Preparing Curriculum Proposals

For complete information, please go to the Senate Curriculum Submission Guide on the Senate website. You can also download a PDF version of the Guide from that web page.

Proposals for new courses, course changes and course deletions must first be approved by the initiating Faculty. The proposals then go to the Graduate Curriculum Committee (which is a sub-committee of the Senate Curriculum Committee) for review, to ensure that all Senate requirements are addressed in the proposals. Once approved by the Graduate Curriculum Committee, they can proceed to the Senate Curriculum Committee. All proposals for new programs must be approved by the Senate and by the Board of Governors before they can be implemented.

This applies to all graduate programs offered at UBC, including Certificate programs.

Note: Administration of graduate certificate programs does not fall under the mandate of the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies. Certificates are administered by the Faculty that awards them; this includes administration of applications.

Graduate Certificates and Laddering

“Laddering” of UBC graduate certificate programs into specifically affiliated UBC master’s degrees is governed by the Senate-approved policy on Transfer Credit in the UBC Calendar. Please review this policy carefully.

Admission to master’s degree program

Laddering from a graduate certificate program to a master’s degree program is not automatic. As stated in the Senate policy at the link above, students in a graduate certificate program will need to apply and be accepted to the master's program.

Students applying to a master’s degree program will be charged the usual application fee.

The application to the master’s degree program will be reviewed for eligibility, and will include evaluation of the performance in the graduate certificate program. If overall performance in the graduate certificate program is not up to the minimum standards required for a master’s degree, the applicant may not be admitted to the master’s degree program.

Only courses that meet the requirements in the Transfer Policy will be considered for transfer into the master’s degree program.


Graduate certificate programs and master’s degree programs have separate fee structures. Depending on the individual programs, tuition fees paid for the graduate certificate program may not count towards the minimum number of fee installments required for the master’s degree program, and students may be required to pay the full tuition fees for the master’s program.

Graduate Curriculum Coordinator

The Graduate Curriculum Coordinator at the Faculty of Graduate and Postdoctoral Studies is available to advise Faculties on proposal development from initiation to approval, ensuring that all aspects of new program and new course development are fully considered and addressed.

Contact the Graduate Curriculum Coordinator


The information below is taken from the Senate Curriculum Submission Guide and is included here for quick reference.

New Program Proposals

New programs require University-level approval, including the approval of the Vancouver Senate and Board of Governors. New degree programs also require Ministry of Advanced Education approval subsequent to University approval. For a detailed description of the New Program Approval Process, please see Appendix A in the Senate Curriculum Submission Guide. By following the process set out in the Guide, the resulting submission will meet the criteria for a new program proposal as established by the Ministry.

New degree programs requiring Ministry of Advanced Education approval include:

  • A new credential or significant revision of a program that warrants credential renaming;
  • A new major or field of specialization (although a new honours program in a field in which a major is currently offered will not require review);
  • An interdisciplinary major for which the majority of the courses are substantially altered to conform to the program’s objectives;
  • A joint major unless all of the fields in the joint major are not already represented by an approved major;
  • A new graduate program (i.e., a new specialization); or,
  • Revision of a program’s major objectives resulting in significant changes.

Category 1 Proposals (other than new programs)

Category 1 proposals include new courses or cases in which an existing course or program is subject to substantive and extensive change. The following cases are considered Category 1 proposals:

  • A new course;
  • A change to an existing course or program that affects Faculties outside of the proposing Faculty;
  • A change to an existing course or program that engenders budgetary implications beyond the available resources of the proposing Faculty;
  • Reopening a deleted course;
  • Creation of a new subject code;
  • Deletion, dissolution or suspension of a program;
  • Deletion of courses where other Faculties are impacted;
  • A program name change; or,
  • Any case that, upon review, is considered to be Category 1 in the opinion of the Vancouver Senate Curriculum Editorial or Graduate Sub-Committees.

Category 2 Proposals

Category 2 proposals concern less substantive changes to existing courses and programs than the changes described above. These include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Changes in a course title or description to clarify or reflect updates in the field, or changes to a course’s credit value (NB: where any of these changes imply a significant change in course content, the proposal is viewed as a Category 1 proposal);
  • Changes to pre/co-requisites or vectors (unless the changes narrow or restrict access to other Faculties or Departments using the course);
  • Change from a 6-credit course to two 3-credit courses without change in course content (NB: submission of the 6-cr course syllabus and both new 3-cr syllabi is requested in such cases);
  • Changes to subject heading or course numbers (provided that new numbers still reflect the scope and depth of the course); or,
  • The deletion of courses. However, these proposals may require a consultation to show that the closure does not affect other programs if the course has been in active use toward other programs.

Changes in the instructor or in the delivery method generally do not require Senate approval unless there is a concurrent change in the course’s stated learning outcomes.

A change submitted as Category 2 may be reconsidered as a Category 1 change at the discretion of the sub-committee charged with the review.