Academic Program Information

General Information about program development and approval

What is the difference between a proposal and PCAS?
The terms "proposal" and "PCAS" are often used interchangeably. In some ways, they are the same. They both contain important details about the program that is being created or changed. The main distinctions, however, are as follows:
  • Proposals are the development of and argument for the new or changed program. These are the documents created and circulated at the departmental and collegiate level, which provide the historical record of the early stages of the process. The content of these proposals is largely determined by what departments and colleges require for their internal review proceses.
  • Various components of proposals are entered into the Program and Curricular Approval System, or PCAS, the online tool for tracking academic programs at the institutional level. PCAS serves as the official university record and ensures that all program requirements are clearly articulated. Content from PCAS is published in the catalogs used by students and advisors.
What are you looking for when you review proposals and PCAS entries?
There are various points of emphasis at each stage in the process. For example:
  • Colleagues in Graduate and Undergraduate Education pay close attention to admission and degree requirements, compliance with university policy, and other factors specifically related to the academic success of students.
  • Review by the Academic Health Center and the Office of the Provost focus on things like need and demand, efficiency and effectiveness, support and resources, mission, collaboration, and program duplication.
What needs to go before the Board of Regents?
New and major changes to existing programs need to be approved by the Provost and then the Board of Regents. These include but are not limited to:
  • new degree programs, minors, sub-plans, and certificates;
  • discontinued programs, minors, sub-plans, and certificates;
  • name changes to programs, minors, sub-plans, and certificates;
  • online and distance delivery of new or existing programs;
  • collaborations with other national or international institutions of higher education;
  • anything deemed significant by the Office of the Provost.