Skip to Main Content

Agenda Item FA 20-19

Submitted by the Academic Programs Committee

Revision to Academic Policy 2.0040P

New Degree / Major Programs

10/01/20: Approved


Academic Policy 2.0040P (New Degree / Major Programs) is being updated to incorporate information from BOG regulation 8.011 Authorization of New Academic Degree Programs and Other Curricular Offerings. The policy is also being updated to streamline the Academic Affairs review process. Instead of academic units submitting proposals to the Graduate Dean or Dean of Undergraduate studies, RTPs and RTOs are submitted to Academic Affairs. Academic Affairs then submits to the Provost Leadership Team (which includes the Graduate Dean and Undergraduate Studies Dean). The intent is to reduce the time required by AA to review RTPs and RTOs. Phase I (Request to Plan) of procedures has been updated in accordance with the BOG regulation to update the handline of Requests to Plan and their inclusion in UNF's accountability plan (submitted annually to the BOT and BOG for approval).



This policy establishes the process used in developing new degree/major programs at the University of North Florida (UNF) within the context of institutional and systematic priorities and resources. It provides a sequence of steps that must be followed to ensure that thoughtful and due consideration is given to each newly proposed degree or major.


Degree Program - An organized curriculum leading to a degree in an area of study recognized as an academic discipline by the higher education community, as demonstrated by assignment of a Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code by the National Center for Educational Statistics or as demonstrated by the existence of similar degree programs at other colleges and universities. An argument may also be made for a truly unique degree program, based upon emerging research trends or occupational demand. Each degree program shall have designated faculty effort and instructional resources and shall be assigned a CIP code and included in the State University System Academic Degree Program Inventory. Each degree program shall include at least one program major.


Program Major - An organized curriculum offered as part or all of an existing or proposed degree program. A program major shall be reasonably associated with the degree program under which it is offered and shall share common core courses with any other majors within the same degree program. Although in some cases the major and the degree program names are synonymous, only the degree program shall be assigned a CIP Code and shall be included in the State University Academic Degree Program Inventory as a stand-alone program. The minimum number of credit hours for an undergraduate program major is 120 semester hours program and 30 semester hours for graduate level program majors. Baccalaureate program majors shall not exceed 120 semester hours without Board of Governor approval.


Pursuant to Florida Board of Governors regulation 8.011, the University Board of Trustees has the authority to approve new degree programs at the bachelor's, masters, advanced masters, specialist and other non-doctoral degree programs for implementation. Professional and research doctoral degree programs must be approved by the University Board of Trustees before submission to the Board of Governors for authorization.


As stipulated in Board of Governor's regulation 8.011, a proposal for a new degree program may be approved by the University Board of Trustees provided it meets the following criteria:


Institutional and state-level accountability:

  • Program is consistent with the State University System strategic plan, and University mission, strategic play, and accountability plan;
  • Demonstrated need for program graduates, research, and/or service;
  • Program does not unnecessarily duplicate existing State University System degree programs;
  • Financial planning and resources are sufficient for implementation;
  • Sufficient projected benefit of the program to the University, local community, and State; and
  • Access and articulation are maintained for all programs.
    • Institutional readiness:
      • University demonstrates an ability to implement a high-quality program;
      • Curriculum is appropriate for the discipline and program level;
      • Sufficient qualified faculty is available; and
      • Sufficient institutional resources are available.

In order to assure uniformity with addressing the criteria listed above, the use of the common State University System new degree proposal format is required.


Professional and research doctoral degree program proposals are required to be reviewed by a qualified external consultant prior to consideration by the University Board of Trustees. A formal written review of the doctoral program proposal by the external consultant must be included as an appendix in the degree program proposal.


There are five phases, spanning a little over two academic years, for the approval and implementation of new degree programs at the University of North Florida. The first four phases are associated with the approval process and the fifth is associated with program implementation.


Phase One: Request To Plan

The purpose of the Request to Plan (RTP) is to determine which degree programs UNF will explore for implementation over the period covered by the university strategic plan and the university accountability plan.


When an academic unit(s) decides to pursue a new degree program, the academic unit must notify Academic Affairs to initiate the RTP process. The RTP provides information about the proposed degree program such as program goals, need and demand for the program, how the program fits within the academic units' strategic plan, and resources that might be necessary for successful implementation. Upon completion, the academic unit submits the RTP to the Director for Academic Programs in Academic Affairs.


After review by Academic Affairs, the proposal is submitted to the Provosts' Leadership Team. Upon approval, the proposal is presented to the academic deans for consideration. Upon approval of the academic deans and in accordance with Board of Governors regulation 8.004, the RTP is presented to the State University System (SUS) Council of Academic Vice Presidents - Academic Coordination Group (CAVP-ACG) for review.


If no substantive concerns are raised by the CAVP-ACG, the proposed program is included in the academic program coordination section of the university accountability plan and the academic unit is granted permission to develop a new degree proposal. If substantive concerns are raised, the issues will be discussed by the Provosts' Leadership Team prior to moving forward with Phase II.


When an academic unit receives permission to develop a new degree proposal, the degree program is included in UNF's master plan. The degree proposal must be completed within a three-year period.


Proposed degree programs, for which no proposal is submitted for consideration within the three- year period, will be removed from UNF's master plan unless justification for extending a program's inclusion on the master plan is approved by Academic Affairs.

Phase Two: Development of Full New Degree Proposal

The academic unit completes the Board of Governors, State University System of Florida, Request to Offer a New Degree.


Baccalaureate program proposals must be congruent with a number of Board of Governors regulations.

  • If limited access is required, an official limited access request in accordance with Board Regulation 8.013 must be included as an appendix in the proposal. This action will delay the implementation of the program because Board of Governors approval is required.
  • Proposed curriculum must adhere to statewide common prerequisite for similar degree programs within the SUS. A request for an exception to the approved statewide common prerequisites must be approved by the Articulation Coordinating Committee in accordance with Board of Governors Regulation 8.010.
  • Program length must be 120 semester hours. Pursuant to Board of Governors Regulation 8.014, a request for an exception to the 120 maximum program length must be approved by the Board of Governors.

To complete phase two, the academic unit submits the completed Request to Offer (RTO) to the Director for Academic Programs in Academic Affairs. Upon completion of the Academic Affairs review, the RTO is submitted to the Provosts' Leadership Team to initiate the approval process for phase two. The Provost will ask the dean sponsoring the program to discuss the merits of the proposal along with budget implications with the Provosts' Leadership Team and the academic deans. Once approved by the Provosts' Leadership Team and the academic deans, the proposal authors are notified that they may initiate the next phase.

Phase Three: Submission to Institutional Governance Process

The academic unit will submit the proposal to the Academic Program Committee (APC) for review and approval. Upon approval, the proposal will be added to the Faculty Association agenda for a vote. If the Faculty Association approves the proposal, the proposal is provided to the provost for consideration. The provost will discuss the proposal with the president as appropriate.

Phase Four: Submission to the Board of Trustees

If the president approves the degree proposal, Academic Affairs will submit the proposal to the Academic and Student Affairs Committee (ASAC) of the Board of Trustees. If the ASAC approves the proposal, the item will be added to the consent agenda for approval by the full Board of Trustees. If the degree proposal is for a doctorate program, then it must also receive approval by the Florida Board of Governors.


After the Board of Trustees approves the proposal, UNF will submit the proposal to the Florida Board of Governors. The Board of Governors staff will review the proposal to assure compliance with Board regulations. Upon resolution of any outstanding issues regarding the program, Board staff will add the program to the SUS Academic Degree Program Inventory.


When applicable, the last step for final approval is the submission of a SACSCOC substantive change prospectus. If substantive change is not required, then the program is ready to begin the implementation phase.

Phase Five: Implementation of the new degree program

To implement a program the academic unit must follow the APC guidelines for implementation of new programs. This normally entails the academic unit submitting a request to the APC for review and approval. The forms are first submitted to the academic units' curriculum committee and then forwarded through the process outlined on the Faculty Association web site.


This policy is adopted pursuant to the requirements of Florida Board of Governors regulations 8.011 - Authorization of New Academic Degree Programs and Other Curricular Offerings; 8.004 - Academic Program Coordination; 8.013 - Limited Access; 8.010 - Common Prerequisites; 8.014 - Bachelors' Degree Exceptions to 120 Credit Hours Requirement.