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Section 2: Program Development and Approval

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PS 85-08

The following policy was recommended by the Academic Senate in its meeting of March 14, 1985, and received the concurrence of the President on April 5, 1985. This policy is also incorporated in the University Curriculum Handbook.


A Certificate Program is a coherent grouping of courses from one or more disciplines. Such a Program may provide an application focus in a particular field of study, or a multidisciplinary focus on a specific topic or area. A certificate provides formal recognition by the University that the course of study involves substantial exposure to the field or topic. A Certificate Program will differ substantially in focus from a degree program, although certain common courses may be applied to both degree and certificate courses of study. Certificates, however, are not awarded by the University prior to awarding of a bachelor's degree. The Writing Proficiency Examination must be passed before awarding of a Certificate.

A Certificate neither credentials nor licenses the student, nor does it guarantee the ability of the student to put into practice what has been studied. By conferring a Certificate, the University validates the course of study as being a substantial exposure to the main features of the field or topic.

Extension and/or transfer credit, approved by the Program/Department Chair, may comprise no more than one-fourth of the course-work applied to an undergraduate Certificate or no more than one-sixth of the course-work applied to the Graduate Certificate. Course-work applied to the Certificate Program must show evaluations with traditional letter or number grading (e.g., A through F through 0 grade points) except for courses graded C/NC only. Credit earned by correspondence, examination, and/or experiential portfolio may not be applied to the Certificate Program.

The requirements in effect for the Program will be those published in the University Bulletin at the initiation or at the completion of the course-work applied to the Certificate, as determined by the students choice when he/she files for awarding of the Certificate.

When a student is accepted into the Certificate Program, an official course of study is to be approved by the Program Advisor, the Program/ Department Chair, the School Dean, and forwarded to the Records Office. Copies of the Course of Study Form will be kept by the Program/Department Chair and the School Dean for use in the periodic program evaluation required by Councils. The student will file a Request for Certificate Form at the time of filing for Graduation Check if the Certificate is to be awarded concurrently with the bachelor's degree, or at least one semester prior to awarding of the Certificate, if a bachelor's degree has already been awarded.


Course-work is at the undergraduate level and must include at least 18 units of study, of which at least 15 shall be at the upper-division level. Undergraduate course-work requirements for Certificate Programs are determined by the School or Schools offering or participating in the various Certificate Programs. (A maximum of two 500-level courses may be acceptable in the same manner that 500-level work may be used for the bachelor's degree and subject to the same limitations as to class standing and grade point average.) A program may specify a maximum time for completion of the requirements. A grade point average of at least 2.0 must be maintained in the Certificate Program course-work. The Program shall include a basic core of at least three courses common to all students awarded the Certificate. (The core may include "either/or" choices between two alternatives for one or two of the three required core courses.)


Acceptance in a Graduate Certificate Program requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited university, a passing score in the University Writing Proficiency Examination, and at least a 2.5 grade point average in the most recently completed 60 units. Course-work is at the graduate level (500/600), with undergraduate courses acceptable if they are asterisked in the University Bulletin as acceptable for graduate work, subject to all limitations which follow.

The Graduate Certificate Program must include at least 18 units of study, of which at least 12 must be at the 500/600 level. A grade point average of at least 3.0 must be maintained in the course-work applied to the Graduate Certificate. The Program shall include a basic core of at least 3 courses common to all students awarded the Certificate. (One of these three core courses may include an "either/or" choice between two alternatives.) Courses in directed research, directed reading, internship, independent study may comprise no more than 3 units total on a Graduate Certificate Program. Thesis and student teaching may not be used. A Certificate Program must be completed within five calendar years from its initial course-work.


Proposals for establishing Certificate Programs are approved by the President of the University after review of curricular and administrative framework and recommendation by the appropriate Council and the Academic Senate. Programs housed within a Department or School will be reviewed in the same program review cycle as degree programs within that Department or School and according to guidelines for Review of Certificate Programs. Multi-disciplinary Certificate Programs offered jointly by more than one School will be reviewed according to a special five-year cycle established by the appropriate Council.

The Certificate Program Chair shall be tenured/tenure track faculty member with a full-time assignment for the full academic year. The Chair is responsible for academic advising, coordination of course offerings, processing of Course of Study forms, and preparation/submission of Program Review materials.


Section 2: Program Development and Approval
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