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Glossary of Terms

Academic Centers & Institutes

Academic Centers and Institutes (ACIs) draw on the strengths of multiple faculty members, academic departments, and/or colleges to provide an inclusive foundation for collective scholarly activity and foster the sharing of ideas through activities devoted to scholarship, education, training, and/or dissemination that promote the mission of the University. In this respect, ACIs may exist at one of three levels: (1) Department-Level or (2) College-Level or (3) University-Level and be engaged in:

  1. Research and or Intellectual Advancement
  2. Grant Productivity
  3. Publications and Information Dissemination
  4. A Convening Role to Host or Sponsor Forums and Conferences
  5. Providing Non-Credit Bearing Trainings and/or Workshops

ACIs are not to be engaged in the business of academic departments/programs. In this respect, ACIs do not offer credit-bearing courses, do not confer majors or minors, and do not issue academic degrees. Additional information about Academic Centers & Institutes.

Academic Center & Institute Annual Reports

ACI Annual Reports are due each year on January 15 and are to report on activities, budgetary expenditures and any other key programmatic events from the previous academic year. For example, the ACI Annual Reports that are due on January 15, 2017 will cover activities from academic year September 1, 2015 – August 31, 2016.

Academic Program Planning Committee (APPC)

The APPC serves as the central venue for multiple departments to review, discuss and recommend to the Provost coordinated procedures for processing and data-cataloging all academic programs on the UH campus. The Director for Academic Programs serves as Chair of the APPC and the members of the APPC consist of representatives of the:

Academic Program Planning Committee (APPC) Weekly Grid

The APPC Weekly Grid provides a weekly update on the status of all academic programs that are in development on the University of Houston campus. The Grid, which is issued each Friday, provides information on the location and purpose of an academic proposal as well as the stage of review. The College Business Administrators (CBAs) receive the Grid as well as all members of the Academic Program Planning Committee (APPC).

Academic Program Planning Review Process

The academic program planning proposal review process occurs in accordance to the following:


Academic Proposal Submission


Dean of Academic Unit


Academic Programs


GPSC and/or UC


The Provost and/or Provosts’ Council


UH Board of Regents



Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)



New Degree Proposal









Dual Degree Proposal











Change Title Existing Degree Proposal
















Certificate Offering Proposal












Increase or Reduce Semester Credit Hours





















Create New Academic College/School

















Create or Change a Program


















√ - Full Review Occurs

√+ - THECB Form for New Certificate Offerings Must Be Completed in All Instances

Notified – For Your Information (FYI)

-- - No Review/No Notification

Key Academic Program Questions

When should an academic unit launch a new academic program offering?

With the exception of Dual Degree proposals, academic program proposals MUST NOT be launched, implemented, marketed or advertised until official written notification has been received by the Office of the Provost from the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB). THECB notification ensures that said changes are encoded in the state system and in all relevant University of Houston data systems. In all instances (including Dual Degree proposals), the Director for Academic Programs will notify the Dean (in writing) when an academic program proposal has completed the authorization and approval process. Academic units that fail to follow this protocol run the risk of operating an illegitimate academic program offering that is not listed in the state inventory and not listed in the appropriate data systems on the University of Houston campus. This in turn may have a deleterious impact on students who attempt to file for graduation and ultimately graduate from said programs.

Generally, how long does it take?

New Academic Degree Proposals. New academic degree proposals generally undergo a 18-24 month authorization and approval process after said proposals have left the academic unit from which they emanate. New degree proposals begin with the Preliminary Planning Review (PPR) document and ultimately entail the approval of a Full Proposal.  The entities involved in the authorization and approval process include the Provosts’ Council, Academic Programs and Institutional Planning Analysis in the Office of the Provost, Graduate Professional Studies Committee (GPSC) and/or Undergraduate Committee (UC), UH Board of Regents (BOR),and the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB).

All Other Academic and Academic-Related Proposals. All other academic and academic-related proposals may undergo a 12-18 month authorization and approval process after said proposals have left the academic unit from which they emanate.

Classification of Instructional Programs (CIP Code)

The Texas CIP codes are used to identify degree and certificate programs, courses, and declared majors on the reports and inventories of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board. The first six digits of each code are identical to those in the Classification of Instructional Programs taxonomy published by the National Center for Educational Statistics. The seventh and eighth digits, when they are not zeroes, are Texas suffixes intended to better specify the diversity of courses and program offerings in Texas.

The two digits following the CIP code are the formula funding code. The formula funding code is important whenever the CIP codes are used to identify the content of courses. Degree programs are not funded, except through the individual courses they require.

Changes to the CIP Codes from 2000 to 2010, including new CIP Codes, deleted national CIP codes and Texas CIP Codes, and any redirections from one CIP code to another, are noted in the Texas CIP Codes.

A CIP code specific to Texas will include a brief description of the instructional content. For descriptions of Texas CIP codes that are identical to those in the national set, refer to the national CIP codes.

Descriptions for National CIP Codes (those with 7th and 8th digits of “00”) may be found at:

Dual Degree Offering

The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) characterizes a dual degree program as allowing for academically outstanding students to pursue two separate degree programs through a structured process.  Such arrangements may reduce time to degree completion, such as in cases where graduate students receive two degrees (e.g., medicine and law, law and business, medicine and public health). A dual degree program may be within an institution or across institutions. The University of Houston participates in three types of dual degree program offerings:*

  • Accelerated Pathway – These programs provide academically outstanding students an accelerated pathway to complete an undergraduate and a master’s degree in a reduced period of time.  Accelerated pathway dual degree programs provide senior students permission to take a specified, limited number of master’s level courses as electives toward completion of their bachelor’s degree.  The students then apply to the relevant graduate program and if accepted, the previously completed graduate coursework during the senior year is counted as transfer credit toward the completion of the master’s degree.  NOTE: Proposals for accelerated pathway dual degrees must be submitted to both the Undergraduate Committee (UC) and Graduate & Professional Studies Committee (GPSC) for approval.
  • Graduate – Graduate dual degree programs allow students to pursue two graduate degrees simultaneously.  These programs provide a structured path for students to follow from application to graduation.  Outside of these approved graduate dual degree programs, graduate students cannot pursue simultaneous degrees outside of the same academic unit
  • Inter-institutional – Inter-institutional dual degree agreements provide students with a curriculum pathway to attempt degrees at two institutions, either simultaneously or sequentially.   Such dual degree agreements include an enrollment plan and details for correctly applying to both degree programs.

* Note: dual degree programs should not be confused with double majors or double undergraduate degrees, which are addressed in the Undergraduate Catalog.

Factors to Consider in Determining Whether a Proposed Change to a Degree is Minor or Substantial

Major changes to existing degrees will be viewed as a creation of a new degree and must follow the new degree creation protocol. Minor changes to existing degrees follow a different and much shorter authorization process – the Program Change process. The Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) developed a document entitled: Factors to Consider in Determining Whether a Proposed Change to an Existing Degree Should Instead Be Presented as a New Degree Program. This document is available on this web page. Faculty and administrators should consult this document in order to determine whether or not a change to an existing degree constitutes a major or minor change.

Fifty-Mile (50) Radius Notification

As per THECB policy, Institutions are to notify all institutions of higher education within a 50- mile radius of the proposed delivery site of a newly developed academic offering. Notification must occur at least 60 days prior to the proposed academic program implementation. Once notified, institutions shall have 30 days to file an objection. It is the responsibility of the academic unit that has submitted the academic proposal to be absolutely certain that the 50- mile radius rule as been followed, well before the launch of a new academic program, by ensuring that the Office of the Provost has filed said notification.

Fully Executed Agreement

Fully Executed Agreement – A fully executed agreement (i.e., An articulation agreement between an academic unit and a Community College) is an agreement that includes all signatures (UH and the partner Community College) as binding. Documents that are missing signatures are not considered fully executed.

Graduate Professional Studies Committee (GPSC)

GPSC is a committee of the Faculty Senate and serves to review all proposed graduate-level academic programs and makes recommendations to the Provost based on this review.

Low-Producing Programs

Low-producing degree programs are at-risk of closure or reconstitution when the following occurs:

  • They produce less than 25 graduates over a 5-year period for undergraduate programs.
  • They produce less than 15 graduates over a 5-year period master’s programs, and
  • They produce less than 10 graduates over a 5-year period doctoral programs.

The official determination by the THECB on whether or not a degree offering is considered low-producing occurs every three-years. The next official THECB review will occur in 2019.

Notification Memo (NM)

All academic program proposals must be authorized by the Dean of the academic unit from which the proposal emanates. With the exception of New Degree Proposals*, the Notification Memo (NM) serves as the first step in the academic program authorization process. The NM is directed from the Dean of an academic unit to the Provost with the intent to inform the Provost that an academic proposal is coming forward in one** of the following areas:

  • Creation of a dual degree
  • Change in title to an existing degree
  • Proposal to establish a new certificate offering
  • Proposal to increase or reduce semester credit hours
  • Creation of a new academic unit/or College
  • Proposal to create or change a program

*New degree proposals do not require a Notification Memo because the Preliminary Planning Review (PPR) document requires a Dean signature.

**Each academic proposal must have its own Notification Memo. In other words, do not combine multiple proposal notifications on one Notification Memo. 

Off-Campus Locations (i.e., Sugar Land): THECB Policy

On February 12, 2016, the THECB in communication with Chancellors, Presidents, and Chief Instructional Officers of Community and Technical Colleges; Chancellors, Presidents, and Chief Academic Officers of Public Universities and Health-Related Institutions issued the following policy as this concerns course and program approvals at off-site locations, such as, University of Houston at Sugar Land: THECB Policy on Course and Program Approval at Off-Campus Locations

Preliminary Planning Review (PPR) Document

The PPR serves as the launch of a new degree program proposal request. The PPR document is reviewed by the Provosts’ Council. Once the PPR is approved by the Provosts’ Council, the academic unit may proceed with the development of the Full Proposal request.

Provosts’ Council

The Provosts’ Council is a University of Houston System (UHS) entity that reviews all key matters that concern academic programming on the four campuses of the University of Houston System. The Provosts’ Council consists of the Provosts from the University of Houston, the University of Houston-Clear Lake, the University of Houston-Downtown, and the University of Houston-Victoria. The Chair of the Provosts’ Council is the Senior Vice Chancellor/Senior Vice President of the University of Houston System.

Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB)

The mission, vision, philosophy and core values of the THECB, which was created in 1965, are as follows:

Agency Mission
The mission of the Texas Higher Education Coordinating Board (THECB) is to provide leadership and coordination for the Texas higher education system and to promote access, affordability, quality, success, and cost efficiency through 60x30TX, resulting in a globally competitive workforce that positions Texas as an international leader.  

Agency Vision
The THECB will be recognized as an international leader in developing and implementing innovative higher education policy to accomplish our mission. Agency Philosophy
The THECB will promote access to and success in quality higher education across the state with the conviction that access and success without quality is mediocrity and that quality without access and success is unacceptable.  

Agency Core Values

  • Accountability: We hold ourselves responsible for our actions and welcome every opportunity to educate stakeholders about our policies, decisions and aspirations.
  • Efficiency: We accomplish our work using resources in the most efficient manner.
  • Collaboration: We develop partnerships that result in student success and a highly qualified, globally competitive workforce.
  • Excellence: We strive for excellence in all our endeavors.  

The UH policy that governs the UH relationship with the THECB is here: UH Policy on Communications with THECB

Undergraduate Committee

The UC is a committee of the Faculty Senate and serves to review all proposed undergraduate-level academic programs and makes recommendations to the Provost based on this review.

UH Board of Regents

The Board of Regents is the governing body of the University of Houston System (University of Houston, University of Houston-Clear Lake, University of Houston-Downtown, University of Houston-Victoria, UH System at Cinco Ranch, UH Sugar Land, KUHT Television, and KUHF Radio).

The Board of Regents is composed of nine regular members (chair, vice chair, secretary, and six members) and a student regent. Every two years, the Governor of the State of Texas, subject to Senate confirmation, appoints three members to the Board of Regents. Each regular member serves a six-year term.

In addition, the student regent, who has the same powers and duties as the members of the board of regents, does not vote or considered as part of a quorum. The student regent serves a one-year term beginning on June 1 of each year.

Board responsibilities include: preserving institutional independence and defending each UH System component university’s right to manage its own affairs through its chosen administrators and employees; enhancing each university’s public image; interpreting the community to each of the universities and the universities to the community; nurturing each university so that each may achieve its full potential within its role and mission; and providing policy direction, insisting on clarity of focus and mission, to each of the universities.

Additional responsibilities of the board are listed in the bylaws of the Board of Regents.