Program Modifications - Major vs Minor

Program requirements and courses should be revisited on a regular basis to ensure they’re still meeting the needs of students for program learning outcomes, accreditation requirements, as well as the needs of employers, industry, and organizations where are students may go as graduates.

All programs of study are to be approved by the Office of the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs after a review by the Office of Graduate Education (OGE). Typically, the review by OGE is comprised of ensuring the program of study is aligned with current degree requirements as well as any policies and procedures related to graduate degrees. We also check to ensure that the requirements are clear as well as for courses designated as core requirements. Depending on the modifications being proposed, we also check to ensure any tracks included as part of the degree are also considered in the modifications and if coursework from other departments or colleges are involved, that consultation with those units has also occurred.

For major changes to one’s program of study, these may include, but are not limited to a complete revision of many of the program’s requirements (e.g., new core courses, additional categories to select from, etc), additional required credits, which increases the total number of credits required for the degree, an additional track or concentration to the degree, or including coursework outside of one’s department and/or college. A review by the Program committee of the Graduate Council is undertaken for all major changes proposed to a program of study.

Minor changes include, but are not limited to adding/removing elective choices, unless those involve another department or college, reducing or switching courses considered core requirements, re-naming categories of required coursework, or clarifying the information regarding required coursework so that it is clearer for students and others.

When considering whether modifications to one’s program of study are major or minor, the following factors should be considered: If the answer is yes, to many of these questions below, it is mostly like a major modification.

  • Does the proposed revision to a course of study compete against any currently offered degree program or GCERT?
  • Do the proposed modifications change the nature of the degree? (e.g., focus may be perceived outside of or more interdisciplinary than current degree title)
  • Are new tracks, concentration, areas of emphasis, being proposed?
    • If new courses are being proposed, UHM-1 forms should be submitted in the same term as the proposal.
  • Are new courses or modified courses being proposed to be added as program requirements?
    • Are they to be considered as core requirements?
  • Are courses from another unit being proposed in the modification?

If modifications you’re proposing are not a clear cut yes or no to the questions above, please contact us at oge@hawaii.edu or call 956.7541 to ask.

The Graduate Council meets approximately once a month, during the academic year. Materials for review by the Program committee are sent at least two weeks prior to a scheduled meeting.