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Office of the Provost


Degree Programs

Academic degrees are awarded to students in order to formally recognize a satisfactorily completed course of study.

Propose a Degree Program Action

University of South Carolina programs that lead to formal recognition including the awarding of all degrees must be reviewed and approved at appropriate levels of curriculum responsibility within the university, the South Carolina Commission on Higher Education (CHE), and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools/Commission on Colleges(SACSCOC).

The Academic Program Proposal System is used to propose new, modified, or terminated degree programs. Please note, in order to launch a new academic degree program or academic unit, faculty are first asked to complete a Program Pre-Authorization Request for Provost review. Similarly, substantive changes to an existing degree program or academic unit will also require pre-faculty-governance completion of the request form.


Common Program Actions

Select an option below to learn more about approvel levels and timelines.

New Degree Programs

New programs require approval at all levels of the university as well as the state Commission on Higher Education (CHE) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

The decision to begin a new program should be based on a careful assessment of anticipated student need or demand, sustainable faculty and staff resources, and impact on unit facilities. New degree programs can only be initiated by Academic Program Liaisons in the proposal system.

  1. The proponent must complete a Program Pre-Authorization Request form for Provost review.
  2. The APL must submit a new program proposal in the Academic Program Proposal System (APPS) for approval.
  3. The proposing department must submit a completed CHE New Program Proposal Form to the Office of Academic Programs. Please refer to the CHE Timeline for New Programs for important dates/deadlines.


Supporting Attachments

Programs that impact other academic units will require evidence of concurrence from those units. Interdisciplinary program proposals also require letters of concurrence from each involved unit.

Any program related to P-12 educator preparation requires a letter of endorsement from the Dean of the College of Education. Educator-preparation programs require additional approvals by the State Department of Education.


Approval Process

Required approvals as outlined below may take up to two years for full review are subject to Academic Planning Calendar deadlines.  New programs may only be marketed and assigned a major code by the University Registrar after CHE and SACSCOC approvals have been received by the Provost’s Office.

Approval levels:

  1. Department / Unit
  2. College or school academic affairs officials
  3. Faculty Senate or Graduate Council
  4. Board of Trustees
  5. CHE
  6. SACSCOC Notification (Submitted by the Office of Academic Programs)

Approvals at the department, college, and faculty governance levels are handled by the APPS system.  The Faculty Senate and Graduate Council recommend program representation at meetings to address questions or concerns. The Board of Trustees and CHE approvals require a program representative (preferably at the dean level) be present at meetings to address questions about the program.


Bulletin Freeze Dates

Please consult the Academic Planning Calendar to determine when a program must be approved to be published in a specific academic bulletin.

Modifying Degee Programs

Program modifications require approval at all levels of the university as well as the state Commission on Higher Education (CHE) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).  Modifications of academic program curricula generally fall into two categories: 1) changes involving more than 18 credit hours for undergraduate programs, or 12 credit hours for graduate programs or 2) changes involving 18 credit hours or less for undergraduate programs, or 12 credit hours or less for graduate programs.

  1. Substantive program modifications or moving a traditional program to a 100% online program require a completed Program Pre-Authorization Request form.
  2. Program Modifications for both categories (more than 18/UG or 12/Grad credit hours, 18/UG or 12/Grad credit hours or less) require the electronic submission of a Change to an Existing Program proposal in the Academic Program Proposal System (APPS).
  3. The proposing department or unit must also submit a completed CHE Program Modification Form to the Office of Academic Programs. Please refer to the CHE Timeline for Program Modifications for important dates/deadlines.

Approval Process

Required approvals as outlined below may take up to one for full review. Results of program modifications may only be marketed and assigned a major code by the University Registrar after CHE and SACSCOC approvals have been received by the Provost’s Office.

Approval levels: >18 credit hours, >12 credit hours

  1. Academic Unit Head
  2. College/School Representative
  3. Faculty Senate or Graduate Council
  4. Board of Trustees (BOT-AA and Full BOT)
  5. CHE (ACAP)
  6. SACSCOC Notification and/or Substantive Change Proposal (Submitted by the Office of Academic Programs)

Program revisions of 18/UG or 12/Grad credit hours or less typically require only notification to CHE. If the program modification changes the number of credit hours in a program by more than 10%, approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) is also required.

Approval levels: ≤18 credit hours, ≤ 12 credit hours

  1. Academic Unit Head
  2. College/School Representative
  3. Faculty Senate or Graduate Council
  4. CHE Notification (NOC) (Submitted by the Office of Academic Programs)
  5. SACSCOC Notification and/or Substantive Change Proposal (Submitted by the Office of Academic Programs)

Approvals at the department, college, and faculty governance levels are handled by the APPS system. The Faculty Senate or Graduate Council may request program representation at meetings to address questions or concerns. The Board of Trustees and CHE approvals require a program representative (preferably at the dean level) be present at meetings to address questions about the program.


Additional Approvals

Any program revision related to a P-12 educator preparation program requires a letter of endorsement from the Dean of the College of Education. Interdisciplinary program revisions should include letters of concurrence from the units involved.

Terminating Degree Programs

Program terminations require approval at all levels of the university as well as notification to the state Commission on Higher Education (CHE) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

  1. Terminating a program requires the electronic submission of a Terminate a Program proposal in the Academic Program Proposal System (APPS).
  2. The proposing department or unit must submit a memo to the Provost, from the Dean of the proposing college, requesting that the program termination be placed on the agenda for consideration at the Board of Trustees meeting. The memo should address the following:
    • Reason for the termination;
    • When and how faculty and students were notified of the program termination;
    • When the program will cease admitting students;
    • Provisions for existing students be complete the degree;
    • How will faculty in the program be effected;
    • When the last student will graduate from the program (the effective date of the program termination will need to be AFTER the last student graduates).


Approval Process

Required approvals as outlined below may take up to one year for full review. Program and certificate terminations may only be implemented after CHE and SACSCOC approvals or acknowledgements have been received by the Provost's Office.
Approval levels:

  1. Academic Unit Head
  2. College/School Representative
  3. Faculty Senate or Graduate Council
  4. Board of Trustees (BOT-AA and Full BOT)
  5. CHE Notification (NOT) (Submitted by the Office of Academic Programs)
  6. SACSCOC Notification (Submitted by the Office of Academic Programs)

Approvals at the department, college, and faculty governance levels are handled by the APPS system. The Faculty Senate or Graduate Council may request program representation at meetings to address questions or concerns. Board of Trustees approvals will require a program representative (preferably at the dean level) be present at meetings to address questions about the program termination.


Other Program Actions

Select an option below to learn more about approvel levels and timelines.

CIP Code Changes

All new programs are assigned a Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) code by the Commission on Higher Education (CHE), based on the disciplinary content of the program.

The university uses the federal taxonomy of disciplines and assigns a six-digit code for each major/program. In the taxonomy, a CIP code is specific to a particular category of instructional program. Most graduate and undergraduate degree programs offered by any one department fall under the same CIP code.

CIP Code changes require approval at all levels of the university as well as the state Commission on Higher Education (CHE). CIP Code changes may only be implemented after CHE approvals have been received by the Provost's Office.

Note:
The first two digits in the CIP code represent field of study. If the first two digits are being changed, definitely do a Program Modification to CHE ACAP. Last four digits are area within the field requires a new program proposal. ( Which may require Board of Trustees approval)

Approval levels (Note: CIP Code changes do not go through APPS)

  1. Academic Unit Head
  2. College/School Representative
  3. Unit must submit Program Modification Form to Office of Academic Programs
  4. CHE (ACAP)
  5. Academic Programs will notify Registrar

CHE approvals require a program representative (preferably at the dean level) be present at meetings to address questions about the program.

Additional Approvals

Programs that impact other units may require additional approvals. Interdisciplinary program CIP code change proposals should include letters of concurrence from the units involved.

Any CIP code change related to a P-12 educator preparation program requires a letter of endorsement from the Dean of the College of Education. Educator-preparation programs code changes may require additional approvals by the State Department of Education.

Dual or Joint Degree Programs

The Office of Academic Programs recommends Units review ACAF 2.05 and ACAF 2.06 prior to discussions about Dual/Joint degree programs with other institutions. New Dual/Joint degree programs require approval at all levels of the university as well as notification to the Commission on Higher Education (CHE) and Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

New degree programs can only be initiated by Academic Program Liaisons (APLs) in the proposal system.

Creating a New Dual/Joint Degree

  1. The proponent must complete a Program Pre-Authorization Request form for Provost review.
  2. The APL must submit the a new program proposal in the Academic Program Proposal System (APPS) for approval.
  3. The proposing department or unit must submit a completed CHE New Program Proposal Form to the Office of Academic Programs. Please refer to the CHE Timeline for New Programs

SACSCOC Definitions

For the purposes of review by SACSCOC, the following definitions apply:

  • An agreement by two or more institutions to grant dual academic awards is one whereby students study at two or more institutions and each institution grants a separate academic award bearing only its name, seal, and signature.
  • An agreement by two or more institutions to grant a joint academic award is one whereby students study at two or more institutions and the institutions grant a single academic award bearing the names, seals, and signatures of each of the participating institutions.

Approval Levels

  1. Academic Unit Head
  2. College/School Representative
  3. Faculty Senate or Graduate Council
  4. Global Carolina Office (if international)
  5. Office of Academic Programs (if domestic)
  6. Office of Legal Counsel (for review of MOUs, contracts, etc.)
  7. Board of Trustees (BOT-AA and Full BOT)
  8. CHE  (Submitted by the Office of Academic Programs)
  9. SACSCOC (Submitted by the Office of Academic Programs)

Name and Designator Changes

Name changes require approval at all levels of the university as well as notification to the state Commission on Higher Education (CHE) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).

Initiating a Name Change

Changing the name of a program requires the electronic submission of a Change to an Existing Program proposal in the Academic Program Proposal System (APPS).


Approval Process

Required approvals as outlined below may take up to one year for full review. Name changes may only be implemented after CHE and SACSCOC approvals or acknowledgements have been received by the Provost's Office.

Approval levels

  1. Academic Unit Head
  2. College/School Representative
  3. Faculty Senate or Graduate Council
  4. Board of Trustees (BOT-AA and Full BOT)
  5. CHE Notification (NOC) (Submitted by the Office of Academic Programs)
  6. SACSCOC Notification (Submitted by the Office of Academic Programs)

Approvals at the department, college, and faculty governance levels are handled by the APPS system. The Faculty Senate or Graduate Council may request program representation at meetings to address questions or concerns. Board of Trustees approvals may also require a program representative (preferably at the dean level) be present at meetings to address questions about the program name or designator change.


Additional Approvals

Programs that impact other units may require additional approvals. Interdisciplinary program proposals should include letters of concurrence from all involved units.

Any program related to P-12 educator preparation requires a letter of endorsement from the Dean of the College of Education. Educator-preparation programs require additional approvals by the State Department of Education.

Off-Campus Locations

If 50% or more of an academic program is delivered at a location other than on the geographic site of the campus offering the program, it is considered “off-campus”. If this remote location is out of state or outside the United States, additional approvals by appropriate authorities at the off-campus location will be required. The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACSCOC) requires the University to maintain documentation of these institutional and in some instances governmental approvals on file.

Because the traditional techniques for monitoring student performance and tracking contact hours do not always apply in academic programs offered at an off-campus location, campus/college/school officers responsible for academic affairs must uphold standards to ensure that the quality of instruction remains equivalent to traditionally offered programs.

The University is required to keep SACSCOC updated in advance about all programs that can be offered 25% or more off-campus. The Commission on Higher Education (CHE) requires notification about all programs that can be offered 50% or more off-campus.


Approval Process, 25% - 49% off-campus

For programs offered 25% - 49% off-campus, approval procedures begin with Program Change in APPS. Subsequent approvals are required at the department, campus/college/school, and university levels, before notification is forwarded to SACSCOC by the Provost’s Office. This process may take up to nine months until SACSCOC acknowledgement.

Approval levels

  1. Academic Unit Head
  2. Campus/College/School Representative
  3. Faculty Senate or Graduate Council
  4. Board of Trustees (BOT-AA and Full BOT)
  5. SACSCOC Notification (Submitted by the Office of Academic Programs)


Approval Process, 50% or more off-campus

For programs offered 50% or more off-campus, approval procedures begin with Program Change in APPS. Prior approval from SACSCOC is REQUIRED. Subsequent approvals are required at the department, campus/college/school, and university levels, before notification is forwarded to CHE. For 50% or more off-campus programs, approval may take up to eighteen months from submission to the Dean’s office to the admission of first students.

Approval levels

  1. Prior SACSCOC Approval (Submitted by the Office of Academic Programs)
  2. Academic Unit Head
  3. Campus/College/School Representative
  4. Faculty Senate or Graduate Council
  5. Board of Trustees (BOT-AA and Full BOT)
  6. CHE Notification (NOC) (Submitted by the Office of Academic Programs)


General Approval Timeframes

For 25% - 49% off-campus programs, nine months from submission to Dean’s office to admission of first students. For 50% or more off-campus programs, eighteen months from submission to Dean’s office to admission of first students.