New Program Proposal Guidelines

Administrative Policy & Timeline

Within university guidelines, department and schools will determine the number, type, and level of courses that constitute an undergraduate major, graduate major, academic minor, academic concentration, or graduate certificate. Descriptions of majors and major requirements, minors and minor requirements, concentrations, and graduate certificates will be published in the UIS Catalog.

All levels of governance approval outlined in the UIS Levels of Governance Table must be received by February 1 to have a new program of study (major, minor, concentration, etc.) included in the catalog for the upcoming academic year or by August 1 to be included in the catalog addendum. If all required levels of governance approval are not received by the appropriate deadline, then the new program would be offered in the next academic year.

Initiating a New Program Proposal

All academic department and schools will initiate New Program Proposals via the New Program Proposal online form for New Bachelor’s Degrees/Majors, New Master’s Degrees/Majors, New Academic Minors, New Academic Concentrations, and New Graduate Certificates.

Before you fill out forms, we encourage you to consult with the Associate Vice Chancellors for Undergraduate or Graduate Education when the creation of the proposed major, minor, concentration, or certificate is in the very early planning stages. They are here to assist. We encourage units to create programs that enrich our students’ academic experience, attract new students to the university, and provide new opportunities to stretch and grow. Good conversation and collaboration can assist with idea generation and the processing of proposals. 

Provost, Dean, and AVC will review proposals, determine priority for limited university resources, and provide information about availability of potential resources to proposal initiators. Programs can then invest time in developing those initiatives that are a priority for resources, as well as ensuring their initiatives are well organized before the university governance approval process begins so that the new program can be offered during the earliest possible fall semester. Proposers may choose to go forward with their documents without pre-approved funding if they wish, but it is not recommended

Resources Available to Help You Prepare

In the event you’d like to become familiar before logging in to begin completing the online form, you may wish to preview a list of New Program Proposal form fields.

The following resources are also available to assist you in gathering information before you begin:

  • Consult with AVCUE Tena Helton (for undergrad proposals) or AVCGE Cecilia Cornell (for grad proposals). The AVC's can also assist with the New Program Economic Viability form for new bachelor’s and master’s degree proposals.
  • Request occupational/student demand information from Carrie Allen and/or explore the Bureau of Labor Statistics Occupational Outlook Handbook.
  • Request enrollment projection data from Brian Clevenger. You are encouraged to request asap; it does take some time to pull data and requests will be scheduled in the order received.

Internal Governance Approvals

Questions about the internal governance process and anticipated timeline may be directed to  Brian Moore in the Provost’s Office

External Governance Approvals

The UIS Levels of Governance Table provides guidance as to which of the external application forms is appropriate. Most new program processes require the full Illinois Board of Higher Education (IBHE) New Degree Program Application, but for programs that are building on already existing programs, the Reasonable and Moderate Extensions (RME) Guidelines may be more appropriate. Please contact Kimberly Craig in the Provost’s Office for information and processes related to the external review and approval of new degree programs.

New Bachelor’s Degree/Major


An undergraduate major is a structured and coherent primary course of study. It allows undergraduates to develop a specialized, in-depth field of study as part of their educational experience at UIS. All undergraduates must complete the requirements for one major program to earn a baccalaureate degree at UIS.

Academic Policy

Majors may focus on a single discipline or provide an interdisciplinary approach to a field of study. Majors are usually offered by academic departments or schools within a college, but interdisciplinary majors may be co-sponsored by two or more departments or schools, even if those departments or schools are in different colleges. Typically, a major consists of a core of required courses and a set of electives from which students may choose. Majors usually consist of 30-36 credit hours. Majors are recorded on student transcripts.

Administrative Policy

Departments and schools housing undergraduate majors are responsible for advising students in the major.

New Academic Minor


An undergraduate academic minor is a grouping of courses that has clearly stated academic objectives. It may be located in a discipline or may combine different disciplinary perspectives focusing on a common set of questions or a theme. Minors provide basic competency in a discipline or basic understanding of the questions or theme. Minors contain one or more core courses to provide direction and unity, and they may contain a set of options or electives beyond the core to allow flexibility.

Academic Policy

At UIS, minors usually include 15-24 credit hours. Students may not adopt a minor in any major they declare. Students who adopt minors must be degree-seeking undergraduates who also have a major. Minors are recorded on student transcripts.

Administrative Policy

Departments and schools housing minors are responsible for advising students in the minor. Minors can only be offered by credit-generating units.

New Academic Concentration


A concentration is a grouping of courses within an undergraduate major and constitutes a portion of the major. A concentration is distinct from a minor in that a minor broadly introduces a student to a field of study, while a concentration focuses on a subfield within a discipline.

Academic Policy

Typically, a concentration is defined as a minimum of nine or more hours that a student may take as part of the degree program. Concentrations are housed only in departments or schools with majors and are recorded on student transcripts.

New Master’s Degree/Major


A master’s degree/graduate major is an organized course of study of at least the full-time equivalent of one but not more than two academic years of work beyond the bachelor’s degree.

Graduate Certificate


  • A Post-Baccalaureate Certificate requires completion of an organized program of study beyond the bachelor’s degree. It is designed for persons who have completed a baccalaureate degree, but does not meet the requirements of a master’s degree.
  • A Post-Master’s Certificate requires completion of an organized program beyond the master’s degree, but does not meet the requirements of academic degrees at the doctor’s level.

Updated 2023-11-15