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Academic Curriculum Guidelines and Procedures

This website provides summary information about the steps an academic unit must take to obtain the appropriate levels of internal and external review and approval for new or revised curricula. These include:

  • New Academic Programs
    • For compliance with the UMass President’s Office degree approval procedures, proposals for new undergraduate and graduate academic programs/degrees require specific processing and forms.  
  • Additions to Existing Degree Programs 
  • Modifications/Revisions to Existing Degree Programs 
  • Suspension/Discontinuation of a Program
    • These additions and revisions are managed through the Curriculog system.

New course proposals and course or academic program (degree, concentration, or minor) revisions proposed for fall semester implementation must be submitted to the Provost’s Office for approval by the third week of February of the previous spring semester. 

In accordance to UMass Policy Doc T92-012, certain curricular actions require that the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment send an official notification to the UMass President’s Office, who forwards it to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. No marketing, including posting of information on the website, may occur until 60 days from the date of this notification. These actions include:

  • New Minor 
  • New Concentration or Track (see below for clarification)
  • New Certificates Degree Revisions (including degree title changes) 
  • Suspensions/Discontinuations

Summaries and Links to Curriculog

New Minor Programs

A minor is defined as an undergraduate program of study of at least 18 credits that builds from an existing academic program or academic programs. The minimum requirements for a minor are:

Qualified students may complete an academic minor. To declare a minor, the student must be a degree candidate who has earned no fewer than 24 earned credits, with a minimum cumulative grade point average of 2.000 and a minimum 2.500 grade point average in the major. Approved minors consist of at least 18 credits, of which 9 must be at the upper division (300-400) level. Within these 9 upper level credits, a course can be counted in only one category. Even if a course could satisfy either the major or the minor, it cannot be double counted. A college may define electives that are permitted to be used towards the minor. A department offering a minor may establish other requirements beyond these minimal requirements.

All new minor programs require multiple UMass Dartmouth levels of authorization prior to being established. These levels originate at the campus (faculty governance, Dean, and Provost).

Once fully approved, the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) sends an official notification to the UMass President’s Office, who forwards it to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. No marketing, including posting of information on the website, can occur until 60 days from the date of this notification in accordance to UMass Policy Doc T92-012.This guide is intended to help faculty and administrators clarify the process and timetables for minor program approval.

To initiate a new minor program proposal, please go to Curriculog, which is available through your UMassD portal, under the Quick Launch tab, then More Campus Systems. You may also access the landing page here.

Required form

Minor Proposal Template

New Certificate Programs

Certificates are a focused collection of courses that, when completed, afford the student a record of coherent academic accomplishment in a single field or set of related disciplines. The curriculum for certificates is structured to address particular needs for professional advancement, career transition, practical skill training, and personal development and, thus, the curriculum may represent a more practice-oriented subset of an existing discipline. Certificates are not designed to replace existing degree programs or minors but may serve as a means of attracting individuals to a formal degree program, and a certificate may be a sought-after credential.

While the courses comprising a certificate may be used as evidence in support of a student’s application for admission to an undergraduate or graduate degree program, completion of the certificate itself is not considered to be a prerequisite and does not guarantee admission to any degree program. Certificates differ from undergraduate minors in their focus on non-degree seeking students and their specificity of topic. Certificates may be offered at the undergraduate or graduate levels.

General Curricular Principles 

  • Certificate programs must be consistent with the academic and outreach missions of the University.
  • Certificate programs will be housed in academic units (departments or programs).
  • When possible, Graduate Certificates should be designed so that there is at least one master's degree program in which the credits earned while obtaining the Graduate Certificate may apply, provided the admission and transfer requirements are met.
  • Federal Gainful Employment regulations: In order for students in any certificate program to apply for federal financial aid, the following information will be disclosed publicly on an annual basis: Program costs, median debt at completion (more than 10 graduates), number of completers, number of students who completed the program in normal time (more than 10 graduates), and occupation(s) related to certificate.

Standards for Credit-Bearing Certificates 

  • Credit-bearing certificates are expected to maintain high academic standards. 
  • Where appropriate, certificate curricula should meet industry/professional society/accreditation standards. 
  • Certificate requirements should be no less than 12 credits for undergraduate certificates or 9 credits for graduate certificate programs, and usually not more than 18 credits. A minimum GPA for certificate credit is required.

All Certificate programs require multiple UMass Dartmouth levels of authorization prior to being established. These levels originate at the campus (faculty governance, Dean, and Provost). The Office of Institutional Research and Assessment sends an official notification to the UMass President’s Office, who forwards it to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. No marketing, including posting of information on the website, can occur until 60 days from the date of this notification in accordance to UMass Policy Doc T92-012.

To initiate a new certificate proposal, please go to Curriculog which is available through your UMassD portal, under the Quick Launch tab, then More Campus Systems. You may also access the landing page here.

Required form

Certificate Program Template

Post-baccalaureate/Post-master’s Certificate Programs

Any certificate requiring 30 or more credits for completion cannot follow this procedure and must be submitted as a new academic program with full board approvals.

Post-baccalaureate/Post-master’s programs are a focused collection of courses that, when completed, provide the student a record of coherent academic accomplishment in a single field or set of related disciplines. Such courses of study are comprised of graduate level courses and may be used to prepare students for graduate or professional school or for a different career or profession.

General Principles

Post-baccalaureate/Post-master’s programs of study must be consistent with the academic and outreach missions of the University.

Post-baccalaureate programs will be housed in academic units (departments or programs).

Federal Gainful Employment regulations: In order for students in any certificate program to apply for federal financial aid, the following information will be disclosed publicly on an annual basis: Program costs, median debt at completion (more than 10 graduates), number of completers, number of students who completed program in normal time (more than 10 graduates), and occupation(s) related to certificate.

All Post-baccalaureate/Post-master’s programs of study require multiple UMass Dartmouth levels of authorization prior to being established. These levels originate at the campus (faculty governance, Dean, and Provost).

Once fully approved, the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment sends an official notification to the UMass President’s Office, who forwards it to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. No marketing, including posting of information on the website, can occur until 60 days from the date of this notification in accordance to UMass Policy Doc T92-012.

To initiate a new certificate program proposal, please go to Curriculog which is available through your UMassD portal, under the Quick Launch tab, then More Campus Systems. You may also access the landing page here.

Required forms

New Courses-Academic Credit

All new academic courses require multiple levels of authorization prior to being established. These recommendation/approval levels follow faculty governance, Dean, and Provost. The information contained on this page is intended to provide an explanation of the on-campus process links to the required forms.

A New Course Proposal is required, which asks for specific information about the course that will be put into COIN/PeopleSoft. The proposal must include a standard course syllabus, which explicitly demonstrates that the course and out of class work meets the federally mandated course credit hour requirement:

Credit Hour: A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

(1) One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks [includes exam week] for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or

(2) At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practicum, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

The credit hour policy applies to all courses at all levels (graduate, professional, and undergraduate) that award academic credit (i.e. any course that appears on an official transcript issued by the University). This expectation of contact time inside the classroom and student effort outside the classroom is the same in all formats of a course whether it be fully online, a hybrid of face-to-face contact with some content delivered by electronic means, or one delivered in lecture or seminar format.

Courses that have less structured classroom schedules, such as research seminars, independent studies, internships, practicum, studio work, or any other academic work leading to the award of credit hours, at a minimum, should clearly state learning objectives and expected outcomes and workload expectations that meet the standards set forth above. Academic units are responsible for ensuring that credit hours are awarded only for work that meets the requirements outlined in this policy. New Courses proposed for a fall semester registration must be submitted to the Provost’s Office for approval by the end of February of the previous spring semester.

To initiate a new course proposal, please go to Curriculog, which is available through your UMassD portal, under the Quick Launch tab, then More Campus Systems. You may also access the landing page here.

Required forms

Course Revisions

All course revisions require multiple levels of authorization prior to being established. These recommendation/approval levels follow faculty governance, Dean, and Provost. Any change in a course’s credit hours must meet the federally mandated course credit hour requirement:

Credit Hour: A credit hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement that is an institutionally established equivalency that reasonably approximates not less than:

(1) One hour of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of two hours of out of class student work each week for approximately fifteen weeks [includes exam week] for one semester or trimester hour of credit, or ten to twelve weeks for one quarter hour of credit, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time; or

(2) At least an equivalent amount of work as required in paragraph (1) of this definition for other academic activities as established by the institution including laboratory work, internships, practicum, studio work, and other academic work leading to the award of credit hours.

Courses revisions proposed for a fall semester registration must be submitted to the Provost’s Office for approval by the end of February of the previous spring semester.

To initiate a new minor program, please go to Curriculog, which is available through your UMassD portal, under the Quick Launch tab, then More Campus Systems. You may also access the landing page here.

Degree and Minor Program Revisions

All degree revisions require multiple levels of authorization prior to being established. These recommendation/approval levels follow faculty governance, Dean, and Provost. The Degree and Minor Revision Proposal is required and asks for specific information about the proposed revisions that will be put into COIN/PeopleSoft. Depending on the impact of the revisions, Degree Change Notifications may need to be sent to the Office of the UMass President and the Board of Higher Education by the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment.

To initiate degree or minor program revisions, go to Curriculog, which is available through your UMassD portal, under the Quick Launch tab, then More Campus Systems. You may also access the landing page here.

Required forms

 

New Concentrations and Tracks within Programs-Undergraduate and Graduate

Concentrations and Tracks are considered degree revisions and are defined as undergraduate or graduate programs of study that build from an existing academic program or academic programs. This guide is intended to help faculty and administrators clarify the process for Concentration and Track program approval.

Concentration: A structured plan of study within a major.  The number of semester hours for a concentration varies but is included within the semester hours for the major. The student must formally declare the concentration for it to appear on the transcript of record. In some cases, a student may apply directly to the concentration. The concentration is listed on the diploma.

Track: A recommended set of courses within a major or concentration. A track is not a required component of all concentrations but is offered as an advising tool. It may be suggested as a way of preparing students for specific career goals or graduate programs, or to best match a student’s academic interest. A student does not have to formally declare a track and it will not appear on the transcript of record or on the diploma.

All Concentrations or Tracks require multiple UMass Dartmouth levels of authorization prior to being established. These levels originate at the campus (faculty governance, Dean, and Provost).

Once fully approved, the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment sends an official notification to the UMass President’s Office, who forwards it to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. No marketing, including posting of information on the website, can occur until 60 days from the date of this notification in accordance to UMass Policy Doc T92-012. Additional information to the off-campus portion of the review process (including the BHE and BOT meeting schedules) may be found in the President’s Office’s UMass New Program Approval Guide.

To initiate a new concentration or track proposal, please go to Curriculog, which is available through your UMassD portal, under the Quick Launch tab, then More Campus Systems. You may also access the landing page here.

Required forms

Degree Suspension/Discontinuance

Discontinued Degree Program: A discontinued program is removed permanently from the PeopleSoft system and the catalog. A plan for current student ‘Teach Out’ is required. For a discontinued program to return to active status, the program would need to begin the curricular process for approval of a new degree program.

Suspension of a Degree Program: A suspended program is a period of time during which no new students will be admitted to the program. A suspended program may return to active status within a five-year period.

Suspension/Discontinuance requires multiple levels of authorization prior to being established. These recommendation/approval levels follow faculty governance, Dean, and Provost.

Once fully approved, the Office of Institutional Research and Assessment (OIRA) sends an official notification to the UMass President’s Office, who forwards it to the Massachusetts Department of Higher Education. No announcement, including posting of information on the website, can occur until 60 days from the date of this notification in accordance to UMass Policy Doc T92-012.

To initiate a degree program discontinuance or suspension proposal, please go to Curriculog, which is available through your UMassD portal, under the Quick Launch tab, then More Campus Systems. You may also access the landing page here.

Required form


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