Skip to main content

Academic Program Planning and Prioritization Process

Effective September 1, 2012

To be globally competitive, NC State must attract the world’s best undergraduate and graduate students and provide them with cutting-edge education that prepares them for leadership roles in a complex global society.  Effective academic planning is essential for achieving this goal.

In order to meet the criteria for effective academic program planning at NC State, the Council of Deans will be charged with the ultimate responsibility of recommending to the Provost those new program proposals (both on-campus and distance education) that should be further developed through the existing planning and approval process and for making recommendations relative to planning priority as requested by the UNC System Office (UNC SO).

Process for requesting authorization to plan and prioritization of new degree programs will include:

Approval to plan a new academic program will be obtained from the Provost upon recommendation of the Council of Deans (see Figure 1).  The program director/program faculty will prepare a UNC SO form titled “Request to Plan (A New Degree Program – Any Delivery Method)” and a 1-page concept paper addressing the seven guiding principles outlined below.

Prior to beginning preparation of the required documentation, please contact the Graduate School (Peter Harries at or Division of Academic and Student Affairs (Bret Smith at to obtain the most current electronic copy of the “Request to Plan” [or click on the above form title] and to obtain an assigned proposal tracking number.

Once completed, the documents are to be submitted to the appropriate College(s) for review.  Upon approval at the College level the documents will be submitted to the Office of the Provost (LaTissa Davis at for inclusion on the agenda for the next regularly scheduled academic program planning session of the Council of Deans.  The Lead Dean(s) will present the proposed academic program to the Council of Deans who will then make a recommendation to the Provost.  The Provost will then make a final decision and communicate that decision to the program faculty.

Planning documents received in the Office of the Provost on or before September 1* will be evaluated during the second Council of Deans meeting in September and those received on or before February 1st being evaluated during the second Council of Deans meeting in February.

The recent practice at the UNC SO has been to ask the campus to prioritize requests for new degree programs.  In addition to evaluating requests to plan during the September and February Council of Deans meeting, the Council will also recommend to the Provost the University’s priorities relative to new degree programs.  It is important to recognize that: 1) this is advisory to the Provost, 2) the priority may change as new programs are proposed and/or approved by UNC SO, and 3) this priority ranking is advisory to UNC SO and may or may not dictate planning at the UNC Board of Governors level.

Guiding principles to be used to inform development and prioritization of new degree programs

  • Consistent with our mission and niche in the UNC system.
  • Relates to areas identified through the strategic planning process or will establish novel areas of inquiry in which the campus can quickly achieve national prominence
  • Is broad, inter- or multi-disciplinary, and allows for multiple specializations to be created or eliminated as needed
  • Leverages existing programs and/or leads to elimination of smaller, narrower degrees
  • Builds on existing capacity as evidenced by a body of faculty active in the area of scholarship (shown by grants, publications, successful collaborations, etc.)
  • Values doctoral and master’s over baccalaureate programs (doctoral>master’s>baccalaureate)
  • Is economically sustainable; preference will be given for reassignment of existing resources (or long-term external funding, such as endowment) over those with short-term funding (e.g., grants of a finite duration) or those relying on enrollment increase funding.  Note: Current UNC SO guidelines require new program proposals to include a funding plan that does not rely on guaranteed enrollment increase funding for implementation.

Proposals approved for planning will be returned to the proposing program director/program faculty for routing through the current academic program approval process.

Once on-campus approval (including the BOT) has been obtained, the “Request to Plan (A New Degree Program – Any Delivery Method)” will then be transmitted to UNC SO for approval and authorization to plan.  Once UNC SO grants approval to plan, a UNC SO form titled “Request to Establish (a New Degree Program – Any Delivery Method)” will be completed and routed through the existing approval process (including the BOT) prior to submission to UNC SO.  Note: Current UNC SO guidelines indicate this submission must take place within 4 months of UNC SO granting authorization to plan.

Final Note:  This planning and prioritization procedure is for all new on-campus and distance education programs.  The conversion of existing programs (currently authorized by UNC SO for on-campus delivery) to distance education (offered either by technology or at a remote site) requires completion of the UNC SO form titled “Request to Deliver (Existing Degree Program – New Delivery Mode or Site” and should be done following existing Division of Academic and Student Affairs (undergraduate) and Graduate School (graduate) procedures.

View this page as [pdf] or [docx]