Credit Certificate Policy

Definition:This document describes the kinds of certificate programs offered at CSUSM, establishes minimum requirements of various kinds of certificates, sets forth regulations governing certificate programs, and outlines procedures for proposal and review of certificate programs.
Authority:The president of the university.
Scope:Certificate programs offered at CSUSM.
Responsible Division:Academic Affairs
Approval Date:07/20/2006
Implementation Date:07/20/2006
Originally Implemented:09/03/1999
Signature Page/PDF:View Signatures for Credit Certificate Policy Policy


Procedure

Preamble

 
The centerpiece of the policy is the distinction between credit certificates and non-credit certificates. The former are certificates earned by completing courses that carry credit toward an undergraduate or graduate degree, and the latter are certificates offered through Extended Studies earned by completing courses that (for the most part) do not carry degree credit. Credit certificates will be developed by college-based programs, subject to Academic Senate review and approval. Non-credit certificates will be developed by the Office of Extended Studies, in consultation with college-based programs, as outlined in the Extended Studies Policy.

 
APC recommends retaining four different categories of certificate programs: Two kinds of non-credit certificates, reflecting current practice in Extended Studies, and two kinds of credit certificates, one supplementing undergraduate programs of study, and one supplementing graduate programs. Further details are provided in the policy document itself.

 
Certificate programs are not intended to supplant or compete with traditional Majors, Minors, or graduate programs of study; rather, their purpose is to serve a variety of student audiences whose educational objectives would be better met through the pursuit of more focused and specialized programs of study. This policy establishes criteria and guidelines for the development, review, and approval of certificate programs, to ensure that these programs will serve their intended function.

 
I. Certificate Programs at CSUSM

 
This document describes the kinds of certificate programs offered at CSUSM, establishes minimum requirements of various kinds of certificates, sets forth regulations governing certificate programs, and outlines procedures for proposal and review of certificate programs.

 
Under this policy, CSUSM will be able to offer a variety of Certificate programs, enabling students at various stages of their academic careers to pursue specialized and focused areas of study not covered by traditional degree programs. Certificate programs are designed for a variety of purposes: to offer integrated programs of study in the context of continuing education, to offer programs of study that increase and certify the student's competency in a specialized technical or professional skill or area of study, to offer paraprofessional training, in a particular career field, or to offer a focused program of study in an academic area not addressed through traditional majors, minors, or graduate degree programs.

 
The time to completion, requirements, and prerequisites of Certificate programs vary with the kind of Certificate pursued by the student. Certificates may be awarded for short- or longer-term courses of study, depending upon the breadth and depth of teaming and competency to be gained through completion of the certificate. Classes taken as part of a certificate program may or may not carry academic credit toward undergraduate or graduate degrees. Certificates may be awarded to students upon completion of the Certificate program, or in some cases, at the student's completion of other undergraduate degree requirements.

 
Credit certificate programs consist entirely of classes that carry credit toward an undergraduate or graduate degree. Credit certificates are developed by college-based programs, subject to Academic Senate review and approval. Two kinds of credit certificates are distinguished, one offered at the undergraduate level (The CSUSM Certificate of Specialized Study, defined below) and one at the graduate level (The CSUSM Certificate of Advanced Study).

 
Non-credit certificate programs are offered through Extended Studies and consist of classes and activities that (for the most part) do not carry degree credit. Non-credit certificates are developed by the Office of Extended Studies, in consultation with college-based programs. Non-credit certificate programs may combine credit and noncredit classes and activities, subject to consultation between college-based programs and the Office of Extended Studies. Two kinds of non-credit certificates are distinguished, reflecting distinct purposes of such programs and different expectations of student teaming outcomes to be demonstrated upon completion of the programs.

 
II. Certificate Programs: Definitions and Minimum Requirements

 
A. Extended Studies Certificates are non-credit certificates offered through Extended Studies and developed in consultation between the Office of Extended Studies and related college-based programs. The curricula are designed for individuals who participate in an organized and integrated program of study but who are not (for the most part) matriculated students of the University.

 
1. The Extended Studies Certificate of Completion is awarded for successfully completing a planned educational experience (workshop, conference, short course, seminar, or series of courses and seminars) designed for specific academic and/or professional training objectives. Individual classes and activities composing Certificates of Completion carry no University degree credit.

 
2. The Extended Studies Certificate of Technical, Vocational or Professional Competence is awarded (a) for successfully completing a planned educational experience (workshop, conference, short course, seminar, or series of courses and seminars) designed for specific academic and/or professional training objectives; and (b) for successfully demonstrating the acquisition of desired skills and/or mastery of a body of knowledge, upon completion of the program of study. Classes and activities composing Certificates of Competence may or may not carry University degree credit. Where degree credit classes are included in a program of study, students who are not matriculated students of the University can enroll in classes through Open University.

 
B. CSUSM Certificates are credit certificates developed and offered by college-based programs, subject to review and approval by the Academic Senate. These programs are open only to matriculated students of the University.

 
1. The CSUSM Certificate of Specialized Study is awarded to baccalaureate and post-baccalaureate students for (a) successfully completing a structured program of educational experiences, at least 12 semester units, determined in advance by a program, department, or college, geared toward mastery of a focused academic field of study or a specialized professional or vocational area of competency; and (b) successfully demonstrating, the acquisition of desired skills and/or mastery of a body of knowledge, upon completion of the program of study. Curriculum for Certificates of Specialized Study includes mainly Upper Division (300-499) classes and may include Graduate (500-599) classes. These classes carry academic credit toward completion of the baccalaureate degree and, where applicable to a specific Master's program, the Master's degree.

 
Certificates of Specialized Study supplement and do not replace traditional Major and Minor programs, addressing areas of study more specialized, or more professionally or vocationally oriented than the focus of Majors or Minors. They are intended to serve regularly enrolled baccalaureate students who wish to gain an additional academic credential, upon completion of the certificate program. They are also geared toward post-baccalaureate students seeking the same credential, for who a traditional graduate or second baccalaureate degree is not suitable. Post-baccalaureate students should consult individual program descriptions for admissions requirements and procedures.

 
2. The CSUSM Certificate of Advanced Study is awarded to post-baccalaureate students and graduate degree candidates for (a) successfully completing a structured program of educational experiences, at least 12 semester units, determined in advance by a graduate program, department, or college, geared toward advanced mastery of a focused academic field of study or a specialized professional area of competency; and (b) successfully demonstrating the acquisition of desired skills and/or mastery of a body of knowledge, upon completion of the program of study. Curriculum for a Certificate of Advanced Study is composed primarily of Graduate (500-699) classes. Where applicable, these classes carry academic credit toward completion of a specific Master's degree.

 
Certificates of Advanced Study supplement and do not replace traditional graduate degree programs, addressing areas of study more specialized or more professionally or vocationally oriented than the focus of traditional Master's degrees. They are intended to serve regularly enrolled, graduate candidate students who wish to gain an academic credential in addition to the Master's degree. They are also geared toward post-baccalaureate students seeking the same credential, for whom a traditional graduate or second baccalaureate degree is not suitable. These programs may also serve post-graduate students. Post-baccalaureate and postgraduate students should consult individual program descriptions for admissions requirements and procedures.

 
III. Guidelines for Proposal and Review of Credit Certificates

 
A. Credit certificate programs should not supplant or replace traditional majors, minors, or Master's degree programs. Rather, certificate programs should supplement traditional degree programs, attracting students whose needs are better served by more focused and specialized programs of study. Proposals for credit certificate programs should identify precisely the technical/professional/vocationaI skill(s) or the academic specialty whose study is facilitated by the development of the program. Proposals should explain the distinction between the certificate and any related majors, minors, and Master's degree programs. Proposals should also explain why the academic objectives served by the certificate are not sufficiently served through existing, academic programs (majors, minors, and Master's).

 
B. Oversight for credit certificate programs is provided by the Academic Senate. Proposals for credit certificate programs will follow the one-year cycle of review established for new minors, options, concentrations, etc. Existing program proposal forms will be adapted to the purpose of guiding authors of proposals through the process.

 
C. Courses associated with credit certificate programs can be offered in General Fund-based and Extended Education settings, as courses in the fall and spring semesters, in the Summer Session, or in other possible settings, subject to arrangements agreed upon by programs offering the certificate and the Office of Extended Studies.

 
D. This policy stipulates that credit certificates are to be composed of a minimum of 12 semester units of study, a figure that is consistent with minimum standards established at other CSU campuses. However, authors and reviewers of certificate program proposals should be aware that, beyond this minimum specification, credit certificate programs at other CSU campuses typically comprise an average 18 to 30 semester units of study. The determination of the number of units of study to be required in any particular certificate program is therefore a relative issue; authors and reviewers of proposals should relate this issue to the final learning outcomes to be advanced by the program. Depending upon the skills or knowledge to be gained through completion of the certificate program, some programs will be relatively concentrated and others more extensive, in terms of the required number of units of study.

 


E. Criteria for Certificates of Specialized Study

 
1. Certificates of Specialized Study must include a minimum of 12 units of study, with a minimum of 9 units of upper division coursework.

 
2. Lower division course requirements and prerequisites may be waived based on transfer of credit from a previous institution, or demonstrated competence in the field, as specified in the program proposal.

 
3. At least 75% of coursework required for the certificate must be completed at CSU San Marcos. At least nine units of upper division coursework required for the certificate must not be applied toward the student's major or minor.

 
4. GE courses taken to fulfill certificate requirements may not be applied to GE requirements of the baccalaureate degree.

 
5. All courses required for a certificate must be passed with a grade of C (2.0) or better; higher standards may be imposed within a particular certificate program.

 
F. Criteria for Certificates of Advanced Study

 
1. Certificates of Advanced Study must include a minimum of 12 units of study, with a minimum of nine units at the Graduate level (500-699).

 
2. No more than three units of advanced undergraduate coursework (400-499) may be applied to the certificate.

 
3. At least 75% of required coursework must be completed at CSU San Marcos.

 
4. Up to 12 units of coursework may be applied to progress toward a Master's degree, upon approval of the relevant graduate program.

 
5. All courses required for a certificate must be passed with a grade of B (3.0) or better.

 
IV. Procedure for Submitting Proposals for New Certificates

 
A. Each new Certificate is subject to review and approval by the relevant college curriculum committee and the University Curriculum Committee and, for resource implications, the Budget Long-range Planning Committee of the Academic Senate. Requests for approval of a Certificate should be submitted according to the timeline of the appropriate college curriculum committee and should follow the format below.

 
1. Full and exact title of the Certificate program and level of the program (Certificate of Specialized vs. Advanced Study). Name and position of the person(s) submitting the proposed Certificate. Intended implementation date of the program.

 
2. List of the existing programs in the discipline(s) under which the new Certificate is to be offered.

 
3. List of the existing program(s) that may be affected by the proposed Certificate.

 
4. Purpose of the proposed Certificate, including specific academic objectives served, professional applications, potential student market, and a statement explaining the need for the Certificate in comparison to existing related Majors, Minors, and Graduate programs.

 
5. List of the courses, by catalog number, title, and units of credit, as well as total units to be required under the proposed Certificate.

 
6. Definition of the minimum level of competence to be demonstrated to earn the proposed Certificate, and a description of the means of assessing that competence (examination, practicum, field experience, etc.).

 
7. Description of assessment strategies for waiver of lower division requirements (where applicable).

 
8. New courses to be developed. Include proposed catalog descriptions in the Certificate proposal. "C-forms" for these courses should accompany the proposed Certificate package for curricular review.

 
9. List of all present faculty members, with rank, appointment status, highest degree earned, date and field of highest degree, and professional experience, who would teach in the proposed aggregate of courses.

 
10. Instructional resources (faculty, space, equipment, library volumes, etc.) needed to implement and sustain the Certificate program.