Types of Substantive Changes

We provide information and resources on the most common types of substantive change below, which include new degree programs, off-campus sites, and joint- or dual-degree programs.

New Programs

A new program with 25-49% new content is a significant departure from the institution’s existing programs and requires notification prior to implementation. Content is new if it is not currently offered by the institution at the new program’s instructional level.

A new program with 50-100% new content is a significant departure from the institution’s existing programs and requires SACSCOC approval prior to implementation (requires a prospectus).

Closures (Discontinuations) 

Closing an academic program requires SACSCOC approval. Approval requires a teach-out plan. This is required when:

  • Closing a program
  • Closing a site
  • Ending a program at a location (even if program continues to be offered at other locations)
  • Ending a method of delivery (even if program continues to be offered by other methods of delivery)

The purpose of this policy and the requirement of a teach-out plan is to ensure students have completion options that minimize disruption and extra costs.

Off-Campus Instructional Sites

A new off-campus instructional site at which 25-49% of a program’s instruction is delivered requires notification prior to implementation.

A new off-campus instructional site at which 50% or more of a program’s instruction is delivered requires SACSCOC approval prior to implementation (requires a prospectus).

Closing an off-campus instructional site requires SACSCOC approval and a teach-out plan. For SACSCOC, a site is considered closed as of the date the institution stops admitting students to the site; closure is not the date of last instruction. Sites that are closed may be re-opened within 5 years with a letter of notification.

Cooperative Academic Arrangements

In reference to SACSCOC standard 10.9

An agreement with an entity (or entities) to deliver program content recorded on the NC State transcript as its own requires notification prior to implementation if:

  • 50% or more of a program is offered through the arrangement, or
  • NC State could not deliver the program without the arrangement (i.e., it is dependent on the arrangement to deliver a program)

Examples of a cooperative academic arrangement include geographic consortia, statewide distance education agreements, contractual instruction, and agreements with international institutions.

Dual and Joint Academic Awards (External Degrees)

A dual academic award is an arrangement in which a student receives instruction at two (or more) institutions leading to each institution granting academic awards at the same credential level. The award granted by each institution bears only its name. A dual academic award requires notification prior to implementation.

A joint academic award is one in which a student receives instruction at two (or more) institutions leading to the institutions granting a single academic award bearing the names, seals, and officials’ signatures of each participating institution. A joint academic award in which all institutions are SACSCOC accredited requires notification prior to implementation. A joint academic award with non-SACSCOC institution(s) or entity(ies) requires approval and a prospectus.