out. The process requires Provost and Academic Senate approval.
Department Name Change
A department name change requires multiple levels of support and Academic Senate approval. APP can provide guidance and a template to assist a department through this process.
Whether proposing a change to an existing program, a blended degree program, program suspension/discontinuation, or a department name change, the development process should begin with a consultation in Academic Programs & Planning. Please contact the Program Development Coordinator, Angela Standifer, to schedule a meeting or to request further information. She can also provide relevant policies and templates for submitting a proposal in the correct form to the Chancellor's Office.
*final language pending approval of the Academic Senate, April 2023