The approval of the University Senate is normally the final step within the University for starting a new, post-baccalaureate program; for new bachelor's programs, the approval of the Vice Provost for Academic Administration is usually the final step within the University. However, if the Columbia degree in a new joint degree program is one that the Columbia school has not previously been authorized to confer, the Trustees of the University must give it that authority by amending the Statutes of the University. Statutory amendments require consideration at two separate meetings of the Trustees. Additionally, if the program will lead to a degree that has not previously been awarded in New York State, the New York Board of Regents must amend their rules before the University Trustees can act.
Students who complete the requirements of a joint degree program normally receive two different degrees, one from Columbia and the other from the partner institution. With the special permission of the Trustees, the students can receive a single degree awarded jointly by Columbia and its partner.