July 6-7, 2000

ITEM 108-101-R0700 - Policy 303.1 - Revision


Policy 303.1 - Curriculum proposals - Montana University System

Revised November 18, 1999; Issued December 10, 1999


Board policy

1.   All new postsecondary educational programs: certificate programs, degrees, and addition of majors to existing degrees, options within majors, or minors where a major does not exist shall be submitted to the Commissioner of Higher Education who will formulate recommendations for the Board of Regents through the Academic and Student Affairs Committee. 

2.   Changes in the names of degrees shall be approved by the Board of Regents. 


1.  These programs shall be presented in the following manner: 

a.   specify the objectives to be reached by the addition of this program; 

b.   specify in detail present faculty, facilities and equipment, and library holdings in support of this program, and compare them to known or  anticipated minimum standards for accreditation; 

c.   additional faculty requirements should be detailed as to qualifications, salary, and recruitment; 

d.   increased costs will be submitted in detail for the first year, for the biennium, and an estimate of the continuing costs of the program over a five-year period.  These costs should reflect new faculty, increased library costs, space requirements, equipment, and other facilities' needs and identify sources of funding

e.   a new program will be carefully scrutinized as to the effect on enrollment, numbers of students (both graduate and undergraduate) with lower and upper division course breakdowns, and the number expected to graduate over a ten-year period; 

f.    list the new courses this program will add to the curriculum and specify the course requirements for the degree; 

g.   indicate the inter-departmental implications of additions to this program or supporting courses in departments which contribute to the new program of studies; 

h.   explain how the recommendation to submit this proposal to the Board of Regents was made: include information about process followed, faculty involvement, employer or community input, market demand for graduates, employment prospects and starting salaries, as well as other justifications.  Were faculty involved institution-wide in the decision? 

2.         In all cases the Board of Regents may require an appropriate report from outside, objective consultants to assist the Board in analyzing the proposal and arriving at a just decision. 

3.         A copy of every curriculum proposal shall be forwarded to the Deputy Commissioner for Academic Affairs and to the chief academic officers of the campuses of the Montana University System as soon as it has been approved by the campus concerned.  Copies of all proposals for associate degree programs and vocational-technical programs shall also be forwarded to the chief academic officers of the community colleges.  In addition, proposals for vocational-technical programs shall be forwarded to the Deputy Commissioner for Academic and Student Affairs and to the chief academic officers of the colleges of technology.


1.         Degree - a specific designation of letters representing the words on the diploma indicating completion or attainment, e.g., B.A., B.S., B.Arch., B.B.A., M.A., M.F.A., Ed.D., D.A., Ph.D.; 

2.         Certificate - awarded upon successful completion of entry-level programs, a specialty within an occupational area, and/or upgrading skills and knowledge within an occupation.  Usually, certificate programs are 30 45-60 semester hours in length; 

3.         Major - the specific field of concentration for the degree.  A designated and coherent sequence of courses in a discipline, related disciplines, or professional area in which a student concentrates as a part of a baccalaureate degree program.  The requirements of the major are usually defined by one academic department, but may be defined jointly by two or more departments in the case of an interdisciplinary major.  Majors may range from 30 to 48 semester hours, half of which must be at the upper division level.  Study in the major will conclude with a capstone, integrating experience in which the knowledge and skills learned in the major are applied or demonstrated.

            Extended Major:  Where required by professional expectations or specialized accreditation standards, extended majors may be offered in undergraduate programs.  The extended major may require up to 80 hours.


4.         Minor - the supporting or complementary field undertaken along with a major for a degree.  A designated and coherent sequence of courses in a discipline, related disciplines, or professional area which provides support or enhancement of a student's major in a baccalaureate program.  Minors may range from 18 to 30 semester hours of credit, one-third of which must be at the upper division level.


5.         Option - one of at least two tracks, emphases, or areas of study within a major that has a sequence of courses and/or requirements that are different from other available options.  Usually, options share a common core of courses; One of two or more alternative tracks available to students in an associate degree, baccalaureate minor or major or graduate degree program.  Each option consists of a core of required courses in the program plus required and/or elective courses in the specialty area indicated by the title of the option.  The core of required courses must constitute at least one-third of the hours required for the program.

6.         New postsecondary educational programs - all proposals for a new series of courses arranged in a scope or sequence leading to a certificate, option, major, or minor where a major does not already exist.


                Item 2-001-R0973, (Revised), October 19, 1973, as revised April 11, 1978; Item 24-001-R0579, Changes in Institutional Organization, May 30, 1979; Item 2-001-R0973, June 14, 1990; November 18, 1999 (Item 104-103-R0999)