UW Graduate School

Guidelines for changes to a graduate program

Prior to making significant changes to its graduate degree programs a graduate degree offering unit notifies the Graduate School’s Office of Academic Affairs & Planning (gsacad@uw.edu). A “significant” change is one that impacts the core curriculum, number of credits required for the degree, thesis requirement, degree title, funding model (fee-based vs. state funded), or otherwise substantively affects a student’s progression towards the degree.

To make program changes, the unit Chair/Director/Dean sends a memorandum outlining the following aspects of the change to the Graduate School. The memorandum should indicate confirmation of faculty review and approval of changes (unit level and dean’s level, if appropriate). Provide the following information:

  1. Proposed changes to the program, including
    • a. how the current curriculum and student outcomes will be impacted
    • b. how the basic nature of the degree program will change
  2. Rationale for the changes
  3. Timeline for implementation
  4. How this will impact students currently in the program
  5. Transition plan for students currently in the program
  6. Whether additional resources will be required
  7. Whether a change in program coding will be required
  8. Fee-based programs: attach the current memorandum of agreement (MOA)

The Graduate School will respond in writing to the memorandum. This response will initiate the process of any required changes to program codes and will confirm the transition plan for students currently in the program, if applicable.

Academic Unit Name Changes

The Provost’s Office notifies the Graduate School when units are renamed at the college/school or departmental level. Renaming at the college/school level requires approval by the Board of Regents; departmental renaming requires approval by the Provost. If unit renaming will involve degree title changes, contact the Graduate School’s Office of Academic Affairs & Planning before submitting documents for approval.

Degree Title Changes

The Graduate School processes changes to graduate program degree titles. Title changes of designated degrees, such as the “Master of Science in Real Estate” or the “Doctor of Audiology” must be taken to the Board of Regents for approval. Changes to areas of focus within non-designated degrees, such as the “Master of Science (Chemistry)” or “Doctor of Philosophy (Civil Engineering)” do not require review by the Regents.

All degree title change requests require a memorandum from the unit Chair/Director/Dean to the Graduate School Associate Dean for Academic Affairs & Planning in the Office of Academic Affairs & Planning outlining the following:

  1. Description of the proposed title change(s), including any related program changes
  2. Rationale for the change
  3. Timeline for implementation of the new degree title(s)
  4. Transition plan for students currently in the program(s)
  5. Confirmation of faculty review and approval of changes (unit level and dean’s level, if appropriate)
  6. Accompanying documentation (e.g., of action by the Provost)

The Graduate School will take the degree title change request to the Board of Regents, if necessary, and will notify the unit in writing of the approved name change. The approval letter will also initiate the process of any required changes to program codes and will confirm the transition plan for students currently in the program, if applicable.

Change of Administrative Location

Contact the Graduate School’s Office of Academic Affairs & Planning for information on changing the administrative location of an existing graduate degree program.