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The Graduate School

Degree Programs

The Graduate School coordinates closely with Academic Affairs to manage and maintain degree and certificate programs. It is advised to review the specific information on applicable regulation and policy. While pursuing curriculum changes, academic units should also consider the implications to students and the department. Such considerations include many of the points below and the Graduate School encourages an open discussion with all stakeholders.

Proposing New Degree Programs

The Graduate School is willing to assist any department with advice in the construction of a new degree proposal. For additional information, please visit Academic Affairs Degree Program Requirements and Credit-Bearing Certificate Programs

Before embarking on a proposal, a faculty member (or program leader or department chair), with her/his departmental colleagues, should ask the following questions:   

  1. Fit and Need. Does this program fit the university's mission, specifically with regard to meeting the needs of the metropolitan region and making a contribution to the intellectual advancement of northeast Florida? Does this program meet an expressed community need? 
  2. Applicants. Are there a sufficient number of qualified students who will pursue this degree to justify offering the courses necessary for it? Will there continue to be a sufficient number into the future? How will these students be identified and attracted
  3. Obstacles. Are there any hindrances to attracting students? Are there any hindrances to offering courses for them once they are here?
  4. Student Support. What funding support will we be able to offer to recruit students (e.g. scholarships, assistantships, fellowships)?
  5. Job Prospects. Will these students be able to find jobs after they complete the degree program? Where will these jobs be? Will there continue to be jobs available into the future?
  6. Qualified Faculty. Are there sufficient faculty members to teach all the courses in the program? Do these faculty members have the credentials necessary for membership in the Graduate Faculty? Is each an active scholar? Are they prepared for the extra work necessary for graduate level instruction, including for some programs direction of projects, theses, and dissertations?
  7. Faculty Strengths. How will this program contribute to the strengths of the existing faculty and to attracting strong new faculty?
  8. Program Administration. Who will be responsible for administration of this program? Are there appropriate and sufficient resources both for proposal of and subsequent running of this program?
  9. Program Goals. Is there a clear vision of the mission, goals, and objectives of this program? Does this program have clear and realizable student learning expectations?
  10. Program Resources. What resources will be necessary for this program? Additional faculty lines? Additional administration time and administrative support? Physical resources (classroom and office space, labs)? Library resources? Student support services? Student funding support?
  11. External Funding. Will this program have potential for attracting external funding?
  12. Other UNF Programs. Will this program complement and/or overlap with any existing UNF graduate or post-baccalaureate professional programs? How might the relationship between the two (or more) programs be envisioned? Could resources be shared?
  13. Other Regional Programs. Are there similar programs already offered in the vicinity? What makes our program different? What justifies the offering of our program? How will we compete with these existing programs?
  14. Distance Learning. Will any part of this program be offered in a distance-learning delivery mode? What resources would be required for this? 
  15. Accreditation. Does this program qualify for discipline-specific or program-specific accreditation? What are the plans for acquiring this credential?

Launching New Degree Programs

Once your new master's degree program has been approved by the UNF Board of Trustees—or once your new doctoral program has been approved by the State of Florida Board of Governors—you will want to address all of the steps listed below to launch your new program. Some of these steps should be addressed concurrently; please do not take this to be a sequential list.
  1. Have you established a timetable for launching/implementing your new degree?  Check with both your college dean and the graduate dean.
  2. Does your program require either notification of or approval from SACSCOC? Check with the Director for Academic Affairs and SACSCOC Liaison. 
  3. Have you determined program codes to allow the applications of those who apply to your program to be processed appropriately?  Check with the Director for Academic Affairs and the Graduate School.
  4. Do we have clear admission criteria and application deadlines? Check with the Graduate School
  5. Do we know who the Graduate Program Director (or Coordinator) will be?  The Graduate School will need this information as early as possible. Your GPD will need to be briefed on her/his duties (Graduate Program Director Handbook) and included in all listings and email distribution lists of GPDs. If this is your department's only graduate program, your GPD (or in very rare cases another member of the department) will need to become a member of the Graduate Council.
  6. Are all those in your department—and elsewhere in the university—who will teach the graduate level courses in your new program graduate faculty?  If not, check with the graduate dean. Note: Graduate Faculty must have earned terminal degrees in the field (or a closely related field) in which they will offer graduate instruction or serve on thesis/dissertation committees. 
  7. Have you submitted the necessary documents to the APC (Academic Programs Committee) for curriculum approval?
  8. Do you know the APC deadlines?  Faculty Governance Process: Your APC forms will need to go to your department's curriculum committee, your college's curriculum committee, (don't forget that you will need the signatures of all those deans affected, including the graduate dean), the APC, and finally the Faculty Association. APC deadlines are strict, so you need to plan to meet them. 
  9. Have you spoken with your college's associate dean and with the graduate dean about student financial support (scholarship funds, assistantship funds, and tuition waiver authority)? 
  10. Do you have a plan to publicize your program? UNF's Public Relations office will help; check with Assistant VP for Public Relations. The Graduate School will include the new program in all of its electronic and print media.
  11. Have you planned for publicizing the program yourself? Your New Degree Program Proposal speaks to your potential population of students. You will need to figure out how to contact them and invite them to apply. You may want to create a departmental brochure and flyers for your new program; construct a mailing campaign, and/or an e-mail campaign to get the word out. You will certainly want to make sure your new degree is featured prominently in your department's—and perhaps your college's—website. Your first and second year success will be tied in part to how dynamic your department is in publicizing your new program.

Changing Degree Programs

Please refer to the Academic Programs Committee for additional information. Making curricular changes or adding separate thesis/non-thesis options are examples of changes that require an APC. Not all changes require an APC though and the website will direct you to the correct contact to complete your request.

Program Inactivation, Reactivation, and Termination

You will need to work with Academic and Student Affairs to inactivate, reactivate, or terminate a program.