Academic Program Development and Management

Approval of New Academic Programs


Proposals for new degree or certificate programs in The Graduate School, or in any of the professional schools, must be approved by the faculty governance of the school as well as its dean. Learn more about the process from The Graduate School policy.


Requests for new programs as well as revisions to programs, are submitted to the Trinity College’s Office of Curriculum and Course Development, and reviewed by the faculty Committee on Curriculum, a standing committee of the Arts & Sciences Council. Learn more about the process from Trinity College.

Additional Information

Information from the Provost's Office regarding new programs and degrees

Flow charts for new degree programs

Appendix Y:  Steps in the Process of Approving New Academic Degrees

Managing Existing Academic Programs

Substantive Change

Substantive change is a federal term pertaining to any "significant modification of the nature and scope of an accredited institution."  Colleges and Universities must notify their accrediting body of potential or actual substantive change in a timely fashion, and in many cases must receive approval for such change from the accrediting body before the initiative is implemented.

Duke University's regional accrediting body, the Commission on Colleges (COC) of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS), is required by the federal government to monitor its constituents' compliance with the substantive change policy and to grant permission for major changes to occur.  In order to ensure our compliance, all proposers of new programs, degrees, and other major initiatives should review the substantive change policy at the link provided in Appendix Y of the Faculty Handbook as well as the relevant portion of the SACSCOC website, which contains much useful information.

In addition, proposers must fill out this checklist and submit it to the Duke University Liaison to SACSCOC before presenting the initiative to the Academic Programs Committee (in the case of academic programs and degrees) or to the University Priorities Committee (in the case of major nonacademic changes).

Please feel free to call Molly Goldwasser with any questions (919-684-0731) or to email her at