|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|
|Signature Page/PDF:||View Signatures for Credit Certificate Policy Policy|
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 MINIMIM 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.
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
F. Criteria for Certificates of Advanced Study
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.