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Major Modifications

Major modifications are academic changes that significantly alter the learning outcomes of a degree program. Some changes may lie on the border of a minor modification and a major modification. 

There are three types of major modifications:

  • significant modifications to an existing graduate program
  • proposing a new field within an existing graduate program
  • creating a new combined degree program from existing degree programs

Please contact the Graduate Affairs Officer in the Office of the Vice Dean, Research and Health Science Education (RHSE) before beginning a proposal for a major modification.

Early consultation with RHSE ensures that the appropriate governance templates and/or proposals are submitted and facilitates discussion about timelines and other related protocol.

Governance Process

Major modifications follow a three-step governance process. 


  1. Obtain Approval from your Graduate Unit
    • The first step in the governance process is to obtain the approval from the graduate unit. When submitting the proposal to your graduate unit, be sure to include the completed template and supporting documentation (e.g., course syllabus). Typically, the committee responsible for graduate education in your unit is responsible for granting graduate unit approval. Please contact your Graduate Coordinator for information about meeting dates and departmental protocol.
  2. Obtain Approval from the RHSE Graduate Curriculum Committee (GCC)
    • Please submit the proposal package to the Graduate Affairs Officer at RHSE at least 2 weeks before the next scheduled meeting. Please review the RHSE GCC meeting dates. At the next scheduled meeting, a faculty member from the graduate unit (e.g., Graduate Coordinator) presents the proposal to the GCC. 
  3. Obtain Approval from The Temerty Faculty of Medicine Faculty Council  

Templates and Instructions for Major Modifications

To access the required templates and instructions for major modifications, please visit the Office of the Vice-Provost, Academic Programs.

Definitions of Major Modifications

Significant Modifications to an Existing Graduate Program

This type of modification significantly changes a graduate degree program’s requirements in terms of its knowledge base and learning outcomes.

Proposing a New Field Within an Existing Graduate Program

A field is an identified area of specialization or area of study in a graduate degree program. It's related to the distinct, demonstrable and collective strengths of the program’s faculty members. Fields reflect the capacity of the research faculty to support graduate level research in specific areas.

Visit the School of Graduate Studies website to learn more about Graduate Program Definitions.

Creating a New Combined Degree Program from Existing Degree Programs

A combined program allows a student to complete two degree programs concurrently, within a reduced time period. The combination involves two existing degree programs, at least one of which must be a graduate program. This is facilitated by a limited number of identified program credits counting towards both programs. 

Visit the School of Graduate Studies website to learn more about Graduate Program Definitions.