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Services and Structure


Extended Learning (EL) at California State University San Marcos serves as the academic outreach arm of the university.  As a unit within the Academic Affairs Division, EL is North San Diego County’s premier provider of continuing education and training programs.  Cal State San Marcos, and—by extension, EL—is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.


Extended Learning programs are built to respond to the educational needs of the multitude of individuals and organizations in San Diego’s North County region and beyond.  These include individuals interested in expanding their knowledge in a certain field, or exploring options in other careers.  As well, EL audiences include employers in business, industry, nonprofit and government agencies, education, health organizations, and military establishments interested in custom-designed programs for their workforce. In some instances, programs are designed and delivered on a contract basis for special audiences in other countries.


Currently, EL provides a variety of pre-designed continuing education programs in the areas of Supervision; Leadership; Project Management; Administration; Financial Management; Human Resources Management; Education; Nursing and Health Care Administration; Biotechnology; Grantsmanship; Social and Behavioral Sciences; Computers and Technology; and various other Professional Enrichment programs, including a “college” for mature learners over 50.  As well, EL serves as a vehicle to offer any number of the University’s degree level courses via the Open University or as “special session” programs.  Beyond these, EL has the capacity to:

  • Develop, conduct, and evaluate educational needs assessments
  • Develop individual courses or full certificates of completion or competency (credit and noncredit) in a defined area
  • Provide access to university courses for non-matriculated students
  • Assist the university in achieving its academic outreach goals through the development and delivery of special session degree programs
  • Custom-develop courses and programs for employers in any number of specialized areas, such as:
  • Create programs that are client-driven, flexible, and built wholly in partnership with the organization
  • Develop programs in online or web-based formats
  • Deliver programs via compressed video and network multiple audiences at various locations
  • Deliver programs on-site and at times and in formats convenient to the participants
  • Assist in the development of grants, contracts and special projects
  • Where applicable, provide university credit for community-based programs, especially teacher in-service programs

Financial Structure/Program Budgets

EL functions as a financially self-supporting unit within the university; that is, it receives no funding from the State of California and relies solely on revenues generated from its various programs to operate.  As such, it is a highly entrepreneurial organization that understands how to be immediately responsive to identified training and education needs. Because EL is a self-supporting operation, all programs are developed on a course-recovery basis, including both the direct and indirect costs of creating and implementing the program.  Programs are budgeted on a case-by-case basis depending upon their specific requirements.  In all cases, EL works with the client to ensure that a course or program is as cost-effective as possible for the client.