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Create an Academic Degree Program

The information contained on this page is intended to give an overview of the process for departmental planning purposes. Departments are strongly encouraged to begin these conversations with their college leadership, the Office of the Provost, and Institutional Effectiveness (IE) regarding resources, preliminary approvals, and timelines for approval and implementation of the academic degree program as soon as possible.

The State University System of Florida Board of Governors outlines authorization of new degree programs in Regulation 8.011. University Policy AC-09.03-09/23 New Academic Degree Program Approval further outlines UWF’s compliance with Regulation 8.011. The information contained on this page supports Regulation 8.011 and UWF Policy.

Overview of the Process

1. Update the University Accountability Plan

  • As soon as a department has discussed the goal of beginning a new academic degree program, the chair should have a preliminary conversation with the dean of their college and the Vice Provost regarding the desire to add this potential degree program to the University Accountability Plan. The University Accountability Plan is prepared annually in the spring and submitted to the UWF Board of Trustees (BOT) and the SUS Florida Board of Governors (BOG) for approval.
  • Once a department has discussed their intent to create a new academic degree program with their college leadership and the Vice Provost, please contact the Office of Institutional Effectiveness to ensure that the new degree program is included on the University Accountability Plan.
  • Ideally, this should happen 2-3 years in advance of the desired start date for the degree program.

2. Pre-Proposal Approvals

  • All new academic degree programs must receive two pre-proposal approvals prior to development of a full-proposal:
    • UWF Internal Pre-Proposal ‐ college leadership and Provost
    • CAVP Pre-Proposal - Council of Academic Vice Presidents (CAVP)
  • IE can assist departments through the pre-proposal process.
  • Schedule an appointment with Institutional Effectiveness to get these forms and timelines for completion and approval by all appropriate parties.
  • The CAVP only meets 4-5 times a year making this an important step in the timeline. IE can help to identify meeting dates and deadlines for the Vice-Provost to review pre-proposals and submit for the CAVP agenda.

3. Development of Program Proposal

Once your degree program has had both the UWF Internal Pre-Proposal and CAVP Pre-Proposal approved by the Provost and CAVP respectively, please contact Institutional Effectiveness and the Registrar’s office to begin the next phases. IE is the department’s resource to complete these steps and have your program fully approved and ready to implement on your desired schedule.

a. Budget table preparation - 

  • Schedule an appointment with IE to work on the budget as soon as possible.
  • Figures included on the budget tables are required to be directly referenced through out the narrative of the Request to Offer (RTO) proposal, so the tables need to be completed first.
  • IE will guide you through completion of these tables.

b. Consultant (doctoral programs only) - 

  • Departments should be prepared to enlist the assistance of an external consultant in the development of doctoral-level degree programs.
  • The consultant should be involved early in the process to guide program development and again to offer a letter of support of the final degree program proposal.
  • Both the initial consultant report and the letter of support will be included in the final RTO proposal.

c. Curriculum process - 

  • If not already started, CCRs need to be created for the various parts of the program and any new courses needed.
  • Departments have significant resources at their disposal in reference to writing measurable outcomes, preparing curriculum maps, and sample assessment plans. A short list is available below:
    1. Writing Measurable Student Learning Outcomes
    2. Writing Graduate Level Learning Outcomes
    3. Bloom's Taxonomy Table of 176 Verbs
    4. Sample Curriculum Map Assignments Embedded
    5. Sample 5 Year Assessment
  • Undergraduate programs need to address common prerequisites established for the CIP code in the program of study in the Common Prerequisites Manual.
  • The approval of curriculum (all parts) pass through several layers of faculty governance and administrative review. This includes your own department and college council.
  • Departments are strongly encouraged to closely monitor this process to be aware of any comments or rollbacks during the review process. It is also helpful to attend all faculty governance meetings when the curriculum is set for review to address any questions. This will keep your curriculum moving through the approval process in a timely fashion.
  • It is important to note that the curriculum approval process is critical to new program development.
  • This process can take as long as 9 months (August – May).
  • Please contact the Registrar’s office at for any guidance on CCRs and the process.

d. Substantive Change - 

  • The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) will be notified of new programs prior to implementation.
  • Many new degree programs will require prior approval by SACSCOC.
  • The Vice Provost and IE will be able to determine the level of substantive change the new degree program represents for the institution and the appropriate notification required by SACSCOC and will work with the department to incorporate this approval process into the implementation timeline.
  • Departments will oversee any substantive change notification for specialized and programmatic accreditors. IE is available to assist upon request.

e. Request to Offer proposal

  • The RTO proposal template is provided by IE to the department.
  • Developing the full proposal is a collaborative process between the department and IE with departments providing the primary content.
  • The RTO proposal addresses key areas of concern for the BOG including need and demand and employment projections at the local, state, and national level.
  • The goal is that your department’s proposal for a new academic degree program is well-developed and will receive all necessary approvals to be implemented on your desired timeline.
  • The RTO proposal can be worked on concurrently with the curriculum, however all tables should be near complete before beginning the proposal and the curriculum should have completed the CCR process before it will be considered for placement on the BOT agenda.
  • The ultimate audience is not just our own UWF BOT, but also the BOG staff and in the case of doctoral program proposals, the SUS Florida Board of Governors.