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The Graduate Catalog: Degree Program Changes and flow chart (PDF)

Key to Abbreviations

Final Approval

  • Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)
  • For substantive changes, Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) (see step c below)

Description

Graduate degree program changes are changes to degree programs or degree titles that must be approved or acknowledged by the THECB. These are

  • adding a degree program or degree title;1
  • deleting a degree program or degree title;
  • renaming a degree program or degree title; and
  • moving a degree program or degree title from one academic unit to another.

Questions about the procedures described here should be directed to the Graduate School assistant dean responsible for degree program changes. All correspondence and contact with The University of Texas System and the THECB should be coordinated through the Graduate School.2

Process

  1. Graduate Program
  2. Department and College
  3. SACS-COC liaison
  4. Graduate Assembly
  5. Vice Provost and Dean of Graduate Studies (Graduate Dean)
  6. Provost (acting on behalf of the president)
  7. UT System
  8. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)
  9. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools' Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
  10. Provost
  11. Graduate School
  12. Office of Information Management and Analysis (IMA)
  13. Office of the Registrar/Official Publications (OP)


a. Graduate program
Each graduate program follows its own process for securing the approval of its Graduate Studies Committee (GSC) for degree proposals. The chair of the GSC is responsible for endorsing and transmitting degree proposals on behalf of the GSC. In the case of a new graduate program, an ad hoc committee consisting of at least five members of existing GSCs may develop a proposal. GSCs are encouraged to consult and seek the endorsements of the department chair(s), college dean(s), and graduate dean when developing a proposal, in addition to consulting the Graduate School regarding format and preliminary review. The following documents are required:
b. Department and college
The proposal must be approved by the department chair or academic program director and the dean of the college or school; if more than one department or college is involved in the administration of the graduate program, then each chair or director and each dean must approve the proposal. It is then sent to the graduate dean for submission to the Graduate Assembly.

c. SACS-COC liaison
The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC) is interested in a variety of changes and follows a variety of processes and timelines; in some cases, the process must begin a year before the change is implemented. A degree program change may be a substantive change as defined by the commission—“a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope” of the institution. If so, SACS-COC must either approve the change or be notified of the change before it is implemented. SACS-COC’s policy and procedures on substantive changes are published by the commission.
     The Graduate School assistant dean consults the University’s SACS-COC accreditation liaison before a proposed change is submitted to the Graduate Assembly. The accreditation liaison works with the SACS-COC staff to determine whether the University must submit a letter of notification or an application for approval. The liaison advises the graduate program to prepare a prospectus if needed and ensures that the president submits required documents to SACS-COC. (See step i.)

d. Graduate Assembly
Proposals submitted to the Graduate School are referred to the Academic Committee, a standing committee of the Graduate Assembly, for review. The Academic Committee meets with the proposer(s) to discuss the proposal. The committee may suggest revisions, recommend approval to the Graduate Assembly, or decide not to approve the proposal. Proposals forwarded to the Graduate Assembly are voted on by the full assembly. A proposal approved by the assembly and classified as minor legislation by the assembly secretary is forwarded to the graduate dean; a proposal approved by the assembly and classified as major legislation (such as a request for a degree program in an academic area not currently taught at the University) is distributed to all GSCs for comment or protest. A proposal that receives ten or more protests is returned to the Graduate Assembly for reconsideration; a proposal that receives fewer than ten protests is considered approved and is forwarded to the graduate dean. (For more information, see the Rules and Bylaws of the Graduate Assembly.)

e. Graduate School
The graduate dean forwards the proposal to the provost, recommending either approval or disapproval.

f. Provost (acting on behalf of the president)
The provost may approve or disapprove the proposal or may send it to the president for his or her consideration; all requests for new doctoral programs must be approved by the president.
  • If the provost approves the proposal, he or she sends the documents submitted by the Graduate School either to the president or to the UT System executive vice chancellor for academic affairs (EVCAA).
  • If the provost disapproves the proposal, the dean is notified, with reasons provided.
g. Executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, UT System (EVCAA)
The associate vice chancellor for academic planning and assessment handles degree program proposals on behalf of the executive vice chancellor for academic affairs; he or she addresses submissions to the THECB to the assistant commissioner for academic affairs and research.
  • To add a master’s degree program: The associate vice chancellor forwards the documents submitted by the provost to the assistant commissioner.
  • To add a doctoral degree program: After the UT System staff reviews the proposal, the associate vice chancellor forwards the documents submitted by the provost to the assistant commissioner. When the proposal has been approved by the THECB staff and the THECB Committee on Strategic Planning and Policy (SPPC), the associate vice chancellor puts it on the Board of Regents meeting docket. If the proposal is approved by the Board of Regents, the associate vice chancellor returns it to the THECB for further consideration of the SPPC. Once approved by the SSPC, the proposal goes to the board.
         The doctoral program approval process may include a site visit, which is coordinated by the THECB and the UT System.
  • To delete a degree program or degree title: The associate vice chancellor notifies the assistant commissioner of the change.
  • To add a degree title for an existing degree program or
    To rename a degree program or degree title or
    To move a degree program or degree title to another academic unit:
    The associate vice chancellor forwards the documents submitted by the provost to the assistant commissioner.
h. Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)
  • To add a master’s degree program
    • If the program is in engineering or will cost more than $2 million over five years, the THECB staff reviews the proposal and makes a recommendation on approval. Master’s degree proposals with a budget of more than $2 million must be considered by the board.
    • If the program is not in engineering and will cost $2 million or less over five years, the THECB staff posts the proposal for public comment through the THECB Proposal Tracking System. If there are no comments within thirty days, the THECB staff adds the program to the THECB’s degree program inventory and the assistant commissioner notifies the provost that the program is approved; if there are comments, the THECB staff reviews the proposal.
  • To add a doctoral degree program: The THECB staff reviews the proposal and discusses any issues with the associate vice chancellor and/or University representatives. When issues have been resolved, the associate vice chancellor puts the proposal on the Board of Regents docket. If the proposal is approved by the Board of Regents, the associate vice chancellor returns it to the THECB. The final decision is made by the Coordinating Board, after review by the board’s Committee on Strategic Planning and Policy. If the board approves the proposal, the THECB staff adds the program to the THECB’s degree program inventory and the assistant commissioner notifies the provost that the program is approved.
  • To delete a degree program or degree title: The THECB staff updates the THECB’s degree program inventory and the assistant commissioner notifies the provost that the change has been made.
  • To add a degree title for an existing degree program or
    To rename a degree program or degree title or
    To move a degree program or degree title to another academic unit
    • If the change will result in new costs of more than $2 million over five years: The THECB staff reviews the proposal.
    • If the change will result in new costs of $2 million or less over five years: The THECB staff updates the THECB’s degree program inventory and the assistant commissioner notifies the provost that the change has been made.
i. Southern Association of Colleges and Schools’ Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC)
The SACS-COC liaison notifies or seeks approval from SACS-COC if needed. For some substantive changes, notification of SACS-COC is sufficient; most substantive changes must be approved by SACS-COC before they are implemented. If approval is required, the proposal may be referred automatically to the Commission on Colleges for review and approval at its next scheduled meeting, or it may be reviewed by a commission staff member. The staff member may recommend approval by the commissioner or referral to the Committee on Compliance and Reports. If the proposal is referred to the committee, the committee may approve it, defer approval and seek more information, or deny it. A site visit by a Substantive Change Committee may be required.

j. Provost
The provost notifies the Graduate School, Office of the Registrar/Official Publications (OP), and IMA of the THECB’s response.

k. Graduate School
The Graduate School notifies the graduate program and others of the THECB’s response.

l. Office of Information Management and Analysis (IMA)
IMA updates the mainframe degree/major code table as needed and notifies OP.

m. Office of the Registrar/Official Publications (OP)
  • School/major code
    The school/major code identifies the degree program a student is enrolled in or seeking admission to. A new code is needed when a degree program or dual degree program is created and when an existing program is renamed or moved to another academic unit. When the proposal has been approved or acknowledged by the THECB, OP sends a questionnaire to the graduate adviser or graduate coordinator, who completes it and returns it to OP. OP updates the mainframe school/major code table as necessary and notifies the appropriate offices.
  • Graduate catalog copy
    In the fall of odd-numbered years, OP provides instructions for preparation of catalog copy. The graduate adviser and GSC chair must ensure that all planned degree program changes are made on the catalog copy and submitted for approval as described here. The graduate program must also submit any related course inventory changes through the Request for Change in Course Inventory system.
    Catalog copy is due to the Graduate School by November 1 in even-numbered years; the Graduate School forwards approved copy to OP by the following January 1. For example, copy for the 2011–2013 graduate catalog will be due to the Graduate School by November 1, 2010, and will be forwarded to OP by January 1, 2011.

1Dual degree programs do not require THECB approval, but the UT System executive vice chancellor for academic affairs usually notifies the THECB of new dual programs, especially in cases where other institutions are involved.
     Option III programs in currently approved majors do not require THECB or SACS-COC approval, but the THECB should be notified. A proposal for an option III program in a new major does require THECB approval and may require SACS-COC approval. (The “Guidelines for Developing Option III Programs” is available from the Office of Graduate Studies.)
2The assistant dean assesses each proposal for thoroughness and clarity and requests corrections or more information from the proposer if necessary; consults the graduate dean; sends the proposal electronically to members of the Graduate Assembly’s Academic Committee and schedules a meeting of the proposer and the committee; facilitates placing the proposal on the Graduate Assembly’s agenda; prepares letters and facilitates forwarding the proposal from the Graduate School to the provost and from the provost or president to The University of Texas System; notifies the proposer of approvals; and verifies that appropriate revisions are submitted for the graduate catalog.

 


  Updated 2013 February 22
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