Procedures for Changes in Curriculum and Catalog Copy

For Graduate Curriculum and Catalog Copy changes go to Graduate Program & Course Development.

Go directly to:
Modifying Undergraduate Courses/Programs
Implementing New Undergraduate Programs
>Part I. Standard Process
>Part II. Fast-Track and Pilot Programs
>Part III. Guidelines for Proposals for New Degree Major Programs

Catalog Deadlines: The annual delivery date for new University Catalogs by April 1 requires a rigorous observance of deadlines for the submission of proposed changes or additions to the catalog. In order for new course proposals and substantive changes in academic programs to be made in the catalog, they need to have been submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Studies by March of the preceding year. Minor revisions must be submitted by the last week in September. The Undergraduate Curriculum Subcommittee considers all proposed changes. Normally, a representative from the department is expected to attend the Subcommittee meetings to answer questions about the request. If the Subcommittee recommends approval, the request is sent to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. With the approval of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, the course/curriculum changes are implemented and appear as appropriate in the University Catalog.

Procedures for Modifying Undergraduate Courses/Programs

Request for New Undergraduate Courses: Requests for a new undergraduate courses are made by filling out and submitting an Undergraduate Course Proposal form. After the request has been approved by the department, the School/College Curriculum Committee and the School/College Dean, it will be forwarded to the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies who will in turn submit it to the Undergraduate Curriculum Subcommittee. The Subcommittee will then make its recommendation to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. If the Dean of Undergraduate Studies approves the new course, it will be incorporated into the following year’s University Catalog, and it may be scheduled for offering during the academic year covered by that Catalog.

Request for Changes in Undergraduate Courses: Departments requesting changes in existing undergraduate courses should fill out and submit the Undergraduate Course Change Request form, via the same approval process described above. This form should be used for courses involving changes in unit value, lecture-laboratory format, prerequisites and revisions in course title or description. Depending on the nature of the proposed change, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies may refer the request to the Undergraduate Curriculum Subcommittee for their recommendation.

Requests that Affect Another Course or Program: Changes that carry the potential of affecting offerings in another area must be reviewed by faculty in the affected department. All undergraduate and undergraduate course proposal forms include a section for review and consultation by the department or program that might be affected. Consultation should be invited before submitting the form for approval. If a change affects other courses or programs within the department making the request, the necessary adjustments should also be indicated on the form. Information on current course interrelationships may be obtained by calling the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

Minor Changes in Undergraduate Programs: Departments requesting changes and adjustments in majors, minors, and options need to fill out and submit an Undergraduate Program Change Request form. After approval at the school level, requests are forwarded to the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies who will in turn submit them to the Undergraduate Curriculum Subcommittee.

Procedures for Implementing New Undergraduate Programs

Certificates, Options, Concentrations and Minors. Under Executive Order No. 283, the authority to approve options, concentrations, and minors in some specified academic areas has been delegated to the President of the University. In many other areas, the approval of the Chancellor’s Office is still required. Proposals for certificates, options, concentrations, and minors use the Undergraduate Program Proposal form. The proposal should address most of the items in III below. The curriculum approval process described above is used. Departments or schools that wish to institute a new certificate, option, concentration or minor should discuss their proposal informally with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies early in the planning stage. Advice on format and procedures should be obtained prior to the preparation of the detailed program proposal.Program proposals must receive a substantive review and approval at the School/College and University levels.

New Degree Programs: New undergraduate degree programs must be approved by the Undergraduate Curriculum Subcommittee, the Academic Policy and Planning Committee, and the Academic Senate. They must also be reviewed by the University Budget Committee. Programs are then forwarded to the Chancellor’s Office for final approval before they can be offered on campus. Also, substantial changes in an existing program may require Chancellor’s Office approval, depending upon the magnitude of the change requested. A request for a substantial change in an existing program is treated as a new program so far as the local consultative process is concerned. In order for a degree program to be considered for approval at the Chancellor’s Office, it needs to be submitted by the Dean of Undergraduate Studies for addition to the campus Master Plan. Only programs included in the current campus Master Plan will be accepted for consideration by the Chancellor’s Office. Departments or schools that wish to institute a new major previously approved for inclusion on the Academic Master Plan should discuss their proposal informally with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies early in the planning stage. Advice on format and procedures should be obtained prior to the preparation of the detailed program proposal. The Undergraduate Program Proposal form is used and the items listed in III below are addressed in the proposal.

There are three possible ways to propose new undergraduate degree programs: the standard process (involves two steps), the fast track, and the pilot program. Fast track and pilot programs do not have to be placed on the Academic Master Plan as the first step toward authorization. This shortens the process by about one year. However, they are required to be carefully planned and are subject to the campus review and approval process (see attached flow charts). In addition, there are specific eligibility criteria that have to be met for both fast track and pilot programs, and each campus is limited in the number of programs it may propose as pilot programs. If the pilot program is the process by which you are planning to propose a new degree, please check with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies to see if this campus is within its annual limit and if the program is still available.

Part I. Standard Process

A. Step 1. Inclusion on Approved Master Plan

  1. Departments (or schools) that desire to institute a new undergraduate degree program must first include the program on the Academic Master Plan for the university. To accomplish this, the instructional unit should engage in informal discussions with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, and with the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  2. A formal request with justifications to have the new program placed on the Master Plan is then prepared by the instructional unit. This request is a brief (2 - 3 page) overall description of the degree to be proposed with a justification for the degree to be offered by this institution at this time. The request is then filed with the Office of Undergraduate Studies for submission to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee, the President, and the Chancellor's Office for approval by the CSU Board of Trustees. In general, there is one call for the submission of such requests that is made with a deadline for receipt in October (see chart in Part II). Review by the Board of Trustees may occur in January-February, with notice for formal approval of the campus Master Plan being received shortly thereafter. This approval does not authorize the new program, but provides the authority to pursue the development of a formal proposal.
  3. After the inclusion of the new program on the Master Plan, the instructional unit then prepares the formal proposal according to the Chancellor's Office requirements. See Guidelines for Proposals for New Degree Programs in Part III.

B. Step 2. Program Approval and Authorization

  1. The on-campus approval of the proposed new undergraduate program first requires review and approval by department and school committees and the College/School Dean prior to consideration by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee. Twelve copies of the first draft of the program proposal are submitted to the Office of Undergraduate Studies two weeks prior to the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee meeting scheduled for first reading consideration. The approval process at this level consists of two readings scheduled fifteen working days apart.
  2. After the first reading approval, the proposal is revised to incorporate any recommendations made by the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee in its first reading.
  3. Copies of the abstract of the proposal and proposed catalog description as required by the Chancellor’s Office are distributed to all department chairs, with the notation that the detailed program is available in the College/School Dean’s office. Comments on the program are to be directed to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, who will send copies to the appropriate committee chair or administrator.
  4. At its second reading, the Undergraduate Curriculum Committee will consider the proposal, along with all relevant comments that have been received by the Committee and the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. If approved, the proposal is forwarded to the Executive Committee for review by the Academic Senate.
  5. Recommendations of the Academic Senate are forwarded to the University President. Following final consideration and approval by the President, the proposal is forwarded to the Chancellor’s Office by the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs.
  6. Final authorization for the campus to offer the new degree program is granted by the Chancellor following staff review and review by the California Postsecondary Education Commission. The Office of Undergraduate Studies is responsible for monitoring progress of the proposal through the review process.

Part II. Fast-Track and Pilot Programs

A. Fast Track Process

1. A program can be placed on the fast track only if eligible as follows:

  • it can be offered at a high level of quality by the campus within the campus’s existing resource base, or there is a demonstrated capacity to fund the program on a self-support basis;
  • it is not subject to specialized accreditation by an agency that is a member of the Association of Specialized and Professional Accreditors, or it is currently offered as an option or concentration that is already recognized and accredited by an appropriate specialized accrediting agency;
  • it can be adequately housed without major capital outlay;
  • it is consistent with all existing state and federal law and trustee policy;
  • it is a bachelor’s degree program;
  • the program has been subject to a thorough campus review and approval process (proposals should follow the guidelines found in Part III).

2. Requirement for inclusion in the master plan is waived.

3.Two approval cycles per year are available. Proposals are due to the Chancellor's Office by the end of December or early June. A program is automatically approved if no questions are raised by a specific date.

4. The program is removed from the Academic Plan if not implemented within five years (or date originally projected for implementation).

B. Pilot Program

  1. A pilot program can be implemented without being placed on the campus Academic Plan. This requires the acknowledgment, but not the prior approval of, the Chancellor's Office and CPEC, and it is identified as a pilot program in the next annual update of the campus Academic Plan.
  2. A pilot program is proposed using guidelines outlined in Part III.
  3. A limited number of degree programs may be established as pilot programs under the following conditions:

a. A program can be established as a pilot program only if it meets the criteria for fast-track programs as stated above (see Part II, B.1).

b. A pilot program is authorized to operate only for five years. If no further action is taken by the end of the five years, no new students can be admitted to the program.

c. A pilot program can be converted to regular-program status and approved to continue to operate indefinitely if the following conditions are met:

  • the campus has committed the resources necessary to maintain the program beyond five years;
  • a thorough program evaluation has shown the program to be of high quality, to be attractive to students, and to produce graduates attractive to prospective employers and/or undergraduate programs, as appropriate;
  • the required approval by the board and the chancellor has been obtained after review and comment by the Chancellor's Office and CPEC.

d. The campus is obliged to notify the Chancellor's Office of the establishment of the program and its curricular requirements prior to program implementation.

Approximate timelines for New Graduate Proposals: Submission, Review, Approval
Campus Review
(Grad. Comm.,
Senate, Provost, Pres.)
Board of
1. Standard

2. Final
October January 2 March Agenda N.A.
Fast Track

(Two Opportunities Yearly)
September 1
February 1
January 1 & June 1 March agenda
Sept Agenda
Pilot Program No Deadline No Deadline After Program Review** After Program Review**

* approval automatic if no questions

**Program continuation after 5 years requires BOT/CPEC approval after Program Review

PART III. Guidelines for Proposals for New Degree Major Programs

A campus, in accordance with its approved academic master plan, submits detailed proposals for new degree major programs to the Division of Educational Programs and Resources for review and approval in the academic year preceding projected implementation. Approval of any degree major program is subject to campus assurances that financial support, qualified faculty, physical facilities and library holdings sufficient to establish and maintain the program will be available within current budgetary support levels. (See attached flow charts.) The proposal must follow the format below:

A. Definition of the Proposed Degree Major Program

  1. Name of the campus submitting the request, the full and exact designation (degree terminology) for the proposed degree major program, and academic year of intended implementation.
  2. Name of the department, departments, division or other unit of the campus, which would offer the proposed degree, major program. Identify the unit which will have primary responsibility.
  3. Name, title, and rank of the individual(s) primarily responsible for drafting the proposed degree major program.
  4. The mission, goals, and objectives of the proposed major degree program. A complete five-year assessment plan should be submitted no later than one year from the date the program is approved by the Chancellor’s Office (see Guide to Outcomes Assessment of Student Learning)
  5. Total number of units required for the major. List of all courses, by catalog number, title, and units of credit, to be specifically required for a major under the degree program. Identify those new courses which are 1) needed to initiate the program and 2) needed during the first two years after implementation. Include proposed catalog description of all new courses.
  6. List of elective courses, by catalog number, title, and units of credit, which can be used to satisfy requirements for the major. Identify those new courses which are 1) needed to initiate the program and 2) needed during the first two years after implementation. Include proposed catalog description of all new courses.

    (Note: With regard to 5 and 6, a proposed program should take advantage of courses already offered in other departments when subject matter would otherwise overlap or duplicate existing course content.)
  7. If any formal options, concentration, or special emphases are planned under the proposed major, explain fully.
  8. Course prerequisites and other criteria for admission of students to the proposed program.
  9. Explanation of special characteristics of the proposed degree major program, e.g., in terminology, units of credit required, types of course work, foreign language qualifying exams, culminating experience, etc.
  10. Provision for meeting accreditation requirements, where applicable, and anticipated date of accreditation request.

B. Need for the Proposed Degree Major Program

  1. List of other California State University campuses currently offering or projecting the proposed degree major program; list of neighboring institutions, public and private, currently offering the proposed degree major program.
  2. Differences between the proposed program and programs listed in B.1 above.
  3. List of other curricula currently offered by the campus that are closely related to the proposed program. Enrollment figures during the past three years in specified courses or programs closely related to the proposed degree major program. If a formal minor, option, or concentration is offered in the proposed subject area, indicate the number of students enrolled.
  4. Results of a formal survey in the geographical areas to be served, indicating demand for individuals who have earned the proposed degree and evidence of serious student interest in majoring in the proposed program. Justify any discrepancies between national/statewide/professional manpower surveys and local findings. Sample surveys are provided in Appendix C. Feel free to adapt them to suit your program.
  5. For graduate program, the number of declared undergraduate majors and the degree production over the preceding three years for the corresponding baccalaureate program.
  6. Professional uses of the proposed degree major program.
  7. The expected number of majors in the year of initiation and three years and five years thereafter. The expected number of graduates in the year of initiation and three years and five years thereafter.

C. Existing Support Resources for the Proposed Degree Major Program

Note: Sections C and D and Table I should be prepared in consultation with the campus administrators responsible for faculty staffing and instructional facilities allocation and planning.

  1. Faculty members, with rank, appointment status, highest degree earned, date and field of highest degree, and professional experience (including publications), who would form the graduate consultative body for the proposed program.
  2. Space and facilities that would be used in support of the proposed program. Show how this space is currently used and what alternate arrangements, if any, will be made for the current occupant.
  3. Library resources to support the program, specified by subject areas, volume count, periodical holdings, etc.
  4. Equipment and other specialized materials currently available.

D. Additional Support Resources Required

Note: If additional support resources will be needed to implement and maintain the program, a statement by the responsible administrator(s) should be attached to the proposal assuring that such resources will be provided.

  1. Complete Table I: Enrollment and faculty positions should be shown for all discipline categories that will increase because of the new program. If faculty positions are to be transferred into the new program from other areas, the appropriate discipline category should show the reductions in faculty positions.
  2. Indicate any special characteristics of the additional faculty or staff support positions needed to implement the proposed program.
  3. Show the amount of additional lecture and/or laboratory space required to initiate and sustain the program over the next five years. Indicate any additional special facilities that will be required. If the space is planned, indicate campus wide priority of the facility, capital outlay program priority, and projected date of occupancy.
  4. List additional library resources needed. Indicate the commitment of the campus to purchase or borrow through inter-library loan these additional resources.
  5. Note additional equipment or specialized materials that will be 1) needed to implement the program and 2) needed during the first two years after initiation. Indicate source of funds and priority to secure these resource needs.
  6. Note student sources of support that will be available such as scholarships, teaching associates, graduate assistantships and/or fellowships.
  7. Complete the new program budget analysis form (Appendix F). Indicate the method of funding (e.g. existing, new, development, special allocation, etc.) If appropriate, state that no new resources are required and indicate how this will work. Internal reallocations must be explained.

E. Abstract of the Proposal and Proposed Catalog Description

Attach an abstract of the foregoing proposal, not to exceed two pages, and a complete proposed catalog description, including admission and degree requirements.

New Major Chart (pdf)