New Degree Program Creation

A degree program is a credential at the baccalaureate, master’s, or doctoral level (e.g., English, BA; Accountancy, MAcc; Exercise Science & Health Promotion, PhD). Creating a new degree program requires multiple levels of institutional approval followed by ACHE and SACSCOC review and approval. The approval process begins by entering the proposed program into Courseleaf.  The approval process follows the process identified below. It typically takes 10 - 18 months for a new degree program to be created. 

Before you Begin

Review UNA requirements for undergraduate and graduate degree programs (please see 3.3.3 Curriculum Development). 

Approval Process

To create a new degree program the originating academic unit should:

  1. Submit the proposed program information, including the ACHE NISP, in Courseleaf.
  2. The proposal will be reviewed by the Registrar.
  3. The proposal will be reviewed by the SACSCOC Liaison to determine ACHE/SACSCOC approval or notification requirements. 
  4. The Liaison will submit the NISP to ACHE. 
  5. The department chair reviews and approves. 
  6. The College Curriculum Committee reviews and approves. 
  7. The Dean reviews and approves. 
  8. The Council of Academic Deans (COAD) reviews and approves. 
  9. The Undergraduate Curriculum Committee (for undergraduate program proposals) or the Graduate Council (for graduate programs) reviews and approves. 
  10. The UNA Board of Trustees reviews and approves. 
  11. The New Program Proposal is submitted to ACHE. 
  12. After requiring ACHE approval, the New Program substantive change is submitted to SACSCOC. 

ACHE Program Approval
ACHE reviews programs four times per year

ACHE Post-Implementation Reports
To ensure program viability, the Commission requires a Post-Implementation Report seven years after the initial implementation. It is the department’s responsibility to submit the Post-Implementation Report to the SACSCOC Liaison by the required deadlines. Over the seven-year period, the minimum number of average graduates per program type must be met: 7.5 for bachelor's degree programs, 3.75 for master's degree programs, and 2.25 for doctoral programs.

SACSCOC Approval

New programs with 50 percent or more new content require Substantive Change approval by the SACSCOC Executive Council. 

Substantive changes implemented July 1-December 31 must be submitted to SACSCOC by January 1. 

Substantive changes implemented January 1-June 30 must be submitted to SACSCOC by July 1.

New programs with 25-49 percent new content must be submitted to SACSCOC for notification only. Notification is required before program implementation.

Process Completion

After approvals, the Registrar will build the new program in Banner to ensure it is operable; this usually occurs within a month of final approval. 

Answers to commonly asked questions about this process are provided below:

  • When will the new program appear in the Catalog?
    The program will appear in the next catalog if it is created by the Registrar prior to May 1st.
  • When can the originating unit begin advertising the program and recruiting students?
    Substantive changes are subject to SACSCOC’s Advertising and Student Recruitment policy. Marketing, advertising, and recruitment may begin after a prospectus is submitted and before receiving approval, provided the disclaimer statement of pending approval in the Advertising and Student Recruitment policy is clearly included in all marketing information. Admission applications may be taken, but admission offers – including contingent offers – should not be made until the substantive change is approved by SACSCOC.

The Advertising and Student Recruitment policy can be found here:

  • When will the program appear on the Admissions Application?
    After the Registrar builds the program (following ACHE/SACSCOC approval).
  • When can the new program be awarded?
    In the semester that it is built by the Registrar.

Questions about new degree programs should be sent to the SACSCOC Liaison at Courseleaf or approval flow questions should be sent to the Registrar at