is a formally documented sub-major within an academic major program.
Named options serve as a convenient way to distinguish a distinct curriculum or delivery format within a major. A named option is NOT a new degree or major. Authorization by the Board of Regents to deliver an academic program is at the degree/major level.
Named options appear on the transcript and are formally documented by the university on the student record. For undergraduate majors, they are also encoded in the degree audit system. Named options are used as a basis for advising, and are advertised to students in the Guide and through other information related to the program of study.
They are subject to the same range of faculty governance oversight as other academic programs that are documented formally, including assessment, program review and governance of major structural changes. In technical terms, named options are a type of subplan (OPT or HON) associated with plan type of major (MAJ).
Named options play an increasingly prominent role in the program array. They offer a kind of flexibility and nimbleness not as readily achieved with full degree/major programs. As described below, options are used in systematic ways that advance a number of the university’s goals in relation to academic program delivery. As such, this document describes policy for the planning, approval and delivery of named options.
What prints on the diploma: Bachelor of Science
What prints on the transcript: Bachelor of Science, Major: Biology, Option: Evolutionary Biology
What prints on the diploma: Bachelor of Science
What prints on the transcript: Bachelor of Science, Major: Biology, Option: Evolutionary Biology, Option: Honors in the Major
What prints on the diploma: Doctor of Philosophy
What prints on the transcript: Doctor of Philosophy, Major: Human Ecology, Option: Civil Society and Community Research
What prints on the diploma: Master of Science-Cartography and Geographic Information Systems
What prints on the transcript: Master of Science-Cartography and Geographic Information Systems, Major: Cartography and Geographic Information Systems, Option: GIS Development
What prints on the diploma: Master of Arts-Library and Information Studies
What prints on the transcript: Master of Arts-Library and Information Studies, Major: Library and Information Studies, Option: Campus Delivered Program OR Option: Distance Delivered Program
What prints on the diploma: Master of Social Work
What prints on the transcript: Master of Social Work, Major: Social Work, Option: Part Time MSW, Eau Claire OR Option: Part Time MSW, Madison
A note concerning tracks: A consequence of this policy is that another type of subplan, tracks (subplan type TRK), will be phased out. In technical terms, tracks are coded as a type of subplan (TRK) associated with plan type of major (MAJ) in the student information system. Historically, tracks have been available as an informal tracking mechanism of students within a major. They were originally intended for local, within-program use to communicate to students about strands of emphasis within a curriculum or major. Over time, the distinction between tracks and named options has become less apparent. Currently, tracks serve many of the purposes listed above with the exception that they are not listed on the transcript. In addition, they have not been subject to governance oversight, ongoing review, and the monitoring attention given to formal academic programs. As of Fall 2015, there are more than 150 active tracks; approximately 50 of them have enrolled students. Because of the blurring of the distinction between options and tracks and the increasing value in documenting academic programs of study, over time, the use of tracks as a subplan type in the student information system will be phased out. No new tracks will be created and implementation of the policy on named options will include an effort to phase out and inactivate the existing tracks in SIS.
Proposals for new named options must originate from and be prepared by members of the faculty, in keeping with the faculty’s role in relation to the curriculum. Proposals must describe the purpose of the named option, the details of the curriculum, provisions for academic administration, advising and student support, and plans for assessment and program review.
All proposals for academic program changes, including proposals for new named options, are completed in Lumen Programs. The Lumen Programs form requests information be provided aligned with the information that follows. We recommend that those proposing a named option start with the Lumen Programs form.
The first term of enrollment in the new named option is typically the first fall after UAPC approval; sufficient time must be allowed for implementation and, especially for undergraduate programs, students are best served by making new programs available at the beginning of the traditional academic year. In some circumstances, graduate-level named options may first enroll students two to three semesters after approval.
Beginning with programs implemented in 2012-2013, the Graduate Faculty Executive Committee (GFEC) requires a progress report from all new graduate-level programs (including named options) three years after implementation.
As with all new academic programs, the school/college dean’s office will be required to conduct a review of the new named option five years after first student enrollment. The Office of the Provost will remind the school/college dean’s office that this review be conducted in the annual program review update.
For undergraduate programs, the named option curriculum should be composed in such a way that course substitutions will be kept to a minimum; if substitutions are being made on a regular basis, the curriculum should be re-examined. When course substitutions are made, the substituted course should be formally added to the curriculum through governance for inclusion the following academic year.
In some cases, planning for named options will benefit from mapping the curriculum for the named option against the original curriculum. For proposals, a full curriculum including all required and elective courses will be required.
Named options for undergraduate majors will have requirements totaling 120 credits and students should be able to complete the degree/major within four academic years. Proposals will be expected to include a “four-year roadmap” of course sequence for the named option. Named options for undergraduate majors must retain some common core curriculum within the major. Named options will be encoded in DARS and recorded on the student’s transcript. Named options in graduate majors are not required to retain some common core curriculum within the major.
Named options in graduate majors that do retain a common core curriculum within the major are also acceptable. Master’s level programs will include at least 30 credits of requirements. Doctoral level programs will include at least 51 credits of requirements. A chart outlining these minimum degree requirements and elements for satisfactory progress should be included in the proposal.
The named option may be face-to-face or distance-delivered. If the option is intended to provide a way to distinguish between students in a face-to-face or an online/distance delivered program, the proposal should provide information on how the distance program is developed and supported.
For undergraduate programs, the named option admission requirements should be consistent with admission requirements for the major with no named option, if the major has any admission requirements beyond admission to the University. Admission limits should be related to interest or aptitude for the content and not based solely on a high GPA cutoff; degree-seeking students have already faced competitive and selective processes for admission, so criteria should be designed to select for skill/aptitude/interest in the named option. The named option will be declared and canceled using the e-Declaration process in the student information system. Attention to timely progress to degree is important and program faculty/staff should not advise undergraduates to declare or remain enrolled in a named option if it will extend their time to graduation. Undergraduate students are to be discouraged from earning more than one named option that represents an area of curricular emphasis within the major.
For graduate programs, named options may have distinct admission requirements. The following questions should be addressed in the proposal: Does the proposed named option have limits on admission? If yes, explain the admissions criteria and process. What is the projected annual enrollment in the named option? What is the maximum enrollment (using existing instructional and student resources)? What are the contingency plans for supporting enrollments higher than the stated maximum enrollment?
If program faculty decide to rename or restructure named options they should follow the policy for renaming degree/major programs. If the renaming is accompanied by considerable curriculum re-organizations and considerations associated with “teaching out” large numbers of students in the old name before adding the new name, it may be more straightforward to propose a new option and discontinue the option that is no longer needed.
If program faculty decide to suspend admissions to or discontinue a named option, they should follow the policy for discontinuing a major. However, because the students may continue in the major, just not in the specific named option, the named option may be discontinued on a more immediate and relaxed schedule compared to that requirement for a full major. See here.
Following approval of the requested named option or change to the named option, a formal notice is sent from the Office of the Provost to colleagues across campus including the Registrar’s Office, relevant academic programs, school/college, the Graduate School and so on. Typically representatives of the dean’s office or department that provided leadership for the proposal will convene an implementation meeting with interested parties to assure that information is shared so that implementation follows the plan as proposed.
Approval of Proposals Related to Undergraduate Named Options
Approval of Proposals Related to Graduate Named Options