Curriculum Services

New Degree Programs

These guidelines provide an overview of the procedures and formats for most new degree program proposals. Depending on the nature of your program (e.g., the new degree proposed is currently an option), another format and/or additional information may be required. If you have any questions before beginning any paperwork please contact Curriculum Services.


A new degree program requires approval from both the campus community and the Chancellor's Office. The process is initiated with a conceptual abstract (also called a projected program proposal).

Conceptual Abstract

The Conceptual Abstract should be an outgrowth of strategic planning.

The department or college initiating a new degree program should prepare a 1-2 page Conceptual Abstract that includes the following.  A Projected Degree Proposal (DOC)(opens in new window) template is available.

  • Name of proposed degree (AA 86-09 (PDF) specifies the campus policy requiring breadth in curriculum and in program name -- avoid overspecialization).
  • Department/College/University to offer degree
  • Summary statements on questions of need and demand
    • Relationship of program to mission of department and college
    • Student demand for the program
    • Demand for graduates (if a professional-occupational program)
  • Level of resource support required
    • Tentative sources of resource support
  • Relation of program to the University Strategic Plan(opens in new window).

The submitting department may proceed with a proposal as soon as Academic Affairs has approved the Conceptual Abstract.

November 30 of each year is the deadline to submit a Conceptual Abstract for review to Curriculum Services.

Submission of Conceptual Abstract for the CSU Academic Master Plan

The campus submits a list of potential new degree programs to the Chancellor's Office early each year for inclusion on the Trustees' Academic Master Plan. Programs are eligible for this list once support for the concept has been approved by the Department, the College, Graduate Studies (if applicable), and Academic Affairs. Although placing a degree program on the list satisfies a system-wide planning requirement, it does not directly affect the formal campus approval process and does not guarantee final approval.

Once the program concept has been approved, a formal proposal is prepared by the department or program. If the proposal is recommended for approval at all stages of the campus review process it will be sent to the Chancellor's Office for review and approval.

New Degree Proposal

After the Conceptual Abstract is approved by the Board of Trustees and added to the Academic Master Plan, a New Degree Proposal is completed and approved at campus level before being submitted to the Chancellor's Office for final approval.  There are links to information from the Chancellor's Office embedded in the document that you may find useful. The notes in red are campus-specific and should be deleted prior to finalizing your proposal and printing.

This document is the property of Academic Affairs and maintained by Curriculum Services