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Degree Program

As defined by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV), a degree program is a "curriculum leading to the award of an associate’s, bachelor’s, master’s, professional, or doctoral degree; is identified by a separate CIP code; and, is listed on the student diploma." A listing of the University's approved degree programs is maintained by SCHEV.

Per the requirements of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC), a bachelor's degree must consist of at least 120 semester credit hours or the equivalent. Master's and doctoral degrees must consist of at least 30 semester credit hours or the equivalent.

Per the requirements of SCHEV, individual degree programs must share a common core of courses. Bachelor's degrees must share a common core of 25 percent of total credit hours (excluding general education credit hours); master's degrees must share a common core of 50 percent of total credit hours; doctoral degrees must share a common core of 25 percent of total credit hours.


Create Degree Program

Creating a degree program requires a significant investment of time and effort. Faculty exploring the creation of a new degree program are strongly encouraged to arrange a meeting with the associate provost and director of IAS, prior to seeking any approvals, to discuss proposal development and to establish a realistic timeline for initiating the degree program. In addition, faculty are encouraged to review State-Level Requirements for Approval of Various Academic Program Actions at Public Institutions to become familiar with state requirements concerning new degree programs. In developing SCHEV proposals, faculty are required to utilize the institutionally-developed program proposal template.

Creating a degree program requires the following actions.  For the degree program to be effective with the ensuing fall semester, all approvals (including SCHEV and, if necessary, SACSCOC) must be secured by July 1. Unless otherwise approved by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost, marketing and recruitment efforts for a new degree program may not begin until SCHEV staff have forwarded the proposed degree program to Council for review. 

  • Submit a Substantive Change Checklist to the associate provost and director of IAS.
    • Upon submission of the checklist, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost will review the proposal to determine whether it qualifies as a “substantive change,” as defined by the University’s accrediting agency (SACSCOC).  If the proposal qualifies as a substantive change, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost will work with the school to develop a prospectus for SACSCOC review and/or approval.
  • Approval of program, departmental, and/or school faculty
  • Approval of school curriculum committee
  • Approval of the dean
    • If the degree program affects faculty, students, and/or academic programs in more than one school, the sponsoring dean should consult the corresponding dean(s).
    • Upon approval of the dean, the sponsoring school should submit a proposal to the associate provost and director of IAS. In developing the University-level proposal, programs/schools must utilize the guidelines required by the Faculty Senate. (This proposal is distinct from the SCHEV-required proposal.) These materials should be submitted by the dean, or a member of the dean's office affirming the support of the dean, along with the dates the proposal received the necessary school-based approvals.
  • Approval of the provost (first review)
  • Approval of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate
  • Approval of the Executive Council of the Faculty Senate
  • Approval of the Faculty Senate
  • Approval of the provost (second review)
  • Approval of the president
  • Approval of the Board of Visitors
  • Approval of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV)
    • Proposals for new degree programs must be submitted to SCHEV at least nine months prior to the desired initiation date. (Proposals for new graduate programs must be submitted with even greater lead time to ensure approval is forthcoming prior to the requisite admissions cycle.)
    • Proposals for new doctoral degree programs require a site visit arranged in cooperation with SCHEV.
    • If the degree program is approved, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost will notify the dean of the proposing school, the University Registrar (UREG), and the University Library.


Change Degree Program Title

Changing the title of a degree program requires the following actions. For the change to be effective with the ensuing fall semester, all approvals must be secured by July 1. 

  • Approval of program, departmental and/or school faculty
  • Approval of school curriculum committee
  • Approval of dean
    • If changing the title of a degree program affects faculty, students, and/or academic programs in more than one school, the sponsoring dean should consult the corresponding dean(s).
    • Upon approval of the dean, the sponsoring school should complete and submit the following documentation to the associate provost and director of IAS. These materials should be submitted by the dean, or a member of the dean's office affirming the support of the dean, along with the dates the proposal received the necessary school-based approvals.
      • A brief letter including the rationale for the change, the proposed effective date of the new title, and the proposed discontinuation date of the old title.
  • Approval of the provost (first review)
  • Approval of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate
  • Approval of the Executive Council of the Faculty Senate
  • Approval of the Faculty Senate
  • Approval of the provost (second review)
  • Approval of the president
  • Approval of the Board of Visitors
  • Approval of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV)
    • If the title change is approved, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost will notify the dean of the proposing school and the University Registrar (UREG).


Discontinue Degree Program

NOTE: Discontinuing admissions to a degree program constitutes a "substantive change," as defined by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Once a decision is made to cease admissions to a degree program, the University is required to notify SACSCOC -- even if discontinuation of the degree program has not been approved.

Discontinuing a degree program requires the following actions. For the discontinuation to be effective with the ensuing fall semester, all approvals must be secured by July 1. 

  • Approval of program, departmental and/or school faculty
  • Approval of school curriculum committee
  • Approval of dean
    • If changing the title of a degree program affects faculty, students, and/or academic programs in more than one school, the sponsoring dean should consult the corresponding dean(s).
    • Upon approval of the dean, the sponsoring school should complete and submit the following documentation to the associate provost and director of IAS. These materials should be submitted by the dean, or a member of the dean's office affirming the support of the dean, along with the dates the proposal received the necessary school-based approvals.
      • A letter including the rationale for the change, the proposed discontinuation date, and a teach-out plan.
  • Approval of the provost (first review)
  • Approval of the Academic Affairs Committee of the Faculty Senate
  • Approval of the Executive Council of the Faculty Senate
  • Approval of the Faculty Senate
  • Approval of the provost (second review)
  • Approval of the president
  • Approval of the Board of Visitors
  • Approval of the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV)
  • Approval of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
    • If the discontinuation is approved, the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost will notify the University Registrar (UREG)


Resources

Substantive Change Checklist (U.Va.)
Program Proposal Guidelines-Faculty Senate (U.Va.)
Program Proposal Template-SCHEV (U.Va.)
State-Level Requirements for Approval of Various Academic Program Actions at Public Institutions (SCHEV)
Format for Revising Academic Program Title, CIP Code, or Degree Designation (SCHEV)
Intent to Discontinue an Academic Program (SCHEV)