Getting New Programs Approved

New graduate programs -- certificates, degrees, concentrations, minors -- must go through the APP process. The form will require a current and proposed description. To assist you in completing the forms, we can provide a word document with the current version of your program.

You can find the appropriate curriculum forms on the AP&P website:

Keep the following things in mind about timing and materials:

  • Effective Date: New courses and programs can only be effective beginning in a Fall semester. Pay particular attention to the deadlines to submit to the various committees [AP&P]. Nothing can be submitted to the Graduate AP&P until your college/school has voted on it.
  • Enrollment Targets - Minimum Enrollmment: The UNC system has set minimums on enrollment, and there are also minimums for off campus programs established by the Provost Council. New programs have 6 years to get there, but lack of progress toward the minimums can cause program closure prior to the 6th year. You need to be very sure that you have good demand for the program, and you should expect to be asked for concrete data showing demand.
  • Concentrations and Minors: New concentrations or minors are fairly simple curriculum matters, and once your college, and the Graduate AP&P review them, they can be implemented (assuming the Provost approves the AP&P minutes).
  • Graduate Certificates: New graduate certificates will receive more scrutiny. The Graduate AP&P will require that you supply additional information (PDF, 88 KB) to be submitted when the AP&P proposals are sent to the Graduate School. Once your college and the Graduate AP&P review them, they can be implemented (assuming the Provost approves the AP&P minutes). [more information on certificate structure]
  • Degree Programs: New degree majors will receive the most scrutiny, because once they are approved on campus, they must be sent to the UNC General Administration to receive official permission to plan them. Be prepared for this process to take anywhere from one semester to three years (!!!!) after Graduate AP&P approves your plans. Below is more information on the UNC GA mandated part of the process.


  1. The proposed new major must be one of the 5 priority programs on the institution's list. Each UNC campus is permitted a total of 5 (baccalaureate, master's, specialist, doctoral combined). For information on the current composition of this list, please consult with your academic dean.
  2. Request to Plan: Request for Authorization to Plan must be submitted to the college council and Graduate AP&P. The form can be obtained from the UNC GA website.
  3. Academic Affairs submits this request to UNC GA where the evaluation process commences (see pg 2 of the timeline document (PDF, 151 KB) for master's programs).
  4. Review may take 4 weeks (in our very recent experience, it really does take 4 weeks) and if there are questions, 4 weeks are given to respond and then the re-review may take up to 4 weeks.
  5. Once there are no further questions, the campus is invited to submit the Request for Authorization to Establish. The form can be obtained from the UNC GA website.
  6. The Request to Establish and all curriculum proposals must go through the college council, Grad Council, (Teacher Ed Council if applicable), and AP&P for a vote.
  7. Academic Affairs submits the request to the UNC GA. If there are questions at the GA level, the campus has 4 weeks to respond adequately (and so on).
  8. Once there are no questions, the Request to Establish goes to the UNC system Graduate Council for a 4 week review period.
  9. If the UNC system graduate council has no major questions or concerns, the Request to Establish goes to the EPPP committee of the Board of Governors; if there are questions, the campus has another 4 weeks to respond before anything goes to the BOG.
  10. When the BOG approves, the whole thing goes to SACS.
  11. We get the green light to recruit and admit (fyi, we cannot admit until after the SACS approval).