Process for academic degree program approvals and changes

The process of proposing a new academic degree program or making changes to an existing program can be lengthy. In fact, the process can take two years or longer. All proposed changes begin with internal review (including possible revision requests) and approval—by department/college faculty and Undergraduate Council or Graduate Council, as appropriate. Depending on the type of change, a proposal may then require approval from the UA Board of Trustees, the Alabama Commission on Higher Education (ACHE), and/or SACSCOC. These boards or commissions meet only a few times during the year, and they maintain deadlines for submission of agenda items well in advance of the meetings. Once final approval is granted, information regarding the new/changed program must be submitted for admissions and catalog materials ahead of established UA deadlines.

Deadlines for submission of proposals to institutional contacts have been established to assist departments in completing the appropriate forms in a timely manner. Please scroll down to find upcoming deadlines, links to forms and instructions, and other process details. OIE staff are always available to answer your questions.

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

Current List of the ACHE Program Inventory

The University of Alabama Certificates and Extensions Approval Processes and Definitions

Deadlines for submitting new program or change requests to institutional contacts


(changes will be reviewed in the Fall of 2023 by undergraduate/graduate curriculum committees)

Please contact OIE for assistance prior to making any academic program changes or beginning the process to propose a new degree program .

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:

  • NISP (Notification of Intent to Submit a Proposal)
  • Proposals
  • Concentrations
  • Graduate Certificates
  • Minors
  • Inactivation (Termination) of Programs, Minors, Concentrations, and Certificates

Getting started with CIM

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


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.

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.


Inactivation (Termination) of a Program, Minor, Concentration, or Certificate

Click on the following icon box to Inactivate (terminate or delete) an existing degree program, minor, concentration or certificate.

Once you are in CIM for programs, select the program that you wish to terminate. Select the program and click the red “Inactivate Program” button. The request to terminate a program is submitted into a workflow where it will be determined if the program should be inactivated.

Once you select inactivate program, a separate window will open that contains a form that must be completed and then submitted into workflow.

For degree programs, this inactivation proposal must be submitted by February 1st two years prior to the effective date of closure. Termination of programs, concentrations, and certificates must be submitted to the Board of Trustees and ACHE. SACSCOC must also be notified when a program is closed.


To offer an approved program through distance learning, contact OIE for the approval process and form.


Post Implementation and Program Viability

New programs approved by ACHE and the UA Board of Trustees (approved after May 2018) will have to complete a Post Implementation report 7 years after implementation (programs approved before May 2018 will have to complete a Post Implementation report 5 years after implementation). Programs have to report on four conditions: enrollments, program graduates, employment information, and assessment of student learning outcomes. New programs must take an average of the years that they have had graduates of the program, and these numbers must meet the program viability numbers set by the state. The program viability numbers are listed below. Here is a link for the ACHE Post Implementation Report Guidelines.

Existing programs also must meet the program viability numbers.  For existing programs, programs, program viability is the average number of graduates over a 5 year period

Program Viability Numbers

  • Bachelor’s degree programs – 7.5 students
  • Master’s degree programs – 3.75 students

  • Ed.S. – 3.0 students
  • Doctorate programs – 2.25 students