Academic Affairs

Academic Program Proposals

Michigan Technological University follows process guidelines for review and approval of new degree programs which have been approved by the University Senate.  

Program proposals may require several levels of internal approval, including Michigan Tech’s Academic Deans Council, Graduate Faculty Council, University Senate, and Board of Trustees (BoT), as well as potential external approval from the Academic Affairs Officers’ Committee of the Michigan Association of State Universities (MASU/AAO) and Higher Learning Commission (HLC). Proposals do not proceed to the next approving body without approval of the previous body. 

Approvals, Processes, and Policies

Proposal Type:










new degree program graduate
Y Y Y Y S 108.1.1
accelerated master's option accelerated - - - - - N/A 413.1
graduate certificate graduate Y Y  - - S 108.1.1 411.1
certificate undergrad Y Y -  - S 407.1
minor Y Y  - - - 406.1
concentration added to degree Y Y - - S 15-11
focus area / technical emphasis N/A  - Y -  -  - N/A 15-11
shelving programs all Y Y -  - S 414.1.1
eliminating programs Y Y D D S

Approval overview; see provided flowcharts for more details.
(Y = yes, approval required, D= required for degree programs, S = approval sometimes required)

Questions regarding the approvals process should be directed to the provost's office.

Note on Higher Learning Commission (HLC) Approval:

Some proposals may require HLC approval which will delay implementation. The following are known instances where additional approval may be required:

  • program proposals that are not closely related to existing programs at Michigan Tech (partially determined by the assigned program CIP code),
  • programs involve the awarding of a new degree type (e.g. a new professional degree type vs an MS), and
  • programs that represent a hybrid mixture of two or more existing programs (e.g. biostatistics).

Please note that it can take up to a year between initial internal proposal submission and final approval if a new program proposal requires HLC approval. 

Senate Guidelines


Program Modifications

All new degree programs need to follow the normal internal process of new program review.  However, at the state level, some new degree programs may be classified as “modifications,” a term used for proposals that are clearly related to an institution’s existing program, and therefore do not require the same level of review as new program proposals.  For example, Michigan Tech had an existing MSBA program, and decided to offer an MBA program. Title changes are also considered program modifications.

Concentrations vs Focus Area/Technical Emphasis 

Concentrations within an undergraduate major degree appear on the diploma.  When a new concentration is added to a degree program, it must be proposed as a new degree program.  Concentrations may later lead to entirely new degree programs; for example, the BS in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting became a BS in Accounting in 2010.

Unlike concentrations, a focus area or technical emphasis within a degree program does not appear on a diploma, and therefore is not considered a new degree program.  However, a designated technical emphasis does need to be approved by the provost through the normal curriculum change process (aka the “binder process”).  Technical emphases often require the completion of a specific set of courses.

Please contact Amie Ledgerwood if you have questions regarding new program proposals or changes to include concentrations, options, or technical emphasis areas to existing programs.