Academic Development at UAlbany
We encourage faculty members, academic departments and schools/colleges looking to establish new academic offerings and/or update existing offerings to contact the Office of Undergraduate Education at [email protected] for individualized assistance.
We are available to provide feedback, direction and assistance throughout the process. We also encourage you to review our online guidance:
Develop a New Undergraduate Degree Program
UAlbany has a structured governance and administrative review process for establishing new undergraduate degree programs. Faculty members are responsible for initiating this process.
All academic programs must be registered with the New York State Education Department (NYSED) before they can be advertised or offered to students. Additionally, students may only be granted financial aid if they are pursuing registered academic programs and may only graduate from registered programs.
Next, please follow these steps:
New programs are developed by an academic department, committee or group of faculty members.
Start by talking with your school/college’s Dean about your idea for a new program.
Next, complete these two forms:
Program Announcement: Undergraduate Degree Program (Form 1A): This form is used to secure the initial support for a new program from both UAlbany and SUNY System Administration. Be prepared to provide a brief description of the program and a list of desired courses.
Campus Impact Form: This form will go to the University Planning & Policy Council (UPPC), which will consider the resources required to establish and sustain the program. Be prepared to outline the resources required to support the proposed program’s success.
Share your completed forms from Step 1 with your school/college’s Dean and internal governance body for their consideration.
If the Dean endorses the Program Announcement, they will send it and the Campus Impact Form to the Provost.
If the Provost approves the Program Announcement for development, they will send both forms to the Office of Undergraduate Education (UGE) for consideration and referral to the University Planning & Policy Council (UPPC) for governance review.
UPPC will ensure both documents are in harmony with UAlbany’s mission and consider the proposed program’s resource implications. If UPPC approves, they will send the Program Announcement to the Provost for approval.
If the Provost approves the Program Announcement, UGE will send the document to SUNY System Administration for review and approval.
UAlbany’s SUNY-assigned campus reviewer will review the Program Announcement and reach out to UGE with any questions or requests for more information. The office will facilitate the UAlbany’s response.
If the Program Announcement is approved by the SUNY reviewer, it is shared with all SUNY institutions. They will have 14 days to provide notification that they plan to comment. If an institution provides this notice, they have 30 days to submit their comments to both UAlbany and SUNY.
During this comment period, you must prepare a list of at least five potential external reviewers from out-of-state institutions.
For proposed programs that would lead to professional licensure, you must also recommend external reviewers from in-state institutions.
External reviewers must not be connected to the department’s faculty in any way. Additionally, honorarium payments are more easily paid to faculty not currently associated with SUNY institutions.
Please list reviewers in order of preference and provide the following for each reviewer:
A short explanation as to why they are experts in the proposed program’s academic area
Information about their current institutional affiliation(s) and their educational background
Any other information that would support their candidacy as an external reviewer for the proposed program
Once your dean approves the entire external reviewer list, submit it to UGE. Our office will send the list to the Provost for consideration. The Provost will decide whether any of the proposed external reviewers shouldn’t be invited to participate.
The Office of Undergraduate Education (UGE) will inform the academic department and faculty whether any SUNY institution sent comments on the Program Announcement. If there are comments, the department must address them in its final proposal.
The lead faculty and department will work with UGE to write their full program proposal.
The main proposal form is the New Program Proposal: Undergraduate Degree (Form 2A). Be prepared to provide a needs analysis, input from employers and faculty, library and other resource implications, student learning outcomes, and assessment plans.
Additional forms are required in specific circumstances:
External Instruction (Form 2E): Include this form in the full proposal if the new degree would have an external teaching component, such as internships, practicum, field placement, etc.
Distance Education Format Proposal (Form 4): Include this form in the full proposal if the new degree would have a distance education format (meaning at least 50% of the program would be available online).
While the proposal is being developed, UGE will work with the academic department and school/college to arrange for the external reviewers’ site visit. Site visits can be done virtually if there is nothing specific within the program that requires a reviewer to be on campus for their review.
The initiating department is considered the host and should complete the following to prepare:
Arrange funding and/or honorarium for the site visit with the Dean's Office
Develop a visit itinerary and share it with UGE
Send the reviewers a quality, draft proposal (Form 2A) at least two weeks before their scheduled visit
Each reviewer will submit an External Evaluation Report (Form 2D).
The Dean, academic department and faculty should read the reviewers’ reports and craft a response. The proposal may also require edits.
UGE will write a cover letter for the proposal after Senate approval. The cover letter must include a statement that UAlbany hosted external reviewers for a visit and incorporated their suggestions into the proposal.
If resource implications have changed, you must also update your Campus Impact Report and provide an explanation for any changes. If resource implications have not changed, include your original Campus Impact Report in your proposal.
Please make any necessary changes to your full proposal before submitting it to the Dean, who may also seek consideration from the school/college’s governance body.
Once approved at the school/college level, UGE will send the full proposal to the Undergraduate Academic Council (UAC) for review and approval.
UAC’s Curriculum and Honors subcommittee will review the proposal before presenting it to the full committee for approval. Upon UAC approval, the proposal will be sent to the University Senate.
The Senate’s Executive Committee will review the proposal before sending it to the full Senate for approval. Upon Senate approval, the proposal will be sent to the Provost and President for final UAlbany approval.
If approved, the President will sign Form 2A and then the full proposal will be transmitted to SUNY System for review.
SUNY System Administration will review the proposal and reach out to the Office of Undergraduate Education (UGE) with any questions or requests for more information. UGE will facilitate the UAlbany’s response.
If SUNY approves the proposal, they will send it to the NYSED for review.
NYSED will review the proposal and reach out to UGE with any questions or requests for more information. UGE will facilitate the UAlbany’s response.
If NYSED approves the proposal, UGE will receive notice that the program is being registered. UGE will share the news with the dean, academic department, faculty and other key offices at the University.
Once the program is approved and registered, the school/college and academic department may start to advertise, teach and graduate students in the program.
Update an Existing Undergraduate Degree Program
Undergraduate academic programs are regularly revised. All changes go through the Office of Undergraduate Education before being submitted for campus governance review.
Additionally, substantive changes to content require SUNY System Administration approval and/or New York State Education Department (NYSED) re-registration.
The following are examples of substantive changes to content:
Cumulative changes since the last NYSED approval and registration of the program that affect 30 percent or more of the degree’s required credits
To count credits for revision purposes, each replacement of one course for another course is considered a change. For example, eliminating one 3-credit course and replacing it with another 3-credit course would be considered a 6-credit change.
UAlbany, not SUNY or NYSED, is responsible for monitoring cumulative changes to each degree program.
Changes in the program’s focus or design, including a change in the program’s major disciplinary area
An example would be eliminating management courses in a business administration program.
Establishing an existing program at a branch campus is not a revision. This would require registration of a new program.
If a format change enables students to complete at least 50% of the program via distance education (online learning), a Distance Education Format Proposal must be submitted as part of the revision.
Adding or eliminating one or more options, concentrations or tracks
Any new track or concentration, as well as any removal of tracks or concentrations, must be approved by SUNY and NYSED.
Deactivation of a program (suspending enrollment for up to three years) only requires SUNY approval, based on a campus request with a Deactivation and/or Discontinuance Proposal.
Discontinuance of a program requires SUNY approval, after which NYSED will remove it from the Inventory of Registered Programs. This action would also require a Deactivation and/or Discontinuance Proposal.
Adding or eliminating a requirement for completion, including internships, clinical placements, cooperative education or other field-based experience
Any time a requirement like this is added or removed, it must be approved by SUNY and NYSED.
Altering the liberal arts and sciences (LAS) content in a way that changes the degree classification as defined in Section 3.47(c)(1-4) of Regents Rules
Changing an award from BA to BS or BS to BA would require approval from both SUNY and NYSED.
To update an existing undergraduate academic program, please follow these steps:
The school/college dean may ask faculty to consider program changes or vice versa.
In response, please work with the Office of Undergraduate Education (UGE) to prepare a Program Revision Proposal: Changes to an Existing Program (Form 3A) and have the form reviewed by the school/college’s internal governance body.
Once the school/college approves the proposal, please complete a Campus Impact Form.
The dean should then submit both forms to UGE, which will forward the packet to the University Planning & Policy Council (UPPC) and the Undergraduate Academic Council (UAC).
UAC’s Curriculum & Honors subcommittee will review the proposal before presenting it to the UAC for approval.
The UAC and UPPC chairs will inform the Senate Executive Committee once they have approved the revision.
Depending on the revision’s significance, the proposal may be presented to the full University Senate for additional approval. If so, the Senate will review and vote on the proposed changes.
Once the proposal is approved by all required UAlbany governing bodies, the revision will be forwarded to the UAlbany Provost for final campus consideration.
If the revision requires SUNY and NYSED approval, UGE will work with the Provost’s Office to send the proposal to SUNY.
Upon SUNY approval, the proposal will be forwarded to NYSED for consideration, final approval and re-registration of the degree. NYSED’s review may involve notice to other state institutions, affording them the opportunity to comment on the degree changes.
If NYSED approves the proposal, UGE will receive notice that the program is being registered. UGE will share the news with campus leaders, the dean, academic department, faculty and other key offices at the University.
Develop a New Minor
If you’d like to develop a new minor, please discuss your ideas with your academic department and your school/college’s Dean before reaching out to the Office of Undergraduate Education for assistance and governance approval.
Minors should be at least 18 credits, nine of which must be upper-level courses or courses that require a prerequisite.
The Undergraduate Academic Council (UAC) has final authorization authority for new minors. Their actions are reported to the University Senate via the Senate’s Executive Committee.
Develop or Update an Undergraduate Course
New undergraduate courses can be developed and existing undergraduate courses can be updated as part of a proposal to create or update an academic program, due to degree needs or as part of an effort to change elective options.
Regardless of the circumstances, this process is facilitated by the submission of a Course Action Form to departmental, school/college and then campus governance bodies.
Once the form has been approved at the academic department and school/college levels, the Office of Undergraduate Education will send it to the Undergraduate Academic Council (UAC) for consideration.
Course Actions Forms are submitted, distributed and stored electronically. The file must be submitted as a Word document, not as a PDF.
As you complete the form, please adhere to these guidelines:
Check off all appropriate items at the top of the form.
Provide only information relevant to the course action you’re requesting.
Do not underline the course description, if applicable.
Include the intended semester effective date for the action requested. If you’re requesting retroactive action, please provide reasoning.
Some actions can be implemented retroactively, particularly when the change provides a clear advantage to students (such as allowing a course to fulfill a degree requirement).
Include the names of all individuals involved in the school/college’s approval process, as well as the date each person approved the Course Action Form. Signatures are not required.
Your school/college should not send the Course Action Form to the Office of Undergraduate Education until it has been routed for appropriate approvals at the school/college level.
Any course action request that involves courses outside the initiating department must include email correspondence from the outside departments’ chairs in which they agree to the change.
If your course action request is part of a program proposal, include the exact Undergraduate Bulletin text for the undergraduate major and/or minor requirements as it should appear (including formatting).
If the proposal includes multiple course action requests, number each Course Action Form.
Develop a New Combined Degree Program
Use these instructions to establish a new combination of an existing undergraduate degree program and an existing graduate degree program.
Note: If either of the programs involved in the combination lead to licensure (such as teaching or accounting), the combined degree program must be approved on campus and registered with the New York State Education Department (NYSED) before it can be offered or advertised as a combined degree program.