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Procedures for Administrative Review of New Academic Programs and Remote Courses

Currently, proposals for new academic programs are submitted to the appropriate Academic Senate committee (Graduate or Undergraduate Council and, for graduate programs, Planning and Budget); these committees are charged with evaluating the academic aspects of these programs, but often lack sufficient information to evaluate programs’ resource requirements. In addition, the WASC Senior College and University Commission (WSCUC) now requires that new programs (graduate programs and undergraduate majors) undergo a screening process to determine whether they involve a substantive change (in which case, they would require a WSCUC substantive change review). The below administrative process has been implemented after Senate review, to facilitate WSCUC screening and to ensure that resource implications are documented consistently to inform Academic Senate review, and will be supported by formalized planning and routing procedures for new academic programs that are discussed below.

Contents of Proposals 

Contents of proposals to establish new undergraduate and graduate academic programs (any programs requiring Senate review, e.g., majors, minors, specializations, and certificates) and for the approval of new remote courses or degree programs:

In addition to the materials required for Academic Senate review, a proposal for a new program or to convert a course or program to a remote format should include an administrative cover package that will initiate WSCUC prescreening (if required), allow a financial analysis of the proposed program, and finalize commitments for any additional resources necessary to launch the program. Please note that curricular revisions do not require this additional administrative review process unless they require substantial additional resources (FTE/teaching materials) that the department/program is unable to self-fund or represent curricular changes of 25% or more. 

Administrative Cover Package

Cover Page

A cover sheet with signatures documenting routing of the proposal and approvals, according to the appropriate routing order (see attached): from the Chair, to the Divisional/School Dean, to the Graduate or Undergraduate Dean and to the appropriate academic VCs (EVC-AA, VC-HS, and/or VC-MS, depending on program details). Online and/or hybrid courses and programs also require approval from the Center for Digital Learning, within the Teaching + Learning Commons (secured prior to routing to the Divisional/School Dean). Interdisciplinary programs should be reviewed by and signatures obtained from each Dean and Chair. The Graduate or Undergraduate Dean will notify the Academic Senate when this administrative review process is started. Departments should plan on approximately one month for this review. Please note that additional time may be required if significant revisions are required.

Budget Proposal

A budget proposal prepared in collaboration with the Resource Administration Office(s) for the
lead academic VC and in consultation with the Resource Administration Office(s) of other
involved academic VCs. For self-supporting programs, see

Documenting Letters

Letters documenting any additional resource commitments from the Divisional/School Dean
and/or academic VC(s).

The following information, in succinct form (for WSCUC screening)

  1. Proposed program start date
  2. A short description of the program
  3. Modality of program (e.g. on-site, distance learning, on-line; if not on-site only, indicate the percentage of alternative modalities)
  4. Two most closely related programs at UC San Diego
  5. The number of new courses required for this program
  6. The number of new faculty required for the program
  7. Significant additional equipment or facilities needed for the program
  8. Significant additional financial resources needed for the program
  9. Significant additional library/learning resources needed


Academic Senate Review Materials

Information to be included in proposals for new undergraduate programs can be found in the
following Academic Senate document (section B):

Additional information concerning the planning process and systemwide review can be found in the
University of California Compendium: Universitywide Review Processes for Academic Programs,
Academic Units, & Research Units:

Administrative Routing Sheet

Procedure Details

Planning Process 

Planning Process for Undergraduate Programs & Remote Courses


Routing Process

  • The Department Chair submits the draft proposal to Divisional/School Dean (or College Provost), the Dean of Undergraduate Education, the academic VC(s) Resource Administration Office(s) for resource analysis, and, for online or hybrid courses and programs, the Teaching + Learning Commons Center for Digital Learning.
  • The Divisional/School Dean (or College Provost) confirms resource requirements (e.g. space, faculty, administrative support, etc.); any additional commitments are documented with a formal letter, which is included in the proposal and communicated to the appropriate academic VC(s).
  • Any additional resource commitments from the academic VC(s) are documented with a formal letter, which is included in the proposal and communicated to the Divisional/School Dean (or College Provost).
  • The final proposal is approved by the Divisional/School Dean (or College Provost).
  • The Department Chair submits the final proposal to the Dean of Undergraduate Education and the Undergraduate Council.

Programs should allow one month for the above steps; additional time may be required if revision is

  • The Dean of Undergraduate Education initiates WSCUC substantive change screening.
  • The Undergraduate Council communicates with the Department Chair regarding proposal approval, questions, etc.
  • If approved by the Undergraduate Council, the program is approved.
  • If the WSCUC screening determines that a substantive change review is required, the Dean of Undergraduate Education oversees the review application.