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Academic Programs:  General Information and Definitions

Academic Degree Programs

An academic program is an undergraduate or graduate certificate of 30 semester credit hours or more, or a major or degree at the undergraduate or graduate levels, including a Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study. (as defined in Procedures for University Approval of New academic Degree Programs, Program Changes, and Program Termination. Doc T92-012 as amended on 8/6/97)


A Minor consists of at least 15 credits in a coherent set of courses in a particular discipline, department or program. A Minor in a department, discipline, or program which also offers a Major will normally be constituted by a core set of courses from among those required for the Major. Creation of a new minor is treated as a program revision. See section III.C.2a.

Restriction: No student may receive a Minor in the same discipline or program which is also his or her Major.

Concentrations (Tracks or Options)

Concentrations (sometimes also called tracks or options) may be established within a program, which provide for alternative sets of courses which can be used to fulfill the requirements of a major or a minor. Such concentrations within a new program may be entirely separate from one another, or may contain a common set of courses. Such concentrations should be delineated in a proposal for a new major or minor, or may be added to an existing major or minor. Creation of a new concentration is treated as a program revision. See section III.C.2a


A Certificate program involves specialized areas of study, from which a significant proportion of the requirements must go beyond the requirements of any specific major. Normally, certificate programs involve interdisciplinary study, with courses from more than one department. Certificates may also be awarded for specialized studies within a specific department, provided that a significant proportion of the work is in courses which are not required for the major. Certificate programs extend beyond the requirements of any individual major, and usually provide skills or knowledge related to specific professions. A Certificate requires at least 15 credits in a coherent set of courses.

A certificate program of more than 30 credits is considered an “academic program,” and will be reviewed as such. Creation of a certificate program requiring fewer than 30 credits is treated as a program revision. See section III.C.2a


Explanation of Graduate and Undergraduate Certificates

Supplemental Guidelines for Undergraduate Certificate Proposals

Supplemental Guidelines for Graduate Certificate Proposals

Program Review Process for Certificates Fewer Than 30 Credits

Review Process Preliminary Application Process For Certificates More Than 30 Credits

Review Process New Program -- Final Application for Certificates More Than 30 Credits


Letters of Specialization

A Letter of Specialization recognizes study in a specialized field related to or part of a student's major. Letters of Specialization are issued only by academic departments or programs, colleges, schools, and are not recorded on students' transcripts. Letters may be signed by Deans or Department Heads or Chairs (or designees) and students may choose to include Letters in their placement files.

Approval required for implementation of a new Letter of Specialization: A Letter of Specialization requires approval of the Department Curriculum Committee or other appropriate departmental committee and the Department Head or Chair. Where the Letter of Specialization is issued in an interdepartmental major, approval of the curriculum committees and Chairs or Heads of all involved departments is required. Approval beyond the department is not required, but the Dean, the Secretary of the Faculty Senate, and the Provost must be notified of the intent to offer a Letter of Specialization.

Program Approval Procedures
Program Revision Procedures
Policy and Procedures: Termination of Existing Programs

Approval Guide Contents





Academic Matters
Academic Priorities
Campus Physical Planning
General Education
International Studies
Program and Budget
Research Library
Status of Diversity
Status of Women
Student Affairs and University Life
Undergraduate Education
University Relations and Advancement
University Service, Public Service and Outreach


Admissions and Records
Committee on Committees
University Computer and Electronic Communications
University Press
University Writing

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