3.36.1 Academic Program Approval

Responsible Position

Vice President of Academic and Student Affairs


Minnesota State Board Policy

Minnesota State System Procedure

Minnesota Statute 135A.052 Postsecondary Missions


The chancellor shall establish processes for academic program applications and continued maintenance and administration of programs.

Approval of new academic programs

A new academic program requires approval by the chancellor before it is offered by a college or university.

All college-level courses required for academic program completion, with the exception of preparatory courses, must be included in the total number of credits for an undergraduate academic program.

New program applications must address the following items as detailed in the program application form available online:

  1. Alignment with the college or university mission
  2. Collaboration, agreements, and applicable approvals
  3. Curriculum attributes
  4. Enterprise system requirements
  5. Program marketing
  6. Program demand and unnecessary duplication
  7. Resources

The chancellor may conditionally approve an academic program.

Maintenance of academic program records

Colleges and universities shall maintain their academic program records in the system program inventory to inform students, address consumer disclosure requirements, and support college or university business practices. Program information to be maintained includes the following:

  1. Accreditation for the program, if applicable
  2. Career clusters, pathways, and assessments (Minnesota State colleges)
  3. Center of excellence affiliation, if applicable
  4. Closed enrollment status and organization(s) served
  5. Delivery mode
  6. Effective begin and end terms
  7. Emphases, if applicable
  8. Green designation, if applicable
  9. Locations
  10. Name, description, student learning outcomes, and URL
  11. Time to completion
  12. Type, Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) code, and level
  13. Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) codes, if applicable
  14. Transfer Pathway Designation
  15. Baccalaureate Completion Programs

Approval of names for academic programs and emphases

Colleges and universities have considerable latitude to name an academic program consistent with its content and purpose, although consideration should be made for clarity, brevity, and professionalism.

  1. Names for academic programs must:
    • represent program learning outcomes as reflected by core content of the curriculum;
    • reflect the assigned Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) code unless a suitable CIP code is not available;
    • be less than or equal to 50 characters in length, including spaces so that a name can appear on student awards and transcripts. If this title exceeds 50 characters (including spaces), a short title must also be identified due to ISRS field limitations;
    • include the word “advanced only” when justified relative to preceding programs, comparison to entry level job standards, or special admissions criteria;
    • be permitted to use the prefix “pre-” when
    • i. the program prepares individuals for an associate of science degree that a graduate must complete to be admitted to a baccalaureate-level program that is the minimum necessary qualification for practice, such as any of the engineering specialties,
      ii. marketing a baccalaureate degree for a post-baccalaureate professional field such as pre-dentistry, pre-medicine, pre-pharmacy, pre-veterinary medicine, pre-nursing, pre-chiropractic medicine, pre-occupational therapy, pre-optometry, and pre-physical therapy.
    • Transfer pathway programs must follow the naming convention “[Discipline] Transfer Pathway”.
  2. Academic program names must not include ampersands or references to:
    • the words “program,” “awards” (certificate, diploma, associate, baccalaureate, master’s, doctorate), “delivery mode,” “emphasis,” “option,” or other curricular descriptors,
    • the term “pathway” in a program title is limited to designated transfer pathway programs
    • words such as “basic,” “careers,” “concepts,” “core,” “foundations,” “fundamentals,” “general,” “introduction,” and “orientation” when the program is intended for occupational preparation,
    • accreditation or external curriculum approvals, such as AACSB, ABET, ACS, or NCATE. An acronym, if essential, may be used in conjunction with relevant text to communicate program content,
    • licensure when licensure is granted by an external agency and not a college or university. An emphasis title may include the word “non-licensure” to indicate that the program does not prepare a student to apply for licensure,
    • certified or registered when this recognition is granted by an external agency and not a college or university. Either term is allowed in an academic program name if doing so is required by an external agency. Nursing program titles recommended by the Minnesota Board of Nursing must exclude use of the words “certification” and “registered”, for example:
    • “Nursing Assistant” for nursing assistant certification and home health aide certification,
    • “Practical Nursing” for licensed practical nursing, or
    • “Nursing” for registered nursing

Related ATCC Documents:


Approved by: Leadership Council

Effective Date: 4/6/2021

Next Review Date: April 2024

Archive: 3.11.2 Academic Program Approval