Academic Plan Approval FAQ

The development and revision of academic plans is a significant and time-consuming process.

There are six opportunities per year for new and changed program approval by the Board of Regents. Dates for the 2022-2023 meetings of the Board of Regents and corresponding Provost's Office deadlines are listed below. The public review period occurs following Provost review and prior to the Board of Regents (BoR) meeting.

2022-2023 Deadlines:

  1. Provost's Office: Aug 5, 2022 (for consideration at September 8-9 BoR meeting)
  2. Provost's Office: Sept 9, 2022 (for consideration at October 13-14 BoR meeting)
  3. Provost's Office: Nov 11, 2022 (for consideration at December 15-16 BoR meeting)
  4. Provost's Office: Jan 6, 2023 (for consideration at February 9-10 BoR meeting)
  5. Provost's Office: April 7, 2023 (for consideration at May 11-12, BoR meeting)
  6. Provost's Office: May 5, 2023 (for consideration at June 8-9, BoR meeting)

A detailed timeline and step-by-step guide of of the process is available at this link:

Program Approval Process and Timeline

Important Timeline Information:

Proposals that have advanced to the Provost PCAS Queue by the deadline dates listed do not guarantee their inclusion on the next immediate docket. Proposals will be advanced to the Regents when they are deemed complete at each level of review. 

New or changed program proposals must be for future terms (see detailed timeline link for earliest implementation terms).

New undergraduate degree majors on the Twin Cities campus will require review by the Campus Curriculum Committee prior to being advanced to the Board of Regents for review.

Effective July 1, 2020, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), our institutional accrediting body, also requires notification, and in some instances, prior approval of new or substantially changed academic programs. Following Provost and Board of Regents approval, new and substantially revised programs will be submitted by the Provost’s Office to the HLC through a screening form. In some cases, this process may result in HLC requiring a full application for prior approval of the academic program. The Provost’s Office will submit all materials regarding the new or changed program to HLC and facilitate this process. 

Academic programs cannot market, promote, actively recruit, or enroll students into a newly proposed program until formal Board of Regents approval and HLC notification (and in some cases approval) are final. In addition, all curriculum workflow steps must be completed and fully approved prior to students beginning in the program.

 

Frequently Asked Questions

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What is the difference between a proposal and PCAS?

The terms "proposal" and "PCAS" are often used interchangeably. In some ways, they are the same. They both contain important details about the program that is being created or changed. The main distinctions, however, are as follows:

  • Proposals are the development of and argument for the new or changed program. These are the documents created and circulated at the departmental and collegiate level, which provide the historical record of the early stages of the process. The content of these proposals is largely determined by what departments and colleges require for their internal review proceses.
  • Various components of proposals are entered into the Program and Curricular Approval System, or PCAS, the online tool for tracking academic programs at the institutional level. PCAS serves as the official university record and ensures that all program requirements are clearly articulated. Content from PCAS is published in the catalogs used by students and advisors.

What are you looking for when you review proposals and PCAS entries?

There are various points of emphasis at each stage in the process. For example:

  • Colleagues in Graduate and Undergraduate Education pay close attention to admission and degree requirements, compliance with university policy, and other factors specifically related to the academic success of students.
  • Review by the Academic Health Center and the Office of the Provost focus on things like need and demand, efficiency and effectiveness, support and resources, mission, collaboration, and program duplication.

Why do we need to consult with other colleges and units about our proposal?

Consultation fosters cross-campus communication and collaboration, ensures cross-college and institutional support, and identifies and addresses concerns of overlap between academic plans.

EVPP-level review includes an assessment to identify areas where consultation among units is or may be necessary, and the decision to recommend approval is dependent upon evidence of support.

What does consultation involve?

Consultation takes different forms and depends on the communication that exists between and among units as well as the new or changed academic plan being proposed. See The Consultation Process for additional guidance.

What needs to go before the Board of Regents?

New and major changes to existing programs need to be approved by the Provost and then the Board of Regents. These include but are not limited to:

  • new degree programs, minors, sub-plans, and certificates;
  • discontinued programs, minors, sub-plans, and certificates;
  • name changes to programs, minors, sub-plans, and certificates;
  • online and distance delivery of new or existing programs;
  • collaborations with other national or international institutions of higher education;
  • anything deemed significant by the Office of the Provost.

We are considering developing a degree program that would allow University of Minnesota undergraduate students to complete master’s coursework toward a particular master’s degree. How do we set this up?

These programs are referred to as Integrated Degree Programs (IDP) and must be approved by the Provost and Board of Regents. Please see the following guidance when developing IDP’s: Integrated Degree Program Guidelines

Please contact the following individuals for assistance at any stage: