Topics Map > College of Letters and Science > Academic & Curricular Administration > Program Changes > Academic Programs
Changes to Program Requirements (Major, Option, or Certificate)
This document describes the process for proposing substantive changes to an existing academic program (e.g., a major, option, or certificate program).
OverviewSubstantive changes in L&S undergraduate major requirements for all L&S degree and certificate programs, including requirements for admission to the major, must be submitted to the L&S Curriculum Committee for review and approval before being implemented. When approval is granted, departments are given an implementation date after which they may admit students under the new requirements. Departments and programs are encouraged to contact the Chair of the Curriculum Committee and consult the Committee's Guidelines for Curricular Change (which includes a discussion of time to implementation) before undertaking any changes. As part of this process, we encourage departments to consider the impact of their proposed changes on programs closely related to their own, such as School of Education programs for which L&S departments provide content instruction. Departments may wish to consult School of Education Academic Services for assistance in considering the impact of proposed revisions on School of Education programs.
The committee considers the following revisions to be “substantial”:
- Increasing or decreasing the number of credits or GPA earned in certain courses prior to admission to the major;
- Course changes that may affect the flow of resources between departments;
- Increasing or decreasing the number of credits in the major;
- Adding a new requirement that courses be taken in a particular sequence;
- Adding or changing as prerequisites courses taught in other departments.
What to SubmitDepartments should include a cover letter that provides an overview of the proposed change. The cover letter should indicate the changes have been approved at the department/program level, as well as:
1. A brief description of the current requirements.
2. Evidence indicating a need for change exists (often found in the course of assessing student learning). Examples of evidence might include:
- Unsatisfactory time-to-degree rates for completion of the major
- Unsatisfactory or low rates for completion of the major by students with particular GPAs (or GPAs in a particular series of entry level courses)
- Unsatisfactory enrollment, drop, and/or course close-out data
- Assessment data suggesting that different prerequisites or course patterns have better predictive validity for student success in the major
- Data from advisors regarding the rate and nature of exceptions granted or the difficulty students encounter when they attempt to change majors and get credit for courses taken
- Changes in the field, certification or licensure requirements that warrant parallel changes in degree requirements (most notable in majors affected by DPI teacher certification tests)
- Changes in program direction or student demand
- Alumni or employer satisfaction surveys
4. Current program learning outcomes. It is helpful to indicate if the proposed changes will better help students meet the current learning outcomes, or if the learning outcomes should also be revised to reflect the proposed changes.
5. Preferred implementation date. The L&S Curriculum Committee assigns implementation dates, however it will take preferred implementation date into consideration.
6. Evidence of consideration that the changes proposed will not disproportionately affect any discrete group of students (such as women or targeted minorities). If such a group is affected, an appropriate plan to ensure equity if the change is implemented.
7. The date the department approved the changes, and the name of the approving governance body.
7. Additional documents. Departments must also include the additional documents, when applicable:
- Undergraduate programs (any majors or certificate): Include a word document with current Undergraduate Catalog text, with track changes to show revisions.
- Graduate degrees: Include the program's "Minimum Degree Requirements and Satisfactory Progress" chart from the http://grad.wisc.edu/catalog/degrees.htm#degrees, with track changes or other way to clear mark revisions.
- Certificate programs (graduate or graduate): All certificate change proposals must include a revised Certificate Implementation Form. If changes are needed to the current pdf posted, save the certificate implementation form to Word to make the revisions.
- Program changes affecting other programs or departments: Please submit statements from those areas.
- NOTE: In the case of revisions to Honors tracks in
the major, the L&S Faculty Honors Committee must first recommend approval by the L&S Curriculum Committee.
Please send proposals to firstname.lastname@example.org and carbon copy Kimbrin Cornelius at email@example.com. Please direct any questions to Kimbrin or to the L&S Curriculum Committee Chair.
Consultation and Review of ChangesDepartmental curriculum committees are encouraged to consult with the L&S Curriculum Committee throughout the revision process, as well as to contact the committee chair to discuss whether the committee should review changes under consideration. The committee’s goal is not to judge the content of the curriculum, but rather, to ensure that:
- Revisions are consistent with L&S degree requirements
- Revisions are implemented according to university policy and practice in that they follow the two-year cycle of editions of the Undergraduate and Graduate Catalogs
- Changes that affect other departments are communicated to those departments; and
- All interested, motivated and capable students can successfully complete the requirements.
The L&S Curriculum Committee and L&S Student Academic Affairs assist departments in considering the impact of proposed curricular changes. They can also suggest or help develop equitable solutions for any problems that might be anticipated.
Notification of program changes will be forwarded, if appropriate, to the L&S Academic Planning Council. Any changes that have implications for other schools and colleges or the Graduate School will be communicated to them.