Process for the Approval of a New Academic Major or Degree

New major and degree programs represent significant commitments by faculty and deans. The approval process to authorize their implementation is structured to assure wide communication and sufficient planning to make sure that the program is ready for students at the time of implementation. After approval by the school/college, the Graduate Faculty Executive Committee (GFEC), and the University Academic Planning Council (UAPC) is complete, the Board of Regents formally authorizes new degree/major programs.

Notice of Intent Requirements: Notice of Intent Requirements for New Degree/Majors
Notice of Intent: Entering information in Lumen Structures
Approval Guidelines: UW‐Madison Planning and Approval Guidelines for New Degree/Majors
Approval Template: Request for Authorization to Implement a Degree Template
Five-Year Review: Guidelines for the Five-Year Review of New Academic Degree/Majors

Contact Jocelyn Milner, director of APIR, to assure that you are structuring your request so that academic approvals will flow as smoothly as possible.

The approval process is based on UW System Administration and Board of Regents policy. In 2016, UW System Administration and the Board of Regents adopted new program planning and approval policies. The UAPC adopts and revises program planning guidelines to align with the System/BOR guidelines and past policy and practice at UW-Madison.


The UAPC has endorsed the use of the Wisconsin Experience as a framework for describing the student experience at UW-Madison and endorsed the Essential Learning Outcomes as goals and expectations for student learning (March 2008, October 2016). All new undergraduate program proposals are to address the ways in which the program aligns with the Wisconsin Experience framework and evaluates student progress to the Essential Learning Outcomes.

Undergraduate program proposals should include explicit planning for timely degree completion. In May 2000, the UAPC passed the following motion unanimously: As part of the review of new undergraduate program approvals, the UAPC will examine whether proposals make it clear how students can complete the degree in four years, or in a timely fashion if more than four years are necessary.