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Academic Programs & Program Review - Frequently Asked Questions

 

What is a joint degree program?

A joint degree program is an arrangement between two or more institutions that are authorized to award a degree and agree to award it together. All participating institutions are designated on a student's diploma. Participating institutions negotiate and agree on data reported to the CB (e.g. enrollment, graduation numbers), an important consideration in formula funding, as only one institution is able to "count" courses and graduates.

What is a cooperative degree program?

A cooperative degree program is an arrangement between two institutions that allows the degree-granting institution to offer a degree program or portions of the program on the campus of the institution that does not have degree-granting authority. Generally used as a development process to encourage and guide the institution without degree-granting authority to develop programs in new areas. This arrangement expands educational opportunities for students through the provision of a degree program in a community or region of the state that may not have such degree programs available. Many of these arrangements deliver their programs using distance education technologies.

What is a dual degree program?

A dual degree program allows academically outstanding students to pursue two separate degree programs through a structured process. Such arrangements may reduce time to degree completion by a year. Graduates receive two degrees (e.g., medicine and law, law and business, medicine and public health). A dual degree program may be within an institution or across institutions.

What are the terms "substantive" and "non-substantive" and how are they used?

These terms are no longer in use to describe academic program or administrative change requests. For many years they were used to differentiate those requests that would be heard and acted upon by the Coordinating Board, and those that could be decided by the Commissioner and CB staff. "Substantive" requests went to the Coordinating Board for consideration during a quarterly meeting; almost all degree program requests and most administrative changes were treated in this way. Very few requests were handled at the Commissioner/staff level. In recent years, the Board has delegated more responsibility to the Commissioner for the approval of bachelor's and master's degree program requests, and the terms "substantive" and "non-substantive" came to have no real meaning. They were retired in practice almost ten years ago; they have been removed from current Coordinating Board resources for the proposal review process.

What is the process for requesting a change in the CIP code for an existing degree program?

Coordinating Board staff will consider requests for changes in the CIP code of a previously-approved degree program on a case-by-case basis. A request may be handled by letter to the Assistant Commissioner for Academic Affairs & Research. Requests should include a justification, including evidence of better alignment of the requested CIP code to describe the content of the degree program authorized by the Coordinating Board, evidence of need for the change, and any implementation costs and how those costs would be met. Information about any changes in the content, curriculum, or core faculty of the program since approval should be included as part of the request. A change in CIP code should never allow for an expanded authority beyond what has been previously granted to the institution; the change should not lead to what could amount to a new degree program with different placement opportunities or significantly different content from the previously approved program.

What is the Table of Programs?

Each public university and health science center has a Table of Programs that indicates in summary form the academic areas and specific disciplines or degree areas in which the institution has official permission to offer degree programs or the preliminary authority to plan/propose to offer degree programs. The Table of Programs is organized by two-digit general CIP areas and by the level of degree authorized. Community colleges and technical institutes do not have individual Tables of Programs.

Where do I find a current listing of my institution's Table of Programs?

Click here- Table of Programs- and then use the search function to see your institution's (or any other institution's) Table of Programs.

What is a program inventory?

A program inventory displays all the degrees that a college or university is authorized to award. An institutional program inventory can be found by using this search tool- Program Inventory- available at the Coordinating Board website.

Is it possible to change the title of a degree program?

A degree title is the name of the degree and discipline under which one or more degree programs may be offered and usually consists of the degree designation and discipline specialty.  For example, an institution may offer degree programs in Experimental Psychology, Counseling Psychology, and Clinical Psychology under the single degree title "Master of Science with major in Psychology."

The degree designation is "Master of Science" or "MS."  Each of the three degree programs would require Coordinating Board approval and separate identification in the official degree program inventory before they could be offered or advertised.

Modification of an authorized degree title requires Coordinating Board approval before it may be publicized.  Minor modifications which do not alter the content or nature of degree programs may be approved by Coordinating Board staff upon application from an institution.

How are tracks, emphases, concentrations, specializations, etc., handled? Do they require Coordinating Board approval and review?

As a general rule, a track, emphasis, concentration, specialization, etc. focuses a student’s attention within a more specialized area of an existing degree program.  A track, emphasis, concentration, specialization, etc. usually comprises a set of considerably fewer courses than that offered as the “major course work” for a degree plan, and may take the form of a specific set of courses to be completed in lieu of prescribed electives. Participation in a track, emphasis, concentration, specialization, etc. depends on the student completing other courses that are taken in common with all others following the existing degree program. A track, emphasis, concentration, specialization, etc. should reflect a specific need within the relatively broader purview of the existing degree authority, but should not expand beyond the boundaries of the previously approved “parent” program.A track, emphasis, concentration, specialization, etc. would not be expected to lead to a stand-alone degree in the future. These focus areas are not expected to lead to significantly different or expanded employment opportunities for graduates of a program, but may offer additional work to deepen the expertise in a sub-area of the existing program.  An institution considering adding a track, emphasis, concentration, specialization, etc. should consider whether the proposed track, emphasis, concentration, specialization, etc.  has a different CIP Code from the existing program; whether it might lead to different available certifications or licensures, and whether it would expand employment opportunities for graduates beyond those generally available for the existing degree program.  An institution should also consider other evidence that could demonstrate an appropriately close relationship between the existing degree program content and the proposed track, emphasis, concentration, specialization, etc.Tracks, emphases, concentrations, specializations, etc. are not considered to be the same as a degree program or certificate program, and, like minors, are not tracked officially by the Coordinating Board. However, such areas of emphasis would be reviewed as part of a routine existing program review, and could be required to demonstrate that they conform to the general guidelines articulated above.Universities should keep in mind the prohibition in Coordinating Board rules regarding the implementation of courses for degrees or at levels for which the institution does not have existing program approval. These rules can be found in Chapter 5, Subchapter B, Section 5.25 (http://www.thecb.state.tx.us/index.cfm?objectid=5A6A95B5-C47C-258A-57D1616264F83556):

(a) Under the provisions of Texas Education Code, §61.052 (a) and (b), institutions shall report its course offerings and changes to its course offerings following procedures established by the Commissioner.

(b) Institutions may not offer courses at levels or in programs not approved by the Board,

(c) The Commissioner may order the deletion or consolidation of any courses so submitted after giving due notice with reasons for that action and after providing a hearing if one is requested by the governing board of the institution.

What are the first steps toward proposing a new doctoral program?

Institutions must fill out and submit the "New Doctoral Degree Request Form." To help make that process easier, the Coordinating Board developed a set of guidelines for institutions to use when filling out that form. You will find the guidelines and the form here.


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