APS #1038


New Degree Program Approval

Brief Description

Provides procedures for the approval of new degree programs.

Reason for Policy

Provides procedures the for new degree program approval process, as required by Regent Policy 4.B.3.

Policy Profile

APS Policy Title: 
New Degree Program Approval
APS Number: 
Effective Date: 
January 1, 2018
Approved By: 
President Bruce D. Benson
Responsible University Officer: 
Vice President for Academic Affairs
Responsible Office: 
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
Policy Contact: 
Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs
Regent Policy 4.J; rescinded January 1, 2018
Last Reviewed/Updated date: 
January 1, 2018
Applies to: 
All campuses

I. Introduction

APS 1038 was adopted following the rescission of regent policy 4.J, effective January 2018.  Procedures for new degree program approval were formerly captured in regent policy 4.J.

The Board of Regents approves all new degree programs offered by the University of Colorado. By statute, the Colorado Commission on Higher Education (CCHE) reviews new degree programs to ensure that they are consistent with the institution’s statutory role and mission, and for undergraduate programs, the CCHE also must agree to waive requirements if a program does not include the GT-Pathways curriculum or requires more than 120 credit hours.

Each campus shall develop processes to implement this policy.

II. Policy Statement

  1. New Degree Program Approval Process
    1. Campus Review Process
      1. A proposed degree program shall be consistent with the applicable academic strategic plan.
      2. A proposal shall be developed by the faculty of any academic unit and forwarded to the dean of the school/college for review and approval.
      3. Faculty within the college/school shall be notified of the proposed program.
      4. Where proposals involve more than one school or college, all participating units shall participate in the review process. 
      5. Graduate degree programs may be subject to additional campus review and approval processes, as determined by the provost.

        Proposals approved by the dean(s) are forwarded to the provost and chancellor for further review, approval and submission to the system office. A record of campus reviews and approvals shall be included with the proposals.
    2. System Review Process

      The vice president for academic affairs shall review the proposal and associated documents before the proposal is forwarded to the Board of Regents. The vice president shall verify compliance with CCHE and regent policies.
    3. Review and Action by the Board of Regents

      Following board protocol, the vice president for academic affairs shall, with the concurrence of the president, place the proposal on the agenda of the next appropriate meeting, and ultimately, on the board agenda for final approval.

      If the Board of Regents approves the proposed degree, the vice president for academic affairs shall notify CCHE for appropriate review and action.
    4. Program Implementation

      Each year, the vice president for academic affairs shall report to the Board of Regents on programs approved within the previous five years. The reports shall compare current enrollment and degree totals with the projections provided in the original proposals. As appropriate, other measures may be included to further describe the progress of the program.
  2. Guidelines for Program Proposals
    1. Program Description
      1. Describe the basic design of the proposed program, including the degree level (baccalaureate, masters, doctoral, professional), field of study, and whether it is an interdisciplinary program.
        1. If the degree program will subsume or supplant an existing degree program, the proposal for the new program shall address the need for the discontinuance of the existing program.
      2. Explicitly state the outcomes for students of this program, i.e., what can a student expect to learn during the course of the program and what skills will a student have after completing it?
    2. Workforce and Student Demand
      1. Workforce Demand: Supply evidence of the opportunities available to graduates of this program.
      2. Student Demand: Describe the target market and demonstrate evidence of student demand for this program.
        1. Provide realistic enrollment projections for the program for the first five years (template provided in Appendix A of this APS).

          Explain the methodology and assumptions used to project enrollment and completion data.  Relevant information might include national or regional enrollment trends in similar programs and projected new demand from industry in the service area.
        2. If applicable, explain how the program design will address the needs of part-time, working students.
        3. Discuss plans or the potential for online delivery.
    3. Role and Mission Criteria

      Describe how it supports the mission and fits with the applicable strategic plan of the campus.  Identify particular institutional strengths in the proposed program area.
    4. Duplication

      Address duplication issues with other institutions in the CU system or elsewhere in the state of Colorado. Describe any unique characteristics or features of this program that are not duplicated elsewhere in the state that would justify the program. Address the impact of duplication on student demand.
    5. Statutory and CCHE Requirements
      1. Describe how the proposed program conforms to statutory requirements, such as the 120 credit hour limit for undergraduate degrees, GT Pathways and the Student’s Bill of Rights.
      2. Provide the anticipated Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code for the proposed program, which is required by CCHE for entry of program information into the Student Unit Record Data System (SURDS).
    6. Curriculum Description
      1. Describe the program requirements, including total credit hours, credit hour distribution, methods of delivering the program, field experience, and other pertinent aspects of the curriculum. Explain how this curriculum is like or unlike the usual curriculum in this field.
      2. Provide a sample curriculum for the program and explicitly identify all new courses being created for it.
    7. Professional Requirements or Evaluations
      1. Where pertinent, describe any regional or professional accrediting association or licensing requirements that helped shape the curriculum of the proposed program. Specify the effect of these requirements on the length of the program, restrictions on program content or mode of delivery, and any budgetary requirements, such as minimal staffing levels, and equipment needs.
      2. Identify timetables, if needed, that have been established to meet the professional requirements.
      3. Describe qualifications of the proposed program’s faculty.
    8. Institutional Factors
      1. Explain how the implementation of this program will affect other instructional, research, or service programs on campus. Describe the impact on existing resources, including libraries, educational spaces, and computer and laboratory resources. Explain how the implementation will affect other CU campuses.
      2. When a new program fundamentally depends upon a department in a different school/college, a letter of support from that school/college’s dean shall be included with the proposal.
      3. Describe formal relationships with other parties that are anticipated, such as inter-institutional arrangements, resource sharing, cooperative programs, clinical affiliations, etc. Describe and explain the type and extent of the relationship and the resources that the affiliating institution will provide. A copy of any draft contracts or agreements shall be included as appendices.
    9. Physical Capacity and Needs
      1. Provide space estimates for program space requirements. Base the projections on existing and five-year space planning assumptions and program size data from curriculum and student load projections and projected use of special or dedicated facilities, such as laboratories.
      2. Describe program delivery and space requirements, identifying additional space or equipment needs. When significant capital construction or equipment needs are anticipated, provide additional information and explanations.
    10. Cost Description and Source of Funds
      1. Report cost estimates and sources of funds for five years, using the template provided in Appendix A of this APS, including the instructions provided with the template.  All cost and revenue projections for the five years shall be given in constant dollars, i.e., do not include an inflation factor.  The provost’s office shall include and clearly identify institutional overhead costs.  Specifically, when tuition is shown as a source of revenue, any component of tuition returned to campus must be shown as an expense.
      2. Program costs shall include operating, faculty start-up, and capital start-up needs. Estimates of operating costs shall be based on the delivery of the courses and services defined for the program. Administrative costs shall be factored in. Program budgets shall be calculated in a realistic manner. For example, additional work generated by the operation, management, and oversight of a new program shall not be claimed to be absorbed into the workload of existing staff and faculty without an explanation of what other work will be reassigned or discontinued to make room for the new workload.
      3. A proposal shall include a written statement from the dean verifying adequacy of resources to support the new program, as outlined in the program’s budget, and confirming that projected resources are reasonable.
    11. Other Relevant Information

      Campuses may include any other information deemed relevant to support new program proposals. The Board of Regents may request additional information pertinent to specific issues raised during their examination of new degree program proposals.

III. History

  • Adopted:  January 1, 2018; replaces regent policy 4.J, rescinded January 2018.
  • Revised:  February 22, 2022, updated section II.B.5 to include reference to CIP codes.
  • Last Reviewed:  January 1, 2018.

Appendix A

Estimates provided in the tables should be explained in the degree proposal.

Estimated Enrollment and Degree Completions

Download Enrollment & Budget Excel Templates

  Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5 Full Implementation
Resident Headcount            
Nonresident Headcount            
Total Headcount            
Resident FTE            
Nonresident FTE            
Total FTE            
Degrees Awarded            

Revenue/Expenditure Estimates

  Year 01 Year 1 Year 2 Year 3 Year 4 Year 5
Projected Revenues            
     Resident Tuition Revenue            
     Nonresident Tuition Revenue            
     Fee Revenue            
     Total Tuition & Fee Revenue            
     Institutional Investment            
     Other Revenues            
     Institutional reallocation (explain)            
Start up Costs1            
     Capital Construction/Renovation            
     Equipment Acquisitions            
     Library Acquisitions            
Projected Expenditures            
     Tenured/Tenure Track Faculty            
     Non-Tenure Track Faculty            
     Financial Aid specific to program            
     Program Administration            
     Instructional Materials            
     Campus Overhead2            
     Fee Expenses            
     Other Operating            
NET REVENUE            


  • 1. a. b. Costs that occur prior to enrolling students should be entered in the "Year 0" column.
  • 2. If no campus overhead, explain.