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New Degree Program and Certificate Requests

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30 Day Notification Requirement for New Degree and Certificate Requests

Texas public institutions of higher education that want to propose a new degree or certificate program must first notify other public institutions of higher education within a 50 mile radius of the proposed location of the new program. The proposing institution may notify area institutions through a letter or email to the chief academic officers of the area institutions. The proposing institution must notify area institutions at least 30 days prior to submitting the proposal to the Coordinating Board.

If the proposing institution receives any objections, the institution must resolve those objections prior to submitting a proposal to the Coordinating Board. If the institution cannot resolve the objections, then it may ask the Assistant Commissioner of the Academic Quality and Workforce Division to mediate the dispute. Once all objections have been resolved, the institution may submit the proposal to the Board, along with documentation showing that notification was given to nearby public institutions and that the objections, if any, were resolved. These provisions are found in Texas Administrative Code, Coordinating Board, Chapter 5, Subchapter C, Rule 5.44 (a) (6) and (b) (3).

Notification of Planning

Texas general academic and health-related institutions are authorized to offer approved programs as reflected in their Program Inventory. An institution must submit Planning Notification prior to submitting a new program request for the following:

  • Doctoral programs in any discipline
  • Engineering programs at any level (including multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary engineering programs)
  • Programs with new costs likely to exceed $2 million during the first five years

An institution is considered by the Board to be planning for a new degree program if it takes any action that leads to the preparation of a proposal for a new program. This includes hiring personnel, including consultants and planning deans, leasing and/or purchasing real estate, building facilities, and/or developing curriculum.

Planning notification must be submitted at least one year prior to submission of a proposal to offer the degree if the proposed program leads to the award of a "professional degree," as defined by Texas Education Code 61.306, including Doctor of Medicine (M.D.), Doctor of Osteopathy (D.O.), Doctor of Dental Surgery (D.D.S.), Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.), Juris Doctor (J.D.), and Bachelor of Laws (LL.B.).

Institutions submit Planning Notification through the online submission portal as a letter to the Assistant Commissioner of the Academic Quality and Workforce Division. The letter should include the title, degree designation, CIP code of the program, the anticipated date of submission of the proposal, and a brief description of the program.

After submitting Planning Notification, an institution's leadership may be requested to address the Board at a regularly scheduled meeting, to describe how the potential program would contribute to the state's higher education efficiency and effectiveness, while avoiding costly duplication in program offerings, faculties, and physical plants.

Certificates (Upper-division and Graduate)

Texas Administrative Code, Coordinating Board rules, Chapter 5, Subchapter C, Section 5.48 provides the criteria for establishing certificate programs at universities and health-related institutions.

Texas public universities and health-related institutions that want to offer a new upper-division undergraduate or graduate certificate program must first notify institutions within a 50 mile radius of the proposed teaching site of the new certificate program, allow a 30 day public comment period, and resolve any objections prior to submission of a Certificate Program Certification Form. Certificate programs that require Coordinating Board approval, through a streamlined approval process include:

  • Upper-level undergraduate certificates of 21 to 36 hours in disciplinary areas where the institution already offers an undergraduate degree program.
  • Graduate-level and professional certificates of 16 to 29 hours in disciplinary areas where the institution already offers a graduate program at the same level as the certificate.

Institutions are not required to notify the Coordinating Board when establishing new certificate programs with fewer than 21 SCH for an upper-level undergraduate and fewer than 16 SCH for graduate level certificate programs.

Guidelines for Educator Preparation Certificate Programs

If the institution is proposing a new educator certificate program in a disciplinary area in which the institution already offers an undergraduate degree program, submit the Certificate Program Certification Form.

If the institution is proposing a new degree that includes a new educator certificate, follow the requirements for requesting a new Bachelor's or Master's Program.

New Bachelor's and Master's Programs

CB Rules Chapter 5, Subchapter C, Section 5.45

New bachelor's and master's programs that meet the following criteria are approved (subject to staff review) if there are no objections received during the 30-day public comment period prior to submission of the Certification Form.

  • The program has institutional and governing board approval;
  • The program complies with the Standards for Bachelor's and Master's Programs;
  • Adequate funds are available to cover the costs of the new program;
  • New costs during the first five years of the program will not exceed $2 million;
  • The program is a non-engineering program (i.e., not classified under CIP code 14); and
  • The program will be offered by a university or health-related institution.

New bachelor's and master's programs that do not meet the above criteria must submit the Full Request Form.

New Doctoral Programs

Institutions proposing new doctoral or professional programs should refer to Coordinating Board Rules §5.46, Criteria for New Doctoral Programs, and the Characteristics of Texas Public Doctoral Programs.

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