New Program Approval Procedures - Majors

(Baccalaureate, Masters, Doctoral or First Professional Degree Program)


This document describes the procedures for the review of new academic program proposals at Iowa State University. The procedures provide for both faculty and administrative input at all levels. This document describes both the approval process and the information that should be provided in a new academic program proposal. Generally, the proposal to establish a new curriculum, major, or degree program is initiated in an academic department or, in the case of interdepartmental programs, between departments and faculty members. The establishment of new academic programs requires approval by the department or sponsoring group, the appropriate college curriculum committee, the college faculty, the college dean, the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee, the Faculty Senate, the Senior Vice President and Provost, and the Board of Regents. If the proposal is to establish an advanced degree, see the "Graduate College Review" section.

Program Proposal

The first step in establishing a new academic program is the preparation of a proposal by an appropriate group of faculty or administrators.

Form A pdf on Board of Regents website

The new academic program proposal should clearly identify the need and demand for the program as well as its relation to the strategic plan and mission of the university. Additionally, the proposal will need to address the proposed program in relation to other similar programs within the state and the matter of unnecessary duplication, if other programs do exist.

Review and Approval Process

Each Regent institution is required to submit to the Board of Regents Office a Program Planning List each spring. The list will include the name and educational level of proposed programs that have already undergone an initial institutional review, are currently undergoing an in-depth institutional review, and are likely to be submitted for program approval by the Board of Regents within the year. Make sure your Dean and/or the Associate Provost for Academic Programs is aware that you intend to prepare a new program proposal.

  1. Departmental/Interdepartmental Review. The information concerning the program is presented to the departmental faculty and administrator or appropriate interdepartmental group. The appropriate administrator (generally the department chair) is responsible for consulting with the college dean concerning administrative support for the proposed program. The recommendation of the faculty and administration together with the supporting materials are then transmitted to the appropriate college level committee and administrator.
  2. Academic College Review. The academic college level review is conducted by the college curriculum committees, the college faculty, and by the dean's cabinet. The results of departmental and college reviews, with supporting information including a statement from the college administration, are next presented with recommendations concerning the program to the Graduate College Curriculum and Catalog Committee (if a Masters or Ph.D. proposal) or to the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee.
  3. Graduate College Review. Proposals that involve an advanced degree (Master's or Doctoral) are reviewed by the Graduate College Curriculum and Catalog Committee, the Graduate Council, and the Graduate Dean. The results of the Graduate College review, with supporting information including a statement from the Graduate College administration, are then presented with recommendations concerning the program to the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee.
  4. University Review. The Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee conducts the university level review. The FSCC passes its report to the Faculty Senate Academic Affairs Council for submission to the Faculty Senate. The results of their review with supporting information are then presented with recommendations concerning the program to the central administration, who review the proposal and, if appropriate, present results of earlier review to the Board of Regents.
  5. Regents Review. The Council of Provosts and the Board of Regents through the Education and Student Affairs Committee conduct the Regents level review. The Regents' decision will be communicated to the Senior Vice President and Provost, who will notify the college and/or program.

August 2007 (form updated January 2015)