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. The approval process is based on UW System Administration and Board of Regents policy.

Notice of Intent/Approval to Plan: 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, updated January 2020
Authorization Template: For the most recent template for the full authorization proposal see the Authorization Guide posted at
Five-Year Review: All new degree/major programs undergo a review at five years after implementation.  Follow UW-Madison program review guidelines.

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

Undergraduate program proposals must 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.

Departments and academic units proposing new degree/major programs must be up to date on all program reviews, assessment plans, and assessment reports.