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Undergraduate Program and Course Development

Academic Program Approval Requirements

Undergraduate Curriculum Proposal Checklist

Undergraduate Curriculum Procedures

Catalog Deadlines

University curriculum committees consider all proposed course and program creations and revisions. If proposals are approved, they are sent to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies, designee of the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs. With the Dean’s approval, changes are implemented and appear as appropriate in the University Catalog.

The annual delivery date of April 1 for the next-year University Catalog requires that proposed program changes to the catalog must receive final approval by end of March. Such proposals that haven’t secured final approval by April 1 will be held on the agenda of the Curriculum Committee until fall semester, and will not be included in the next-year catalog. Minor revisions that do not alter program/graduation requirements can be updated year-round. 

Procedures for Creating/Modifying Courses/Programs

New Course Proposal (including conversion of Topic (T) course)

1. Complete the New Course Proposal form via Bizflow. The form has several components, one of which is “Justification” that includes more than the reasons you propose this course.

2. Attach via Bizflow the New Course Proposal Justification which should include:

     a. How the proposed course relates to the program’s student learning outcomes;

     b. How the proposed course relates to the long-range plans for curriculum development in your degree program;

     c. Describe the role the proposed course will play (required course in the major, elective course in the major, service course, etc.);

     d. The mode of instruction, unit value and appropriate Course Classification (C/S) factor need to be correctly identified and assigned.

     e. Describe required pre-requisites and/or co-requisites, if any. Pre-requisites should be carefully and sparingly considered, to ensure they are essential in skill building prior to taking the proposed course. Unnecessary pre-requisites complicate scheduling and delay student progress.

     f. Describe other changes being made concurrently in the program and the total impact. For example, does this new course require modification of the program/graduation requirement?

    g. Describe staffing and resource changes that are needed to accommodate offering the proposed course; and

     h. Describe consultations with other programs undertaken as part of this proposal. Is this new course used by other degree programs on campus and does it affect these programs’ graduation requirement?

3. Attach via Bizflow a syllabus for the course that is accessible, contains all elements required in APM 241 and follows the model course syllabus template.

Course Change Request

1. Complete the Course Change Request form via Bizflow.

2. This form should be used for existing courses to 1) Revise Course with unit value, lecture-laboratory format, prerequisites, course classification, course title or description, or adding/deleting a W or S requirement; 2) Delete Course; or 3) Reactivate Course. 

3. Catalog description: Provide a copy of the current catalog description that underscores new language and strikes through old language that is to be deleted. Then provide a clean copy of the new catalog description.

4. Attach via Bizflow the Course Change Request Justification which should include (if applicable);

     a. Why this change is being proposed, and how the change will improve program quality and student learning.  Would the change affect faculty workload related to enrollment?

     b. If the proposed revision changes course unit value, will that affect student graduation requirement?  What other changes in your curriculum must occur with this revision?

     c. Will the modification affect other department/programs?  Changes that carry the potential of affecting offerings in another area must be reviewed by faculty in the affected department(s).

     d. Will existing articulation with our feeder colleges need to be changed?

5. Attach via Bizflow a syllabus for the course that is accessible, contains all elements required in APM 241 and follows the model course syllabus template. For unit value changes, attach the old syllabus and new syllabus.

Program Change Request

1. Complete the Program Change Request form via Bizflow.

2. This form should be used for adjustments to degree, minor, certificate and credential programs due to course changes, revision of electives, changes in additional requirements, rearrangement of required courses, changes in unit requirements, etc.

3. Attach via Bizflow the Program Change Request Justification which should include;

     a. Why this change is being proposed;

     b. How program review/assessment influenced the development of this proposal and in what ways the change can enhance student learning outcome; and

     c. Describe consultations with other programs if the program change affects these programs. For program and course interrelationships across campus, please consult the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

4. Catalog description: Provide a copy of the current catalog description that underscores new language and strikes through old language that is to be deleted. Then provide a clean copy of the new catalog description.

Note: All the above curriculum work is conducted via Bizflow, either it’s a new course, a course change or a program change. When a request is initiated on Bizflow, it is reviewed/approved by the department Curriculum Committee, the College/School Curriculum Committee, and the College/School Dean. Then the request comes to Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies where it is directed to the appropriate curriculum sub committees (Writing, Service Learning or GE, and finally Undergraduate Curriculum Subcommittee). These committees make recommendations to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies before a final decision is reached. Once approved, a new or revised course can be offered in the following semester, but program changes won’t take effect until the following academic year and won’t appear in the current-year catalog.

Procedures for Implementing New Degree Programs

New Degree Programs

There are three submission routes to pursue: (1) the standard process, (2) the fast-track process, or (3) the pilot process.  Trustee-approved criteria for the fast-track and pilot processes must be met in order to proceed through these optional paths (eligibility for fast-track and pilot programs is given in Part II of this section).

New degree program proposals submitted via the standard process need to be first placed as a request on campus Master Plan for approval by Chancellor’s Office.  Once that approval is granted, formal proposal of a new degree program can start, to be reviewed and approved by Department/College curriculum committees, Dean, the appropriate University Curriculum Committee, the Academic Policy and Planning Committee, the University Budget Committee, the Academic Senate and the President. Then the proposal is forwarded to the Chancellor’s Office for final approval before it can be offered on campus. 

Substantial changes in an existing program may require Chancellor’s Office approval, depending upon the magnitude of the change. A request for a substantial change in an existing program may be treated as requesting for a new program so far as the local consultative process is concerned. The items listed in the Chancellor’s Office template (see CSU Program Proposal Template) must be addressed in the proposal.

The fast track proposal needs to be noted on the Master Plan including a very brief description of the program and rationale for offering it.  This is only notification to the Chancellor’s Office.  The pilot program does not have to be placed on the Master Plan. This shortens the process by about one year. However, they must be carefully planned and are subject to the campus review and approval process. Specific eligibility criteria 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 you plan to use the pilot program as a stepping stone to propose a new degree, please check with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies to see if the campus is within its annual limit for pilot programs.

Part I. Standard Process

A. Step 1. Adding New Degrees to Academic Master Plan

1. Departments (or colleges/schools) that desire to institute a new degree program must first include it on the Academic Master Plan for the university. To accomplish this, the instructional unit should first engage in informal discussions with the Dean of Undergraduate Studies.

2. A formal request to place the new program on the Master Plan needs to be prepared by the instructional unit, and submitted in the academic year before starting the formal proposal. This request is a brief (2 - 3 page) overall description of the degree with a justification, and should be turned in to the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies by October each year (see chart in Part II). The Master Plan is submitted in early January to the Chancellor's Office for approval by the CSU Board of Trustees. Review by the Board of Trustees may occur in January-February, with notice of formal approval shortly thereafter. This approval does not authorize the new program, but gives the “go-ahead” to pursue the development of a formal proposal

B. Step 2. Program Proposal Process and Approval

1. After approval of the new program on the Master Plan by Trustees, the instructional unit then prepares the formal proposal according to the Chancellor's Office requirements. See Chancellor’s Office Program Proposal Template and Tips.

2. Complete a New Program Proposal via Bizflow.

     a. Attach a new Degree Program Proposal

     b. Attach a catalog description including admission and degree requirements

     c. Attach a degree Roadmap

3. New or revised courses as part of the new degree program need to be proposed using New Course Proposal or Course Change Request via Bizflow as discussed in the previous section about courses.

4. The on-campus approval of the proposed new program is conducted via Bizflow, and first requires review and approval by Department and College/school committees and the College/School Dean, prior to consideration by the appropriate university curriculum committee. The approval process at the university level consists of two readings.

     a. After the first reading, the proposal is revised by the instructional unit to incorporate recommendations made by the committee. Notice of the proposed program is distributed to all department chairs that the program proposal is available for review from the Office of the Dean of Undergraduate Studies. Comments on the program are to be directed to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies for distribution.

     b. At its second reading, the committee will consider the proposal along with all relevant comments that have been received. If approved, the proposal is forwarded to the Academic Policy and Planning Committee, Budget Committee and then the full Academic Senate for review and approval.

5. Recommendations of the Academic Senate are forwarded to the University President. With the 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. 

Part II. Fast-Track and Pilot Programs

A. Fast-Track Process

The fast-track process shortens the time to implementation by allowing proposals to be submitted at the same time that the projection is proposed to the Trustees.  Fast-track proposals still undergo system-level review, and the fast track does not move the proposal through an expedited review process.

1. To be proposed via fast-track, a degree program must meet all of the following criteria:

     a. 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;

     b. 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;

     c. It can be adequately housed without major capital outlay project;

     d. It is consistent with all existing state and federal law and trustee policy;

     e. The proposed program shall be subject to a thorough campus review and approval process (proposals should follow the format specified by the Chancellor’s Office, see Procedures for Fast-Track Degree Programs).

2. When submitting an updated campus Master Plan, the fast track proposal needs to be noted including a very brief description of the program and a rational for offering it 

3. Two approval cycles per year are available, the first Monday in January-for July approval or the second Monday in June-for December approval.  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 Master 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 Master Plan. This requires the acknowledgment, but not the prior approval of, the Chancellor's Office and California Postsecondary Education Commission (CPEC), and it is identified as a pilot program in the next annual update of the campus Master Plan.

2. A pilot program is proposed using the format specified by the Chancellor’s Office, see Pilot Program Proposal Template.

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, A.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 graduate 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.

Note: All new programs, either standard, fast-track or pilot, must undergo program review within five years of implementation.

Approximate Timelines for New Proposals:

Submission, Review, Approval


Campus Review (Curriculum, Senate, Provost, President)

Chancellor’s Office

Board of Trustees



1. Master Plan

 2. Final




No deadline




No deadline


March agenda





 Six  months or longer

Fast Track
(Two opportunities yearly)

September 1
February 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. 

C. Converting Pilot Programs to Regular Program Status

Conversion to regular program status requires that the campus submit to the Chancellor’s Office a pilot-conversion proposal, which includes:

1. All relevant program identification information,

2. A program catalog description including a list of all curricular requirements,

3. A thorough program evaluation, including an on-site review by one or more experts in the field,

4. A comprehensive assessment plan which includes;

     a. all current student learning outcomes,

     b. a representative sample of one or more years of student learning outcome data, and

     c. a description of strategies applied to address areas of concern (closing the loop),

5. Evidence of adequate faculty and facilities resources,

6. Enrollment statistics over the prior five years,

7. Evidence of program quality,

8. Evidence of societal need (including labor-market demand),

9. Evidence of continued student demand,

10. Appropriateness to institutional mission, and

11. A brief narrative on how the program prepares graduates for employment and/or graduate education.

For self-support programs, please provide a complete budget indicating all revenue sources and anticipated expenditures as well as the per-unit cost to students, the total cost to complete the program, and a cost recovery budget.  See the Self-Support Sample Budget Template.

The standard “Program Proposal Template” should be used.  Be sure to include an on-site review by one or more experts in the field.  

Campuses electing not to convert to regular status are expected to submit a letter of discontinuation, specifying program teach-out provisions.

Procedures for Implementing New Options, Concentrations, and Special Emphases

Procedures for Implementing New Options, Concentrations, and Special Emphases

While the CSU does not have systemwide definitions of options, concentrations, emphases, and special emphases in practice, these are considered “subprograms” that are minimal requirements relative to the major core.  In order to ensure “meaning, quality, and integrity” of degrees we offer (WASC), approved campus degree programs shall maintain consistent requirements that reflect the approved title and offer sufficient opportunities for students to achieve the degree-program’s learning outcomes. It is a requirement by the Chancellor’s Office we provide accurate reporting of enrollments and degrees granted, and the major program core must have as many or more required units than the number of units in required subprograms (options, concentrations or emphases).  See Example below.


RESTRUCTURED BS in Family and Consumer Sciences (33 units)

Required Courses (18 units)

FCS 141 Research Methods (3)
FCS 142 Research Applications (3)
FCS 155 Decision Making in Family and Consumer Sciences (3)
FCS 156 Current Issues in Family and Consumer Sciences (3)
FCS 162 Family and Consumer Public Policy (3)
HHD 176LCH: Leadership/Professional Competencies for Health and Human Development Disciplines (3)

Options (12 units)

Apparel Design and Merchandising (ADM)

Consumer Affairs and Family Studies

FCS 135 Theories & Applications in ADM (3)

FCS 123 Family Financial Issues (3)

FCS 145 Textiles and Apparel in the Global Economy (3)

FCS 143 Theories of Family Development (3)

FCS 175 Textile Technology for ADM (3)

FCS 140 Family Strengths (3)

FCS 164C Filed Study or FCS 166C Research (3)

FCS 169D Fam Manage (3) or FCS 169J Fam Relations (3)

Culminating Experience (3 units)

FCS 179C Directed Comprehensive Studies (3) or FCS 178C Thesis/Project (3)

As shown in the example, the required core courses have more units than each of the option specific courses. The latter cannot be “tail-heavy” with more units than the core.

Presidents are delegated the authority to approve only those options, concentrations, and special emphases for which there are sufficient faculty, physical facilities, and library holdings to establish and maintain the proposed curriculum.

One Degree Title - One Curriculum

When adding subprograms campuses are to maintain the degree requirements associated with a degree program approved by the Chancellor’s Office; substantive curricular changes are to be approved by the campus curriculum-approval process.

Departments and colleges/schools that wish to institute a new option, special emphases, 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 College/School and University levels.

Implementation Procedures

1. Complete the New Program Proposal via Bizflow.

2. Attach via Bizflow the Proposal Template for New Options, Concentrations, and Special Emphases.  This template is also used for Certificates and Credential Programs.

3. Certificates – when more than one department is sharing a certificate the department administering the certificate should submit the proposal.  An approval of the other department(s) must be attached to the Bizflow process.

Per EO 1071, before any option, concentration, or emphasis can be implemented, the Dean of Undergraduate Studies shall submit to Academic Programs and Faculty Development the following information so that the Chancellor’s Office can confirm that the campus has assigned the correct concentration code for enrollment reporting purposes:

1. The exact title of the new option, concentration or special emphasis;

2. A list of courses constituting that new subprogram;

3. A list of courses constituting the generic major degree program;

4. The CSU degree program code (formerly called “HEGIS”) that students will use to apply to the sub-program (option, concentration) along with the concentration code assigned to the sub-program, if different;

5. The complete degree designation and title of the degree program housing the new subprogram (e.g. Bachelor of Science in Biology with a Concentration in Biochemistry); and

6. Documentation that all campus-required curricular approvals are in place.

Adding Self-Support Concentrations

In addition to the above information, please include the following for self-support programs (in conformance with EO 1099 and EO 1102):

1. Specification of how all required EO 1099 self-support criteria are met

2. The proposed program does not replace existing state-support courses or programs

3. Academic standards associated with all aspects of such offerings are identical to those of comparable state-supported CSU instructional programs

4. Explanation of why state funds are either inappropriate or unavailable

5. A cost-recovery program budget is included*

*Basic Cost Recovery Budget Elements (Three to five year budget projection)

Student per-unit cost

     Number of units producing revenue each academic year

     Total cost a student will pay to complete the program

 Revenue - (yearly projection over three years for a two-year program; five years for a   four-year program)

     Student fees

     Include projected attrition numbers each year

     Any additional revenue sources (e.g., grants)

 Direct Expenses

     Instructional costs – faculty salaries and benefits

     Operational costs – (e.g., facility rental)

     Extended Education costs – staff, recruitment, marketing, etc.

     Technology development and ongoing support (online programs)

 Indirect Expenses

     Campus partners

     Campus reimbursement general fund

     Extended Education overhead

     Chancellor’s Office overhead

Procedures for Implementing New Minors, Pre-Majors, Certificates, and Credential Programs

Minor / Pre-Major / Certificate


In addition to academic majors, the university offers a number of minors. A minor is a formal set of courses in a designated subject area distinct from a student's major. The intent of a minor is to provide a condensed and cohesive academic experience, in addition to a major. Minors consist of a minimum of 12 semester units, at least 6 of which must be upperdivision residence units. Minors must be completed with a minimum GPA of 2.0. Minors offered by academic departments and programs are listed on page 90-91 of this catalog. Detailed descriptions are found in the listings of the particular departments and programs. Courses in the minor may not also count toward a student's major except as Additional Requirements to that major. However, courses fulfilling requirements for a minor usually may be counted toward General Education. Refer to the description of the specific minor for exceptions.

Things to Consider When Proposing a Minor

1. Who are the target students? Typically a minor program targets students outside your major.  Have you done “market research” to verify you have the demand for the proposed minor?

2. Have you coordinated with your target academic programs to examine curriculum needs for their students who may potentially take your minor?  Keep in mind required major courses cannot be used in a minor. If your target program students also take your major courses as their requirement, be sure these courses are not in the minor.

3. How many students are expected in the minor program?

4. Does your program have other minors, if yes, how many courses overlap between the minors? 


A set of interdisciplinary courses comprised of a minimum of 12 units focusing on a special area of study.  Students are not required to be matriculated or be undergraduates. Certificates are awarded upon completion of the program regardless of catalog year or degree status. Consult the index for a complete list of certificates available. The university awards three types of certificates. They include the Certificate of Completion, the Certificate of Special Study, and the Certificate of Advanced Study. Search Certificates in Degree Requirements for more information.

Campus Authority

Presidents have the authority to approve the implementation of minors.  See Executive Order 1071.

Implementation Procedures

1. Complete the New Program Proposal via Bizflow.

2. Attach via Bizflow the Proposal Template for New Minors, Pre-Majors, Certificates, and Credential Programs

3. Certificates – when more than one department is sharing a certificate the department administering the certificate should submit the proposal.  An approval of the other department(s) must be attached to the Bizflow process.

Elevating Options and Concentrations to Full Degree Major Programs

Elevating Options and Concentrations to Full Degree Major Programs

An implementation proposal is required to elevate a formal option, concentration, or emphasis to a full degree program. 

Implementation Procedures

1. Complete the Program Change Proposal via Bizflow.

     a.  Attach an Elevation Proposal.  Elevating Options or Concentrations to a Full Degree Program Template.

     b.  Attach a side-by-side comparison showing the course requirements for the program are meeting Executive Order 1071 Requirements. Side-by-Side Degree/Option Comparison Template

2.  Provide a copy of the current catalog that underscores new language and strikes through old language that is to be deleted.

The elevation process requires system-level review and approval.  To merit approval the new degree program must not have significant overlap with the requirements of the existing degree program from which it was derived. The existing concentration will need to be discontinued when the degree elevation is approved, as programs should not have significantly overlapping content.

For more information see the California State University website.

Procedures for Reviewing an Undergraduate Program for Discontinuation


University Budget Committee Budget Analysis Guidelines

It is the charge of the University Budget Committee to provide an analysis of budgetary impact to the Academic Senate of those proposals submitted for Senate for approval.  Subsequent to implementing the present decentralized budget allocation model, the University Budget Committee now expects the initiating department/program to provide a reasoned estimate of those changes that will result from implementation of their proposal.  The estimate is to be provided in the form of quantitative and narrative descriptions, so as to permit University Budget Committee analysis.  The University Budget Committee also requires evidence that the proposal has received fiscal review at the College/School level.  The University Budget Committee therefore requests that departments/programs use the following guidelines in providing the information required.

1. Projected changes in enrollment (FTES)

     a. What is the recent enrollment history of the program and what effect will the proposed changes have on enrollment?

     b. If FTES is expected to increase, what proportion represents new FTES and what proportion represents shifts from existing programs?

     c. How did you estimate your expected changes in enrollment?

2. Projected changes in existing curriculum

     a. Will there be changes in the cost of delivering the curriculum?  What will those costs be and what is their basis?

     b. For new courses, what is the estimated class size, frequency, and level/classification (“S” or “C” classification) of course delivery?  Please specify.

     c. For courses currently being offered, will there be changes in class size, frequency, level or classification of course delivery?  Please specify.

     d. Will courses be dropped from the existing curriculum?  Please list specific courses.

3. Projected changes in faculty

     a. Will there be a shift in faculty assignments?  If so, what will be the difference between current and proposed assignments?

     b. Will there be shifts in faculty numbers or distribution (T/TT vs FT/PT)?  If so, what will they be?

     c. Will new positions be added/required and what resources will be used to acquire them?

4. Projected changes in budget

     a. What is your current operating budget?

     b. What are your current positions (T, TT, FT, PT, staff)?

     c. Do you anticipate outside revenue to support your program (state funds, grants/contracts, endowments, etc.)?

     d. Will budget requirements change and what will those changes be (e.g. in operating budget, facilities, equipment, technical support, staff, etc.)?  Please specify.

     e. Will there be any increase in administrative roles/responsibilities that require buy-back or release time?

     f. How will the expected changes in budget requirements be met?

     g. Has the budgetary impact of the proposal been reviewed by the College/School Budget Committee and Office of the Dean?

5. Effect on Support Services and programs in other Colleges/Schools

     a. Are support services (e.g. Library, AIC) required for program implementation and function?

     b. Are programs in other Colleges/Schools directly affected by the proposal and in what way?

     c. Who are the representatives in the affected service areas and/or Schools/Colleges that have been contacted?

 Questions or Assistance

Please contact the Office of Undergraduate Studies.