Department or School Name Change

Academic departments may find it necessary or desirable to change their organizational status by renaming 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

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 University Policy S18-14 [pdf]).

Changing a Degree Name is not the same as changing a Department name. Degree name changes require Chancellor’s Office approval - see the Program Revisions page.

Approval Process

Changes to a department name require 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 (instructions linked) 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. Curriculum and Research (C&R) Committee
  5. Provost

Required Components of the Memo

The change has must be approved by the College October 1st for inclusion in the subsequent academic year. 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; e.g., if the name change includes words/terms that overlap with the use of those terms in other programs. Thus, any program seeking to add “media” to the name would need to consult with both Journalism & Mass Communication and Art & Design to discuss their proposal prior to submitting the request to the UGS Committee.

After the Approval 

After the department name change 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.