Splitting or Merging a Department

Academic departments may find it necessary or desirable to change their organizational status by splitting or merging their department. Reasons for such changes vary, for example, 

  • Academic discipline changes
  • Industry standards or expectations change
  • Academic programs within a college require re-alignment
  • Student demand and profile exceeds capacity of the current department
  • Small degree programs/departments need to merge to reduce costs to retain program offerings

All such changes impact the Academic Program Catalog in CMS and may also impact curriculum articulation, academic advising, student records, admissions, and/or financial operations, data reporting requirements, academic scheduling and/or personnel management structures. Such changes require review, consultation and recommendation for approval by the following the process below (per Senate Policy S13-9).


The process to merge or split a department requires a vote of the department faculty and approval of the College Dean and Provost. An official memo requesting name change must be routed through Curriculog for approval. The memo will be routed for approval as follows:

  1. Department Chair or School Director
  2. College Curriculum Committee
  3. College Dean (or designee)
  4. Undergraduate Studies (UGS) Committee
    Graduate Studies & Research (GS&R) Committee
  5. Curriculum and Research (C&R) Committee
  6. Provost

Required Components of the Memo 

The change has must be approved by November 1st for inclusion in the following Fall semester catalog. The memo should include the following:

  1. Brief description about department and its history.
  2. Brief description of current academic standards and trends
  3. Include data from other colleges, universities, and CSU departments and professional organizations within the discipline.
  4. Academic Standards: Adding a new degree may lead to renaming a department to reflect the new profile more accurately.
  5. Industry Standards: Corporate understanding of terminology is not necessarily academic understanding of a degree name; e.g., Corporate Financial Management is not understood by many companies to include an accounting component in the curriculum. Documentation may include letters of support from companies and/or organizations within the field. 
  6. Survey of Students: Students often have strong opinions about their degree names; e.g., students in Corporate Financial Management asked that the name be changed to include accounting to make them more competitive for positions based upon the accounting element being named in the degree. Similarly, Speech became Communication Studies. Student surveys may be formal or informal.
  7. Data on how the new name relates to coursework and faculty expertise.
  8. Faculty support for the new name and alternate names discussed.
  9. Letters of support from other potentially impacted departments/programs.
  10. List of how/if faculty will be separated into each “new” department; evidence of faculty approvals in all affected departments (including meeting minutes with votes recorded)
  11. Description of necessary curricular changes; e.g., course distribution, prefix changes, cross-listings, etc.
  12. Plan for notification and advising of current and prospective students
  13. Undergraduate or Graduate Program Revision Form or Minor Catalog Update forms may need to be submitted in Curriculog.

After the Approval 

After the department split or merge has been approved, the Curriculum Analyst will update the Academic Catalog and notifies Academic Scheduling, forwarding an instructor relocation list if applicable, and Institutional Research.

Department updates in-house materials (business cards, stationery, websites, etc.) and makes appropriate announcements to students (current and prospective) and other campus units. Departments may also need to complete a series of task to implement name changes with all other applicable University stakeholders. View the Administration & Finance guidelines for more information.