Graduate Program Processes

Academic Program Processes

Processes for creating, modifying and deleting academic programs are designed to ensure that programs are aligned with university strategic priorities, support the originating academic unit’s mission, comply with university policy and operations, and are sustainable with available resources.

For similar actions pertaining to units such as, colleges, departments, schools, institutes and centers, contact the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor.

Graduate Programs

Step One

Identify the program for which an action will be taken.

Learn more about the types of graduate programs below:

Graduate Major/Degree

A graduate degree program is a sequence of courses and activities leading to a post-baccalaureate degree in a particular major (subject area), at least 30 credit hours for master's degrees and 90 for doctoral.

Professional degree programs are a variation of a graduate major/degree that lead to an occupation governed by a regulatory body. Members of the profession must complete a credentialing exam before they can actively practice and they must keep their credentials current through additional education mandated by the regulatory body.

Students apply and are admitted. Enrollment and completion are reportable and transcripted. A diploma is awarded upon completion.

Graduate Specialization

A graduate specialization is a focused collection of courses within one or more major/degree programs. Specializations must account for a minimum of 9 credit hours of the degree requirement.

Students declare a specialization when applying for admission to a degree program or when establishing a plan of study. Enrollment and completion are reportable and transcripted.

Graduate Certificate

A graduate certificate program should be designed to enhance the marketability of graduate students or to provide a service to a segment of the community through short-term graduate education. Graduate certificate programs must be post-baccalaureate, and consist of 12-20 credit hours. The core of required or elective courses must be in the program/unit offering the certificate. Up to one third of the elective courses can be in related departments/programs.

If your program meets the following criteria you may qualify for an expedited review: the graduate certificate program must be considered a reasonable extension of an existing master’s program, using existing courses; require no additional or reallocated resources to support the program; and needs to demonstrate capacity to offer the certificate program.

Students apply and are admitted. Enrollment and completion are reportable and transcripted. A certificate is awarded upon completion.

Contact the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor for actions related to the following programs:
Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), Law (J.D.), and Architecture (M.Arch.). Contact the Office of Graduate Studies for dual degree programs, and graduate or interdepartmental minors. For other program actions (e.g. MOUs, subject codes, etc.) that require approvals, see Related Program Actions.

Step Two

Determine the programmatic action you want to take.

Icon of a pencil

Create

Creating a new instructional program is one not included in the definition of an existing instructional program. A substantial modification of an existing instructional program constitutes creating a new program, such as when the principal objective of the program is changed.

Review the Pre-proposal Questionnaire prior to preparing a proposal.

Icon of a pair of scissors

Modify

Modifying an instructional program is a reasonable and moderate extension of an existing instructional program. Examples of modifications include name changes, CIP code changes, converting an existing traditional program to an online program, merger/consolidation, and substantial changes in degree requirements.

Icon of a pencil eraser

Delete

Deleting an instructional program will halt recruiting, advertising and admitting into the program but will allow current students to finish the program.

Discontinuing (mothballing) a program will inactivate the program for a temporary period of time. Refer to the Steps for Discontinuation for more information.

Step Three

Download and complete the proposal template:

All proposals require a supporting transmittal memo from the college dean and letter of support from the graduate chair(s).

Icon of a pencil

Create a Graduate Program

Major/Degree Certificate Specialization
Icon of a pair of scissors

Modify a Graduate Program

Major/Degree Certificate Specialization
Icon of a pencil eraser

Delete a Graduate Program

Major/Degree Certificate Specialization

Step Four

Review the timeline for transmittal and approval, if required.

Graduate Major/Degree

Chart describing the process of creating, modifying, or deleting a Graduate Major/Degree program

Graduate Certificate

Chart describing the process of creating, modifying, or deleting a Graduate Certificate program

Graduate Specialization

Chart describing the process of creating, modifying, or deleting a Graduate Minor or Specialization program
Fast forward icon

If the graduate certificate program is a reasonable extension of an existing master’s program, uses existing courses; requires no additional or reallocated resources to support the program; and there is evidence of existing capacity to offer the program, it may qualify for an expedited review. An expedited review will take less time to move through the university and state-level review processes. It is reported but not reviewed at the state level.

Step Five

Transmit the proposal and supporting documents.

Send the complete set of materials to Dr. Tim Carr, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Graduate Education, via email and via campus mail.

Checkmark icon

Include a memo from the college dean or Vice Chancellor for the Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources with an original signature, confirming that department and college approvals are in place.

Email icon

Submit electronically via email, formatted as follows: proposal as Word, any budget tables as Excel, and any supporting letters, appendices, and other documents as PDF.

Snail mail icon

Also submit on paper via campus mail.

Stop sign icon

Don't forget: Curriculum actions for individual courses need to follow established procedures.

Upon approval by the UNL Graduate Council, Graduate Studies will forward major/degree and certificate proposals to the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor and Chief Academic Officer.

Step Six

Exclamation point graphic

Be prepared for questions and revisions throughout the process.

The proposer and/or dean will be the point of contact regarding questions on proposals. The Office of Graduate Studies will coordinate an early review of the proposal. Questions may arise from this review.

The Academic Planning Committee and Board of Regents may request additional information or ask clarifying questions. When proposing a new graduate major/degree or non-expedited graduate certificate, there will be an external review of the proposal coordinated by University of Nebraska Central Administration prior to the Board of Regents review.

The Board may ask that a representative from the unit attend the Coordinating Commission for Post-Secondary Education’s meeting in which the proposal will be discussed. The Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor will provide the proposer with as much notice as possible if a physical presence is desired.

Step Seven

Check mark graphic

Receive notification of process completion (approval, if required) and take action.

Upon completion of the review and approval process, the units below will be notified. Notification will come from the Office of the Executive Vice Chancellor, or from Graduate Studies when the action requires no approval beyond the UNL Graduate Council.

Notification of approval is the green light to implement the program action. The units will have access to the full proposal and will contact the proposer with any additional questions. Depending on the program and programmatic action, the units will proceed as follows:

University Registrar Modify student information System (Peoplesoft)
Vice Chancellor for IANR (if applicable) No action needed
Dean (college) Update college materials
Proposer (unit) Update department materials
Work with Graduate Studies to update information and requirements
Office of Graduate Studies Modify Graduate Admissions Application
Modify Graduate Studies website
Modify Graduate Catalog
Scholarships and Financial Aid Update the Program Participation Agreement
Institutional Effectiveness and Analytics Monitor Reporting Environments

Questions?

Contact Dr. Tim Carr, Associate Vice Chancellor and Dean of Graduate Education, tcarr2@unl.edu or 472-7940.