Changes to an Existing Degree Program

Changes to an Existing Degree Program

Certain changes to existing degree programs separate from those regarding adding or modifying a concentration, minor, or track, require institutional review and approval by the Office of the Provost and may also require approval by the Faculty Senate, the State Council for Higher Education of Virginia (SCHEV) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). Examples include:

  • CIP Code: Changing the six-digit Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP) Code designation used to classify the degree program for state and federal reporting.
  • Delivery Format: Changing how the program is delivered. For example, adding online delivery in addition to face-to-face delivery of a program, or adding online delivery and eliminating face-to-face delivery. Please note: Adding an online or distance delivery format also requires compliance with state authorization requirements.
  • Name: Changing the official name or title of the degree.
  • Program Length: Increasing or decreasing the total # of credits by more than 3 credits.

Programs considering changes to an existing degree are encouraged to confer with their school’s academic compliance contact and with the IRA contact referenced below as early as possible for guidance and support on the necessary documentation and approvals required.

The following form to initiate a request to change an existing degree program includes detailed instructions for each field.  Please note: You will not be able to ‘save’ and ‘return’ to the form at a later date, so we recommend that you preview and prepare the required information in advance:

Change a Degree Program Initiation Form 

Review & Approval Process for Changing an Existing Degree

IRA staff will advise and coordinate with the program lead(s) and the school’s academic compliance contact to manage process requirements, including providing relevant sample materials to guide the work. Making changes to a degree program requires the following steps:

School Curriculum Committee & Dean: Programs should consult with their school’s designated academic compliance contact for guidance and support on necessary documentation and procedures. If the proposed change may involve/impact faculty, students, courses and/or academic programs in other UVA school(s), the sponsoring dean should consult with the corresponding dean(s).

Once a Change a Degree Program Initiation Form is submitted, IRA staff review the request, assist the sponsoring program in preparing all necessary documentation, including for SCHEV and/or SACSCOC review if needed, and obtain initial Provost approval from the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.

  • Upon initial VPAA approval, IRA staff notify the University Registrar (UREG) and International Studies Office (ISO) to determine whether additional approvals from the Department of Education, Veteran’s Affairs and/or Homeland Security are required.

  • IRA staff will coordinate with VPAA to manage Faculty Senate reviews, if required.

  • If SCHEV and/or SACSCOC approval is required, IRA staff will advise the sponsoring program on SCHEV/SACSCOC requirements and coordinate all formal submissions and approvals.

Notice of Formal Approval: Once all necessary approvals are complete, IRA staff will circulate notice of formal approval to the school dean and relevant institutional stakeholders, including the University Registrar, to update the degree in the Record and Student Information System.

Timeline for Changing an Existing Degree Program

For a degree program change to take effect the following fall, all approvals (including SCHEV, if applicable) must be secured by July 1. For spring, the deadline is December 1.

Changing an Existing Certificate Program Timeline
  Effective Term - Fall Effective Term - Spring
Approval Deadline July 1 December 1


Institutional reviews (e.g., Faculty Senate) occur based on the bodies’ respective scheduled meetings during the academic year. The Faculty Senate dockets can fill up quickly, so programs are encouraged to secure the necessary school approvals in the semester preceding their target Senate term to allow time for Senate review.

SCHEV has three cycles in which it considers proposals to modify existing degree programs each year:

  • Fall Cycle: Proposal due January 1

  • Spring Cycle: Proposal due May 1

  • Summer Cycle: Proposal due September 1

    Programs should allow a minimum of 90 days for SCHEV review.

 University Record and marketing updates may not be made until approvals are complete and IRA staff have circulated formal notice of approval