Policy - Substantial Redirection of a Degree/Major (>50% Curricular Change)

Information on the policy and process guiding substantial curricular changes.

This is a summary of the policy on substantial redirection of a program's curriculum. Click here to view the official policy in its entirety in the UW-Madison Policy Library.

A substantial redirection of a program's curriculum, sometimes referred to as a major curricular change, requires approval at various levels throughout the university.


Specifically a curricular change that equates to a change to more than 50% of the curriculum (e.g., changing more than half of a program's required courses) requires academic approval by the faculty of the academic department or unit, the dean of the school/college, the Graduate Faculty Executive Committee (for graduate programs), and the University Academic Planning Council (UAPC). In addition to these campus approvals, UW System approval is also required under SYS 102, Section 3.2.2.

Programs that seek to make substantial curriculum changes propose to do so via the Lumen Programs system. Lumen is the university's system that manages new program proposals and proposals to revise/change existing programs.  

Curricular Change Proposal in Lumen

The Lumen Programs proposal must include the following information, as prompted by the online form:

  1. Name and contact information for lead faculty member for the degree/major
  2. Primary contact person, if different, and their contact information
  3. Degree/major and named option (if applicable)
  4. Effective term for the changes and timeline for implementation
  5. Rationale for the change
  6. Potential impact on enrolled students
  7. Potential impact on faculty and academic staff
  8. Updated curriculum (this will show red/green markup in the program form)

Approval Process

Once the Lumen Programs proposal is submitted, it will route as follows for approvals:

  1. Approval by the program faculty (i.e., the department/unit)
  2. Approval by the school/college dean, under the advice of the school/college academic planning council
  3. Proposal review/feedback from Academic Planning and Institutional Research (as applicable)
  4. Approval by the Graduate Faculty Executive Committee (GFEC, graduate programs only) 
  5. Approval by the University Academic Planning Council; typically these changes are auto-consent to UAPC following approval by GFEC
  6. Submission to the UW System Office of Academic and Student Affairs, as needed/required

Policy History

This protocol was established in January 2017

Keywordscurric revision   Doc ID98028
OwnerKaren M.GroupAcademic Planning
Created2020-02-17 15:50 CSTUpdated2022-02-03 10:51 CST
SitesAcademic Planning
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