Process for academic degree program approvals and changes

The process to propose new academic degree programs or to make changes to existing programs can be a very lengthy process.  Depending on the change, the process can take two years or longer.  Different requests require approval from the UA Board of Trustees, Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE), and/or SACSCOC after faculty within the department and college have approved. Some require only notification.  These boards or commissions only meet a few times during the year. They have deadlines for submission of agenda items well in advance of the meetings. Once final approval is granted, information regarding new programs or revisions must be submitted for admissions and catalog materials by established UA deadlines. To assist departments in submitting the appropriate forms in a timely manner, deadlines for submission to institutional contacts have been established. Information, links to forms and instructions, as well as deadlines and process details follow.

(Click here for downloadable chart of curricular changes and the types of approval/notification needed)

Current List of the ACHE Program Inventory for The University of Alabama

Deadlines for submitting new program or change requests to institutional contacts

November 30, 2018  (For items for the April 12, 2019 Board of Trustees meeting, graduate level changes will be submitted to the Graduate Council in February)

February 22, 2019


For more information and/or to submit a request for a new program or change, please contact:

  • Cathy Pagani (, Associate Dean, Graduate School, 205-348-8283, for new programs or changes at the graduate level
  • Ginger Bishop (, Director of Institutional Effectiveness, 205-348-7125, for new programs or changes at any level
  • Carmen Jones (, Assessment Specialist, 205-348-3439, for new programs or changes at any level

Types of academic program changes to submit for approval or notification

  • Establish: a new academic degree program, college, school, or department
  • Establish: an new extension (concentration, track, specialization, emphasis, option, focus, etc.), certificate, or teacher certification program
  • Establish: a new off-campus site
  • Extend: an existing program to a new location or approved off-campus site
  • Merge or Split: an academic program or academic unit.
  • Reorganize: move responsibility for an academic program from one unit to another.
  • Suspend or Reactivate: an academic program, unit, or a location
  • Terminate: an academic program or academic unit.
  • Change: a degree name, nomenclature, or CIP code
  • Change: the name of an academic department, or research center/institute
  • Initiate: a new dual degree program or contractual arrangement for programs or courses

Course Inventory Management System (CIM) for Programs

The following types of academic program changes must be submitted through CIM.  These changes include:

  ·        NISPS (Notification of Intent to Submit a Proposal)

  ·        Proposals

  ·        Concentrations

  ·        Certificates

  ·        Minors

  Use this link to propose a NISP.

   Use this link to submit a proposal for a new program, concentration, certificate, or a minor.

Getting started with CIM

Login using your myBama credentials.  If you do not currently have a CIM account, contact the registrar’s office for access.

Complete all of the fields on the form in CIM.  Help bubbles are available to give you extra guidance on how to complete some of the fields.

Required attachments

At the end of the CIM form is a place to upload attachments.  Please attach a resolution, a letter of support from the Dean of the college, evidence of faculty support (faculty vote, memo, etc.), the UA Supplement form for a proposal, and a completed long form for a certificate (forms can be found on this web page, as well as examples).

Once the form is completed, click “Save and Start Workflow.”

The proposed academic program change will go through various steps in an internal workflow before it is sent to the Board of Trustees and ACHE.  Through these various stages, the proposed change can be rolled back to a previous stage in the workflow for changes or additional information.    In addition, several notifications will be sent once you click “Save and Start Workflow.”  This is to alert relevant departments about the proposed academic change.  Once the proposed change has successfully navigated the workflow, the form and attachments will be sent to the Provost’s Office and President for final approval. A packet with all forms and attachments will be to be sent to the Board of Trustees from the Provost’s Office. Once approved by the Board of Trustees, the UA System Office will submit the packet to ACHE. UA’s liaisons to the Board and ACHE will update CIM when external approvals are made.

Steps for the approval process of new undergraduate programs and graduate programs

  • IMPORTANT:  ACHE has a 1 year time frame from receiving the NISP to receiving the proposal.  If they do not get it in one year, the NISP will have to be resubmitted. 

  • IMPORTANT:  Departments need to draft the NISP and full proposal at the same time.  NISPS will not move forward to Graduate Council or Board of Trustees unless the first draft of the proposal has been submitted into CIM.

  • Steps for new undergraduate programs
  • Steps for new graduate programs
  • Proposals for new graduate/undergraduate degree programs are initiated within a department and follow the format of the following two Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE) documents: (1) Notification of Intent to Submit a Proposal (NISP) for a New Program of Instruction and (2) Proposal for a New Degree Program.
  • The proposing department initiates the process through discussions within the department, including a faculty vote, and discussions with the dean of the college. If the dean of the college is in favor of developing the new program, the dean discusses it with the Provost and, if it is a graduate degree proposal, the Dean of the Graduate School.  The department prepares and submits the NISP.  The NISP will be reviewed by the Council of Deans and the Provost.  If it is a graduate proposal, the NISP must also be approved by the Graduate Council.  The NISP will be submitted to the UA Board of Trustees for approval.  Following Board of Trustees approval, the NISP will be submitted to the ACHE staff for comment.  Graduate level proposals will be sent to the Alabama Council of Graduate Deans (ACGD) for review and comments.
  • Once the Board of Trustees approves the NISP, the department will submit the full proposal.
    • If it is a graduate program proposal, the proposal will go to the Program and Degree Requirements, Research and New Programs Committee of the Graduate Council.  When that committee approves the proposal, it is recommended to the Graduate Council. The Graduate Council is responsible for ensuring that all graduate programs meet acceptable academic standards for quality graduate education; that the content, structure, and evaluation of student performance in graduate courses are significantly different from those of undergraduate courses; that all graduate courses are taught by members of the graduate faculty; and that appropriate program reviews will take place.  If the Graduate Council votes to approve the new-program proposal, the Graduate Dean forwards it as a recommendation to the Provost.
  • The proposal will be submitted to the Board of Trustees for approval, then to ACHE for approval, and then back to the Board of Trustees for final approval.
  • Generally the process takes about 2 years.

Required forms to be attached in CIM

Additional forms for academic changes to be submitted as Word documents

Examples of submitted proposals, NISPs, and other forms:


  • Board of Trustee meeting dates
    • November 9, 2018
    • February 8, 2019
    • April 12, 2019
    • June 7, 2019
  • ACHE meeting dates
    • December 7, 2018
    • March 15, 2019
    • June 7, 2019
    • September 13, 2019
    • December 6, 2019
  • UA Graduate Council meeting dates
    • November 13, 2018
    • February 5, 2019
    • April 26, 2019

Recent approvals by the Board of Trustees

Recent approvals by ACHE