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Program Development Frequently Asked Questions

The Provost’s Office keep a collection of frequently asked questions pertaining to program development. Use the below links to jump to your desired topic. If you do not see an answer to your question, please contact the Office of the Provost at 270-745-8985.



What items are eligible for an expedited curriculum review?

The following items are eligible for expedited review:

  • Program Deletions/Suspensions
  • Reactivation of Programs with no impact on other departments
  • Course Deletions/Suspensions with no impact on other departments
  • Course Prerequisite/Corequisite Changes if no impact on other departments
  • Course Prefix changes
  • Course Description Updates (typos only)
  • Number changes without a level change (lower-level to lower-level or upper-level to upper-level).

What does “impact on other departments” mean?

Expedited review is only for revisions that do not impact another departments. Examples of “impact” include:

  • Modifying a prerequisite to delete or add a course that is not owned by your department.
  • Deleting a course that is utilized in another major, minor, or certificate program.
  • Reactivating a program that is similar to another offered in a different department.

What items must go through a full curriculum review?

  • New Majors, Minors, or Certificate Programs (New majors and new certificates may require external approvals.)
  • Program Revisions
  • New Courses
  • Course Description Changes
  • Multiple Changes to a course
  • Extension of a Temporary Course
  • Course Title Changes
  • New Policies
  • Course Suspensions/Deletions (if impact on other departments)
  • Course Prerequisite/Corequisite changes (if impact on other departments)
  • Number Changes (level changes only)
  • Revised course descriptions (with substantive change)
  • Credit Hour Revisions
  • Establish/Delete Equivalencies
  • Policy Revisions
  • Student Learning Outcome Modifications
  • Request an Exemption for Policies
  • Other course revisions not mentioned in the expedited review list.

When must I submit a four-year degree plan?

Degree plans must be submitted through the curricular process along with a new undergraduate program proposal or an undergraduate program revision. These plans will be housed in the undergraduate catalog for students and advisors to reference. The curriculum committees will not review the plan; however, the plan must be submitted as part of the proposal package. Plans should be entered into the CIM program proposal at the time the program is proposed or revised.



The CIP Code for my program is incorrect, or I found a better CIP code for my program. What should I do? To change a CIP code, you must complete a formal petition to CPE (CPE, 2017, p 3). See the CIP Code link for more information.

My program revisions will modify the program to fit another CIP code. What should I do? Per CPE guidelines, you must complete the new program process if your program revisions warrant a new CIP code.

What are STEM+H CIP Codes? CPE defines STEM+H (science, technology, engineering, math, and health) programs by designating applicable CIP codes. Courses may be identified as STEM+H, which ties to performance funding. Those courses may apply toward programs that are assigned STEM+H CIP codes. If a STEM+H CIP code applies toward your program or courses, use it. To view a list of CIP codes categorized as STEM+H, view page 276 on the following website: http://cpe.ky.gov/policies/data/2019-20guidelines-public.pdf



At what point do program revisions become a new program proposal through CPE? Revisions become new program proposals when the program revisions:

  • Warrant a new CIP code.
  • Merge separate programs into a single program.
  • Split a single program into multiple programs.

At what point do program revisions become substantive change through SACSCOC? SACSCOC is not concerned about CIP codes; instead, the main focus is on content of degree programs. Majors (degree programs)  or certificates that require 25-49% new content require notification to SACSCOC. Majors (degree programs) or certificates that require 50% or more new content requires approval from SACSCOC prior to implementing the program. Questions about substantive change related to content should be directed to Dr. Rob Hale.

When must a SACSCOC prospectus be completed? Program developers should work closely with the Associate Provost for Faculty and Academic Excellence to determine substantive change and the need for a prospectus. To help answer the need for a prospectus, departments should ask the following questions:

  1. What previously approved programs does WKU offer that are closely related to the new program and how are they related?
  2. Will significant additional equipment or facilities be needed?
  3. Will significant additional financial resources be needed?
  4. Will new courses be required for the program? If so, do the new courses contain brand new content not previously taught at WKU?
  5. Will a significant number of new faculty members be required? If yes, will the faculty be hired because of needed expertise to teach courses or to meet the course demand?
  6. Does this program require additional physical resources or student support services?
  7. Will significant additional library/learning resources be needed?

New programs that contain 50% of new content are considered to be a significant departure or substantive change and require a prospectus. Note that undergraduate programs should make percentage determinations based on the total number of hours for the major (not including general education requirements). Refer to the Program Changes and Closures link on the left side bar to complete the SACSCOC Questionnaire to help deteremine if the proposed change is substantive.

How do I create a new program at WKU? New programs require internal and external review. First, departments must submit a Notification of Intent through CPE. To learn more about this process, visit the Program Development page. After the notification of intent is approved, the program can begin through the WKU curricular process and the CPE proposal should be completed. New programs must be approved by the WKU Board of Regents and CPE before it can be offered or advertised at WKU. Some new programs may require a SACSCOC prospectus. Inquiries about WKU curricular or CPE processes should be directed to Dr. Rheanna Plemons. Inquires about SACSCOC should be directed to Dr. Rob Hale.


How do I get help with creating a budget for my new program? Download the budget spreadsheet located on the CPE Approval Process page. The budget spreadsheet is part of the information submittd to CPE. Consult your college budget manager to complete this information. 


How do I get help with assessment? The CPE Proposal requires an assessment plan. Refer to the Assessment Information provided on this website. Other questions may be directed to Dr. Molly Kerby in the Office of the Provost. Please note that although certificates do not require a Proposal through CPE, SACSCOC requires an assessment plan for them.



What are substantive changes? SACSCOC defines a substantive change. However, WKU has a substantive change policy located at: https://www.wku.edu/policies/docs/index.php?policy=290. If you have additional questions concerning SACSCOC and substantive change, please contact the Associate Provost for Faculty and Academic Excellence (Dr. Rob Hale).



What is the difference between a track, concentration, or specialization? CPE has defined a track, concentration, or specialization (http://cpe.ky.gov/policies/academicaffairs/academicprogramdefinitions.pdf). However, per WKU policy, WKU only uses the term concentration for undergraduate, graduate and doctoral levels. Concentration is notated on the academic transcript. At WKU, tracks are used for advising only.

What are the requirements for creating concentrations for a major? CPE no longer lists specific requirements for concentrations. However, WKU has policy. Refer to https://www.wku.edu/policies/docs/index.php?policy=314



SACSCOC Substantive Change Policy: https://sacscoc.org/app/uploads/2019/08/SubstantiveChange.pdf

CPE New Academic Program Approval Policy: http://cpe.ky.gov/policies/academicaffairs/newacademicprogramapprovalpolicy.pdf

CPE Academic Program Definitions: http://cpe.ky.gov/policies/academicaffairs/academicprogramdefinitions.pdf

WKU Program Inventory: https://www.wku.edu/academicaffairs/pd/program_inventory.php


Some of the links on this page may require additional software to view.

 Last Modified 9/8/21