REG 01.25.16 – Substantive Change Regulation

Authority: Chancellor

History: First Issued: July 9, 2013.  Last updated: July 25, 2023

Related Policies:

UNC Policy Manual 400.1.1(R) – Regulations for Academic Program Planning & Evaluation

UNC Academic Planning Online Resources

UNC Policy Manual UNC New Academic Degree Program Request for Preliminary Authorization

UNC Policy Manual UNC Request for Authorization to Establish a New Degree Program

UNC Policy Manual UNC Request to Deliver – New Delivery Mode or Site

UNC Policy Manual UNC Request to Discontinue A Degree Program, Site or Delivery Mode 

Additional References:
SACS-COC Policy on Substantive Change

Undergraduate Procedures
Graduate Procedures 
Substantive Change Review Team 


The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC) requires notification of the Commission in a timely fashion and, when required, approval prior to the implementation of a substantive change. Institutional accrediting bodies are tasked with ensuring institutional compliance with federal requirements of the U. S. Department of Education as outlined in 34 C.F.R. 602.22. The SACSCOC “Substantive Change Policy and Procedures” outlines institutional responsibilities related to the reporting of a substantive change. Failure to report planned substantive changes prior to implementation of the proposed program can result in loss of accreditation.


Substantive change means a significant modification or expansion of the nature and scope of an accredited institution. SACSCOC policy shall control what constitutes a substantial change. SACSCOC categorizes substantive changes into the following types: institutional changes, program changes, off-campus instructional site changes, and general changes. Examples of substantive changes at North Carolina State University (NC State) may include, but are not limited to, the following:

2.1 changes in the established mission of NC State;

2.2 addition of programs that are a significant departure in content or delivery from established programs;

2.3 establishment of off-campus instructional sites or branch campuses;

2.4 closing a program, off-campus site, or branch campus; and

2.5 developing a dual or joint degree program or consortium, particularly with non-Title-IV eligible institutions.


3.1 The Chancellor of NC State has overall responsibility for ensuring compliance and for reporting substantive changes to SACSCOC.

3.2 The NC State Accreditation Liaison is responsible for assisting the University in complying with the SACSCOC Policy and Procedures on Substantive Change.

3.3 Under the guidance of the Provost, the Deans of the Colleges, Dean of the Division of Academic and Student Affairs (DASA), Dean of the Graduate School, Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration, and the Vice Chancellor and General Counsel are responsible for:

3.3.1 Recognizing pending substantive changes;

3.3.2 Ensuring that all relevant notification and approval processes outlined in the on-campus routing forms for approval of undergraduate and graduate curricular proposals are followed;

3.3.3 Notifying the Accreditation Liaison of actions that may prove to be substantive.