RULE §5.45 Criteria for New Baccalaureate and Master's Degree Programs

Published: 2015

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Requests for new baccalaureate and master's degree programs
must provide information and documentation demonstrating that the
proposed degree programs meet all of the following criteria:
  (1) Role and mission. The program must be within the
existing role and mission of the institution as indicated by its table
of programs or the Board must make the determination that the program
is appropriate for the mission of the institution.
  (2) Unnecessary duplication. The program must not unnecessarily
duplicate a program at another institution serving the same regional
population. The offering of basic liberal arts and sciences courses
and degree programs in public senior institutions is not considered
unnecessary duplication.
  (3) Faculty resources.
    (A) Faculty resources must be adequate to provide high
program quality. With few exceptions, the master's degree should be
the minimum educational attainment for faculty teaching in baccalaureate
programs. In most disciplines, the doctorate should be the minimum
educational attainment for faculty teaching in graduate programs.
Faculty should meet the qualitative and quantitative criteria of the
Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, and the appropriate
accrediting body, if a professional program. There should be sufficient
numbers of qualified faculty dedicated to a new program. This number
shall vary depending on the discipline, the nature of the program,
and the anticipated number of students.
    (B) In evaluating faculty resources for proposed degree
programs, the Board shall consider only those degrees held by faculty
that were issued by:
      (i) United States institutions accredited by accrediting
agencies recognized by the Board or,
      (ii) institutions located outside the United States
that have demonstrated that their degrees are equivalent to degrees
issued from an institution in the United States accredited by accrediting
agencies recognized by the Board. The procedures for establishing
that equivalency shall be consistent with the guidelines of the National
Council on the Evaluation of Foreign Education Credentials, or its
  (4) Library and IT resources. Library and information
technology resources must be adequate for the program and meet the
standards of the appropriate accrediting agencies.
  (5) Facilities, equipment, and clinical placements.
Facilities and clinical placements must be adequate to initiate the
program. Adequate classroom and laboratory space, equipment, and office
space should be available for the proposed program. Arrangements for
any essential clinical placements should be made before program approval.

  (6) Curriculum design. The curriculum should be up-to-date
and consistent with current educational theory. Professional programs
and those resulting in licensure must be designed to meet the standards
of appropriate regulatory bodies.
  (7) Program administration. Administration of the program
should not be unduly cumbersome or costly. Ideally, the program should
fit into the current administrative structure of the institution.
If administrative changes are required, they should be consonant with
the organization of the institution as a whole and should necessitate
a minimum of additional expense in terms of personnel and office space.
  (8) Workforce need. There should be a demonstrated
or well-documented need for the program in terms of meeting present
and future workforce needs of the state and nation. There should be
a ready job market for graduates of the program, or alternatively,
it should produce students for master's or doctoral-level programs
in fields in which there is a demonstrated need for professionals.
  (9) Critical mass of students. In addition to a demonstrated
workforce need, a critical mass of qualified students must be available
to enter the program and there must be evidence that the program is
likely to have sufficient enrollments to support the program into
the future. The size of an institution, the characteristics of its
existing student body, and enrollments in existing programs should
be taken into account when determining whether a critical mass of
students shall be available for a proposed new program.
  (10) Adequate financing. There should be adequate financing
available to initiate the program without reducing funds for existing
programs or weakening them in any way. After the start-up period,
the program must be able to generate sufficient semester credit hours
under funding formulas to pay faculty salaries, departmental operating
costs, and instructional administration costs for the program. Five
years should be sufficient time for the program to meet these costs
through semester credit hour production. If the state funding formulas
are not meeting these costs for the program after five years, the
institution and the Board should review the program with a view to

Source Note: The provisions of this §5.45 adopted to be effective May 28, 2003, 28 TexReg 4125; amended to be effective February 22, 2005, 30 TexReg 835; amended to be effective November 24, 2013, 38 TexReg 8427