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Academic Policies

Creating, Modifying or Discontinuing Academic Plans and Sub-Plans

Creating, Modifying or Discontinuing Academic Plans and Sub-Plans

Reason for the Policy 

Planning for (1) academic programs and (2) minors/concentrations/specializations involving two or more schools (or not housed within a school) at CalArts is a multi-step process that rests on the foundation of faculty responsibility for academic content and quality. It is designed to ensure that academic plans:

  • Reflect shared governance discussions involving faculty within programs/schools and across the Institute; 

  • Are aligned with the Institute’s mission, strategic goals, policies and procedures; 

  • Benefit from opportunities for coordination and collaboration across the Institute; and 

  • Enhances availability, consistency, and coordination of information about the Institute’s academic plans for transcript records, internal analysis, accountability reporting, and accreditation.


This policy includes (1) undergraduate and graduate degree-granting programs and certificates and (2) minors/specializations/concentrations involving two or more schools (or not housed within a school).
Academic Plan – Undergraduate or graduate credit-bearing degrees, métiers, and certificates that may appear on official Institute transcripts.
Academic Sub-Plan – A formally designated, distinct content area within a broader discipline (e.g., minor, track, concentration, specialization). 

Criteria for Evaluating a Plan or Sub-Plan 

  • Congruence with the mission and priorities of the Institute, the school, and the program; 

  • Need and demand for the plan or sub-plan; 

  • Comparative advantage over similar programs, minors, concentrations, or specializations offered elsewhere; 

  • Efficiency, effectiveness, and use of resources in support of the program, minor, concentration, or specialization, 

  • Quality and assessment; 

  • Appropriate review and approval mechanisms followed during development/review.

Adding or Discontinuing Academic Plans or Sub-Plans

Programs and Schools may not advertise or initiate new academic plans/sub-plans and recruit or admit students to them prior to formal approval in the below process. If a plan or sub-plan is discontinued, currently enrolled students are allowed to complete their plan or sub-plan within a reasonable amount of time to be specified in the proposal.

  1. Initial Interest Discussions: The process begins with a group of faculty, program director/s or dean/s, etc. (the creators) holding initial discussions for the creation or discontinuation of an academic plan/sub- plan. 

  2. School discussions (when applicable): If the academic plan/sub-plan currently resides in or will reside within one of the existing schools, the school’s executive committee (composition of the committee is defined by the school) and dean consents to its creation or discontinuation.

  3. Need Statement: The creators provide a written need statement with a proposed timeline for approval to both Academic Council and Deans Council. Consent should be given by the majority of Council members of at least one Council to proceed and then a timeline for review and approval will be set. If both Councils reject the need statement, the statement may be revised and re-presented.

  4. Plan/Sub-Plan Proposal

    1. The Office of the Provost will determine the type of review needed and will provide direction on how to develop the plan/sub-plan proposal. 

    2. The creators submit plan/sub-plan proposal to the Office of the Provost to officially propose the creation or discontinuation of an academic plan/sub-plan and begin the review process.

    3. Provost (or designee) reviews the proposal, works with the creators to make edits if needed, and verifies the proposal meets accreditation standards/requirements (as needed). 

  5. Campus Approval:

    1. The proposal is presented to the Joint Academic Council & Deans Council. Each Council reviews the proposal.

    2. The creators present the proposal to the Joint Academic Council/Deans Council. Each Council reviews the proposal.

    3. If accepted, a recommendation to approve will be forwarded to the Provost.

    4. If both Councils reject the proposal, the proposal may be revised and re-presented. Provost approves the proposal. 

  6. Substantive Changes Approval

    1. The Provost and dean present the academic plan proposals to the Academic & Campus Affairs Committee.

    2. Board of Trustees reviews and approves academic plan proposals. 

    3. Accreditation reviews and approves (as applicable). 

  7. Notices:

    1. Office of the Provost sends final approval notice to school, Deans Council & Academic Council; notifies Registrar, Admissions, Communications, and Advancement (as applicable).

    2. School/area overseeing the proposal makes changes to recruiting materials, applications, and the following academic year’s catalog.

    3. Office of the Provost conveys the approved changes to the campus through an official notification.

Modifying Requirements of an Existing Academic Plan or Sub-Plans

Programs and schools periodically change an academic plan or sub-plan requirements, following their individual governance procedures.

The Office of the Provost is responsible for reviewing and approving modifications to requirements of an existing academic plan/sub-plan. Academic plan/sub-plan changes must not take effect until they have the Provost’s (or designee’s) approval and are registered in the course catalog.

Any change in plan/sub-plan requirements takes effect no earlier than the following academic year and will not normally be imposed on currently enrolled students who have been admitted to the plan/sub- plan, but the new requirements may be offered to them as an option. If the faculty of a program or school conclude that a new requirement is essential even for currently enrolled students, approval of the dean of the school must be obtained before imposing the requirement on students.

Programs and schools are responsible for communicating to perspective and current students their program/school policies and decisions regarding changing requirements to an existing academic plan or sub-plan.