George Mason University
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George Mason University

Developing and Modifying Academic Programs

State Academic Program Oversight (SCHEV)

The State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) is Virginia’s managing body for higher education policy. Mason’s compliance with SCHEV policy and procedures is coordinated by the SCHEV Liaison

Actions that require SCHEV approval include:

  • Establishing or closing a degree program or certificate*
  • Changing the name or CIP code of an existing degree program
  • Modifying a degree program by more than 3 credits,* or offering a new delivery format
  • Opening, closing, or changing the name of an academic department or college

Actions that do not require SCHEV approval include:

  • Modifiying a degree program by adding or removing 3 credits or less to the curriculum
  • Adding, removing, or modifiying a degree program's concentrations, tracks, or minors

*Note: These actions may also require SACSCOC approval. Units should contact Mason's Director of Accreditation for more information.

Establishing a New Degree Program

The process for initiating a new degree program typically takes two academic years. Proposals may be submitted to SCHEV Council in March or September. The following timelines detail firm deadlines. When deadlines are missed, program proposals may be moved to the next approval cycle.

Units should contact the SCHEV Liaison early in the program development process to ensure all requirements are met.

Materials

See the Resources menu to download Word versions of the following templates.

Timelines

Establishing a New Certificate Program

Units should contact the SCHEV Liaison immediately following Undergraduate/ Graduate Council approval of the certificate to initiate the SCHEV proposal process. 

Proposals for new certificate programs must be submitted to SCHEV at least sixty (60) days prior to the desired initiation date. 

  • Certificate programs to be initiated in the Fall semester must be submitted to the SCHEV Liaison for review by April 1.
  • Certificate programs to be initiated in the Spring semester must be submitted to the SCHEV Liaison for review by September 1. 

See the Resources menu to download Word versions of the certificate templates.

Changing the Name or CIP Code of a Degree Program

Requests for technical changes (i.e., CIP code, degree designation, or name change) must be submitted to SCHEV at least sixty (60) days prior to the desired initiation date.

Changes to an existing program’s six-digit CIP code designation (as reflected in SCHEV’s Degree and Certificate inventory) are intended to respond to changes in the field or to better reflect the intent of the program, provided no significant changes have been made to program requirements, content, or emphasis, and provided that the new CIP code replaces the current code.

Units should contact the SCHEV Liaison to initiate the SCHEV proposal process.

Modifying an Existing Degree Program

Requests for modifications to a degree programs must be submitted to SCHEV at least ninety (90) days prior to the desired initiation date.

Modifications that require SCHEV approval include:

  • Altering program requirements in a way that results in a fundamental change to the curriculum, purpose, focus or identity of the program as approved by SCHEV or that alters SCHEV’s common core requirements.
  • Adding a new delivery format to an existing degree program or ceasing to offer the program in the format in which it was approved by SCHEV.
  • Increasing or decreasing the total credit hours by more than three (3) credits from what was originally approved by Council. In the case of a bachelor degree, any change to more than 124 credits will require SCHEV approval. Note: Three (3) is the maximum aggregate change in total credits that may be made without submitting a modification proposal to SCHEV; i.e., approval must be sought if/when the total increase or decrease—even if by smaller increments over time—exceeds three (3) credits. If/when the total aggregate change in credits exceeds 12, it may be necessary to submit a new degree program proposal.
  • Changing the licensure-qualifying status of a degree program as approved by SCHEV, i.e., adding or removing a licensure-qualifying option.

Units should contact the SCHEV Liaison to initiate the SCHEV proposal process.​

Closing a Degree Program

All documents for an intent to discontinue programs or degree designations must be submitted to SCHEV at least ninety (90) days prior to the desired date to initiate teach-out.

All discontinuances of degree programs must have approval from Mason’s Board of Visitors (BOV). Notifications of intent to discontinue degree programs should be submitted to SCHEV prior to the program closure or ceasing student enrollment, particularly programs in critical shortage areas.

Units should contact the SCHEV Liaison to initiate the SCHEV proposal process.

Opening, Closing, or Renaming Academic Units

All documents for organizational changes (adding, removing, or renaming academic units at or above the department level) must be submitted to SCHEV at least 60 days prior to the desired initiation date.

Units should contact the SCHEV Liaison to initiate the SCHEV proposal process.