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AA/PPS 02.01.10 - Academic Programs: Additions, Changes, and Deletions

Academic Programs: Additions, Changes, and Deletions

AA/PPS No. 02.01.10
Issue No. 4
Revised: 2/14/2023
Effective Date: 8/05/2021
Next Review Date: 9/01/2023 (ONY)
Sr. Reviewer: Assistant Vice President for Curriculum and Academic Programs


Texas State University is committed to maintaining a well-designed, effective process for developing academic programs.


    1. Texas State University faculty has primary responsibility for the content, quality, and effectiveness of the curriculum. The route for curriculum approval at Texas State is through a process controlled by faculty, which begins at the department, program, or school level followed by appropriate approvals within and external to the institution. Typically, new academic programs are developed within the framework of the six-year strategic planning processes. The finalized list of new academic programs approved for further development and potential launch is contained in the Academic Affairs division strategic plan within the university plan. This policy summarizes the key elements of that process and provides guidance for preparing proposals for new programs and for changing or deleting existing programs.

    2. All academic programs offered at Texas State are directly connected to the university’s mission. Initiating a new academic program at Texas State is intricately tied to the university’s strategic planning and master planning processes. This academic programming process is faculty-driven and begins at the academic unit where ideas for new academic programs are generated by faculty, in consideration of job market or workforce needs. Departments and schools review various proposal ideas for new programs and forward priorities to the college dean. At the college level, the priorities are vetted by the college leadership and a consolidated list of college planning priorities is submitted to the provost and executive vice president for Academic Affairs (provost) during the strategic planning time period. The provost reviews all the college-level priorities to formulate the Academic Affairs division strategic plan. The provost and college deans formally present their plans to the campus for a university-wide process that is inclusive to the university plan. Reviews at each level focus on multiple criteria to include the job market or workforce need, supply of similar majors from other public institutions in Texas, resources required, existing capacity and quality at the unit level, ability to meet the requirements of the 60X30TX, Texas Higher Education Strategic Plan: 2015-2030, Texas State’s National Research University Fund (NRUF) aspirations, projected enrollment, etc.

    3. The curricula in Texas State’s academic programs embody a coherent course of study in which, as a student progresses through a curriculum, the content of the program demands increasing levels of integration of knowledge. Academic programs demonstrate an appropriate sequencing of courses relevant to the field or discipline, so that course work is progressively more rigorous and demonstrates progressive advancement in a field that allows students to synthesize knowledge and grow in critical skills.

    4. * When considering the addition, change, or deletion of an academic program, faculty members should consult the department chairs, program directors, school directors, and college deans in their academic administrative unit and in other related programs, and if necessary, with outside experts. The college dean should then meet with the associate vice president for Academic Affairs and the dean of The Graduate College (if applicable for a graduate program) for an informal discussion about the program and to ensure consideration of the proposed addition, change, or deletion in appropriate strategic plans. Before writing begins, academic units should meet with the assistant vice president for Curriculum and Academic Programs regarding resources, templates, and processes for effective proposal development. For each major in a degree program, a faculty program coordinator academically qualified in the field must be assigned for purposes of program coordination, curriculum development, and review. If applicable for educator preparation programs, faculty should meet with the director of the Office of Educator Preparation about the program and ensure consideration of the proposed addition, change, or deletion meets Texas Education Agency’s Requirements for Educator Preparation Programs, Title 19, Part 7, Chapter 228, Rule §228.35.

    5. This policy conforms to the rules, regulations, and policies of The Texas State University System (TSUS) Board of Regents, the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB), and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).


    1. Academic Administrative Unit – a department, school, or college that has administrative authority over courses and academic programs.

    2. Academic Program Coordinator – for each major within a degree program, the academically qualified faculty member responsible for ensuring that each program contains essential curricular components, has appropriate content and pedagogy, and maintains currency in the field, as defined by AA/PPS No. 04.01.25, Academic Program Coordination.

    3. Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) Code – Each academic program is assigned a CIP code that corresponds to the major and subject matter of the program. CIP codes are used nationally to classify instructional programs and to report educational data. National CIP codes are six digits in length. Texas CIP codes have an additional four-digit extension that can further define the subject matter and the formula funding code. CIP codes and definitions are available on the THECB website. For academic program coordinator designation and assessment purposes, programs are ordinarily defined by the first four digits of the CIP code.

    4. Concentration – a grouping of courses within a major that is also known as an emphasis, option, specialization, or track.

    5. Core Faculty – full-time tenured or tenure-track faculty who devote an average of 50 percent or more workload to the program or other individuals integral to the proposed program. At least 50 percent of the faculty full-time equivalent (FTE) supporting a bachelor’s or master’s program must be core faculty. In a doctoral program, this also includes individuals integral to the doctoral program who can direct dissertation research. Some programs such as interdisciplinary degrees may have core faculty devoting less than 50 percent of their workload to the program. The background and education of each core faculty member shall be in the field of the program or in a closely related field.

    6. Credit Hour – For purposes of this policy and in accordance with federal regulations, as defined by SACSCOC in the Credit Hours Policy Statement regarding the definition and assignment of credit hours, a credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally-established equivalency that reasonably approximates:

      1. not less than one hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours out-of-class student work each week for approximately 15 weeks for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or 10 to 12 weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or

      2. at least an equivalent amount of work as outlined above for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internship, practicum, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

      A semester credit hour is defined by THECB as a unit of measure of instruction consisting of 60 minutes, of which 50 minutes must be direct instruction over a 15-week period in a semester system. Credit hours must be presented in whole numbers.

    7. Degree Program – a grouping of subject matter courses that, when satisfactorily completed by a student, shall entitle the student to a degree from Texas State. Degree programs should reflect a coherent sequencing of courses in which knowledge and skills are integrated in a progressive nature and the courses are appropriate to the field or discipline, as noted in SACSCOC Comprehensive Standard 9.1. The number of semester credit hours (SCH) required for a proposed degree program shall be comparable to the number of SCHs required for similar degree programs in the state. As defined by Texas Education Code, Section 61.0515 and in SACSCOC Comprehensive Standard 9.2, undergraduate degree programs shall require no more or less than 120 SCH unless there is a compelling academic reason for the number of required hours, such as programmatic accreditation requirements, statutory requirements, or licensure or certification requirements that cannot be met without exceeding the 120-hour limit. Master’s degree programs typically require at least between 30-36 hours, as noted in SACSOC Comprehensive Standard 9.2.

    8. Free or Open Electives – electives, if available in a program, which are consistent with similar programs and are selected by the student, subject to advisor approval.

    9. Learning Outcomes – the knowledge and skills a student is expected to acquire or achieve upon completion of the program. Measurement may be quantitative or qualitative, depending upon the subject matter.

    10. Major – a grouping of courses by subject matter or academic discipline. Undergraduate majors typically consist of 30 SCH and master’s are 18 hours.

    11. Marketable Skills – as discussed in the 60X30TX, Texas Higher Education Strategic Plan: 2015-2030, those skills valued by employers that can be applied in a variety of work settings including interpersonal, cognitive, and applied skill areas. Those skills can be either primary or complementary to a major and are acquired by students through education, including curricular, co-curricular, and extracurricular activities.

    12. Minor – a grouping of courses for a single discipline or from interdisciplinary areas that a student pursues in addition to a major. An undergraduate minor is less in-depth than a major and typically consists of at least 18 SCH, and a graduate minor is typically at least six SCH.

    13. Prescribed Electives – specific courses from which students must choose to meet curricular requirements of the program. Prescribed electives shall complement the required courses and are numerous enough to provide breadth and depth of study.

    14. Program Objectives – statements specifying desired knowledge, skills, behaviors, or attitudes to be developed as a result of educational experiences. To the extent possible, objectives are expected to be behavioral (i.e., observable and measurable).

    15. Qualifications of Faculty for Baccalaureate Program – to meet minimum SACSCOC standards (as defined in SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation Comprehensive Standard 6.2 a.), at least 25 percent of the course hours in each major at the baccalaureate level are taught by faculty members holding an appropriate terminal degree, usually the earned doctorate or the equivalent of the terminal degree. Beyond that minimum standard, the percentage of faculty with terminal degrees shall compare favorably to the percentage of faculty with terminal degrees at similar programs in the state and nation. With few exceptions, the master’s degree should be the minimum educational attainment for faculty teaching in baccalaureate programs.

    16. Qualifications of Faculty for Master’s Programs – to meet minimum SACSCOC standards, faculty supporting the master’s degree programs shall have terminal degrees, unless the institution determines other qualifications (as defined in SACSCOC Principles of Accreditation, Comprehensive Standard 6.2 a.) are a factor in effective teaching and student learning.

    17. Required Courses – courses taken by all students in the program. These courses shall meet all requirements for accreditation, licensure, or certification and shall be consistent with similar programs in the state and nation.

    18. Residency Requirements – Doctoral students must satisfy a one-year residency requirement defined as 18 graduate credit hours (as part of the required hours of course work) taken in residence at Texas State during consecutive fall, spring, and summer terms.

      To qualify for graduation with a bachelor’s degree, a student must complete, through Texas State course work, at least 25 percent of the minimum number of semester hours required for the degree; within this requirement, at least 24 semester hours must be advanced (junior or senior) and at least 12 hours of the advanced work must be completed in the major at Texas State. Additionally, at least 24 semester hours of the last 30 hours completed that are required for the degree must be taken at Texas State. Correspondence, extension, and off-campus course work completed through Texas State may be applied toward residency requirements. Credit-by-examination may not be applied toward residency.

    19. Support Faculty – a support faculty member includes:

      1. tenured or tenure-track faculty from related disciplines;

      2. adjunct faculty; and

      3. a graduate teaching assistant or assistant instructor who meets SACSCOC’s minimum requirements and serves as the instructor of record for a course.

    20. Teach-Out Plan – a written plan that provides for the equitable treatment of students who may be affected by a program closure or deletion.


    1. Program forms are available at the CATSWEB Program Inventory Management (PIM) login page.

    2. Program Additions

      Texas Administrative Code, Part 1, Chapter 5, Subchapter C, Rule 5.45 provides Criteria for New Baccalaureate and Master’s Degree Programs. Texas Administrative Code, Part 1, Chapter 5, Subchapter C, Rule 5.46 provides Criteria for New Doctoral Programs. All new programs must comply with these criteria. Faculty developing program addition proposals should pay close attention to these criteria. Additional information and instruction from THECB can be found in the Standards for Bachelor’s and Master’s Degree Programs.

    3. Program Changes

      Texas Administrative Code, Part 1, Chapter 5, Subchapter C, Rule 5.55 provides criteria for revisions to approved programs. Changes to existing programs may include major names, degree titles, admission requirements, credit hour requirements, CIP codes, administrative unit, resources, licensure, accreditation compliance, and course requirements. Program changes vary in review requirements, in that names of majors or degrees, CIP codes, administrative units, and credit hour requirements must be submitted to The TSUS and the THECB, while other changes like admissions, resources, licensure, accreditation, and courses necessitate only university-level reviews.

    4. Program Deletions

      SACSCOC’s Good Practices for Closing a Program, Site, Branch or Institution states, “A decision to close an educational program, site, branch campus, or the entire institution requires thoughtful planning and careful consultation with all affected constituencies. Every effort should be devoted to informing each constituency as fully as possible about the conditions compelling consideration of a decision of such importance, and all available information should be shared. As much as possible, the determination to close a program, site, branch campus, or the institution should be made through a consultative process and only after alternatives have been considered, but responsibility for the final decision to close rests with the institution’s governing board. Because the immediate interests of current students and faculty are most directly affected, their present and future prospects require especially sensitive and timely attention and involvement.”


    1. Depending on the scope of the proposed addition, change, or deletion, program proposals generally require the following reviews:

      1. department or school faculty (from the unit proposing the program addition, change, or deletion);

      2. Office of Educator Preparation (for Educator Preparation programs);

      3. department or school curriculum committee, or department or school faculty designated as the curriculum committee (if a department or school curriculum committee doesn’t exist);

      4. department chair, program director, or school director;

      5. college curriculum committee;

      6. college council;

      7. college dean;

      8. dean of The Graduate College (if applicable for graduate programs);

      9. associate vice president for Academic Affairs;

      10. University Curriculum Committee;

      11. Faculty Senate;

      12. Academic Affairs Council;

      13. provost;

      14. president;

      15. TSUS Board of Regents;

      16. institutions within a 50-mile radius;

      17. the THECB; and

      18. SACSCOC (if applicable as defined in P/PPS No. 02.01, Reporting Substantive Changes to Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC)).

    2. Detailed instructions for program additions, changes, and deletions are maintained on the Office of Curriculum Services website, along with review flow charts and timelines.

    3. After a program proposal has been fully approved, the Curriculum coordinator and assistant vice president for Curriculum and Academic Programs make all necessary additions, changes, and deletions in the catalogs and Student Information System. The undergraduate academic advisors and The Graduate College staff work with the Degree Works coordinator to make all necessary additions, changes, and deletions in the Degree Works system for degree programs.

    4. In the event that a program proposal receives a negative vote or is denied at any level, the proposal will be returned to the originating faculty for review and possible revisions and can be resubmitted for future consideration.


    1. Reviewers of this PPS include the following:
    Assistant Vice President for Curriculum and Academic ProgramsSeptember 1 ONY
    Chair, University Curriculum CommitteeSeptember 1 ONY
    Chair, Faculty SenateSeptember 1 ONY

    This PPS has been approved by the following individuals in their official capacities and represents Texas State Academic Affairs policy and procedure from the date of this document until superseded.

    Assistant Vice President for Curriculum and Academic Programs; senior reviewer of this AAPPS

    Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs

    Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs