Curriculum & Instruction FAQs

It is mandated by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV). The process at JMU is outlined in the Faculty Handbook.

BOV = Board of Visitors
C&I = Curriculum and Instruction
CAP = Committee on Academic Programs
PCC = Provost Curriculum Conference
SCHEV = State Council of Higher Education for Virginia

The waiting periods provide an opportunity for faculty to weigh in on each decision and vote for or against curricular changes. They are mandated by the university as part of the faculty handbook. The time required at each step may vary, depending on the process used by each department or college or the schedule of their meetings.

Most of the steps required when proposing new courses or modifying existing courses and programs are the same at undergraduate and graduate levels. Graduate-level proposals, however, must go through an additional step (i.e. The Graduate School’s Graduate Council).

Each academic unit has its own C&I Committee, which includes faculty from that unit. The chair of each unit's C&I Committee serves on the College C&I Committee and acts as a liaison between the two groups. The College C&I Chair heads the College C&I Committee.

Each college also has a representative on the Committee for Academic Programs (CAP), a university-wide review board. Faculty members can work on a C&I Committee as part of their service requirement.

After you discuss your idea with your academic unit head who, in turn, discusses the idea with your Dean, you must set up an appointment with Paula Maxwell, the Associate Vice Provost for Curriculum to go over your idea. She will get you started on the process and will work with you to gather the information needed for the Provost’s Curriculum Conference preview. If your proposal moves past the preview phase, you'll then follow the regular program development cycle (i.e. curriculum review through Curriculog, then CAP review, and if appropriate, BOV and SCHEV reviews).

For course proposals and program modifications, refer to the C&I schedule posted on the curriculum website. Course proposals and program modifications typically take about three months to pass through all approval steps. New minors may take six months to one year. For programs that need to go to SCHEV for approval, plan a minimum of one year, but new degree program approvals can take longer. For new degree programs, plan to start the process two years in advance of the first admission class.

Common Items Needing PCC Approval

  • New degree programs (for JMU, the major and degree program are essentially the same moving forward).
  • New certificate programs
  • New minors
  • Degree program deletions
  • Substantial changes to a degree program
  • Any proposals that affect General Education
  • Any proposals that require additional resources
  • Any proposals that could significantly affect another unit
  • With some exceptions, any proposals that require BOV and/or SCHEV approval need PCC review.

Common Items Needing BOV Approval

  • New degree programs (for JMU, majors or degree programs)
  • New certificate programs
  • Degree program deletions
  • Substantial changes to a degree program
  • Cumulative changes in credit hours to degree programs that exceed 3 credits (Grad) or if credit hours exceed 124 credits (for UG).
  • New departments/schools/colleges or name changes to departments/schools/colleges
  • Program name changes if accompanied by substantial changes to the program
  • CIP code changes, if substantial change to program
  • Adding a degree designation to an existing degree program (e.g., adding a BS degree to an existing BA degree)
  • (This list is not all-inclusive; other less-common changes may need BOV approval).

The following proposals must go to SCHEV for approval:

  • New degree programs (for JMU, this means new majors)
  • New certificate programs
  • Degree program deletions
  • Increases or decreased in credit hours by more than 3 credits (aggregate) to a graduate degree or increases to an undergraduate degree to more than 124 credits.
  • Program name changes
  • Addition of a degree program to an existing degree program (e.g., adding a B.A. option to an existing B.S. degree program)
  • CIP code changes

The following proposals do NOT need to go to SCHEV:

  • New minors
  • New concentrations
  • New tracks
  • Credit hour changes within the major courses of a degree program

There are two reasons for this:

  1. We, at JMU, tend to use the terms “major” and “degree” interchangeably, because they are often the same name (for example, a major in biology also results in a degree in biology). However, the terms are not synonymous. A major is the coherent subset of courses within the overall degree program that signifies a level of preparation in a specific field of study. The major must be at least 30 credits, while the degree is the full 120 credit hour package (UG programs). Although JMU still has some majors that have titles different than their degree programs, any newly-proposed programs will go to SCHEV for approval as new degree programs to avoid confusion.
  2. SCHEV does not approve the individual courses with a major. They approve the degree program, which includes the major courses, the general education courses, the university degree requirement courses (i.e. B.A. vs B.S. requirements) and electives, all which must total 120 credits (UG). 

An overview the of C&I process, including dates and deadlines is published.

Back to Top