Policy on Credit and Non-Credit Certificates

1.00 Purpose

The purpose of this policy is to set out the criteria and protocol for the establishment and approval of credit and non-credit certificates.

This policy is intended to reflect the University's commitment to the principles, goals, and ideals described in the CSUMB Vision Statement and its core values.

2.00 Certificate Programs


"A certificate declares that a student has satisfactorily completed the curriculum of a certificate program. A certificate program provides a set of learning experiences concentrated in a specific set of educational goals. In most cases, certificate programs are provided through extended education. At the discretion of the university, academic credit earned in certificate programs may be awarded at the graduate and undergraduate levels. Certificate programs may grant Continuing Education Units (CEUs), or they may include non-credit offerings." (CSU Executive Order #806)

Content of Certificates

A certificate program shall provide a set of learning experiences concentrated in a specific set of educational goals. Examples include but are not limited to:

  • Increasing knowledge in a career area by updating a student's knowledge about the career, providing advancement opportunities, introducing students to new developments, or providing added information based on student needs and interests;
  • Providing initial knowledge designed for entering a new career, or making a significant change in an existing career, such as moving from a nurse to a nurse practitioner;
  • Providing knowledge for new and emerging career opportunities;
  • Providing opportunities to explore the possibility of moving to different careers;
  • Providing an organized set of knowledge within any discipline, based on student interests, such as in different areas of art, music, literature, mathematics, or science;
  • Providing other programs based on identified or anticipated student needs and interests. (from CSU EO #806)

3.00 Certificate of Academic Achievement (Credit Certificate)

The Certificate of Academic Achievement is awarded to persons who have completed a prescribed set of instructional programs approved for a certificate program. The program is initiated by an instructional unit or cooperatively by two or more instructional units in collaboration with Extended Education and must ordinarily be composed of a sequence of degree credit course work. The program must have a specific objective different from that of the existing major or minor degree programs at California State University, Monterey Bay. A minimum number of units shall be established for credit-bearing certificate programs, as indicated in the "Guidelines for Development and Approval of Credit and Non-credit Certificate Programs," hereinafter the "Guidelines."

Certificate of Academic Achievement programs are designed to provide specific kinds of degree credit course work in order that students may acquire particular competence or skills commonly required or used in a designated vocational or professional field. A program does not in itself provide broad understanding in the field as a major or minor would, but prepares the individual to perform specified tasks, or gain particular competence in one area of the broad field of study. Students need not be enrolled in a degree program to undertake study under a certificate program, but must meet the prerequisites for the course of study and be eligible for enrollment at the University under resident, extension, or concurrent enrollment.

3.10 Non-credit Certificate

Non-credit Certificates are awarded to persons who have participated in an approved program of seminars, symposia, workshops, and/or course work for which degree credits are not given. Programs may be initiated by on-campus or off-campus individuals or organizations and shall be sponsored by Extended Education and approved by a review procedure set forth in the "Guidelines." Examples of programs in which a Non-credit Certificate is awarded are weekend seminars or workshops on specific academic, professional, and/or practical topics; or summer programs (e.g., English language programs offered for Japanese secondary College teachers of English) in which non-credit instructional courses are offered. Continuing Education Units (CEUs) may be awarded for non-credit certificates as measurements of participation time.

3.20 Certificate Quality Assurance

The quality and currency of credit-bearing certificate programs shall be reviewed on a regular basis as part of scheduled academic program review. Non-credit certificate programs shall be reviewed every three to five years by the Office of Extended Education and International Programs to ensure their currency and effectiveness in meeting designated outcomes. The financial viability of all certificate programs shall be reviewed annually by the Office of Extended Education and International Programs.

4.00 Review & Approval of Proposals

The academic or other initiating unit requesting approval of the certificate program shall prepare a proposal consistent with the Guidelines. The proposal shall be submitted to the appropriate Department Chair(s) and to qualified faculty for review. The Chair(s) shall then submit the proposed certificate program along with their recommendations to their Deans and to the Dean of Extended Education and International Programs. The Deans shall submit the proposed certificate program to the Academic Senate Executive Committee who shall send the proposal forward to the appropriate committee for review and approval. The Provost shall have the final review and approval once the Academic Senate has approved the proposal.

The certificate program shall not be offered until the Academic Senate and Provost approve the certificate program.

5.00 Continuous Renewal

This policy shall be reviewed ten years from its effective date to determine its effectiveness and appropriateness. This policy may be reviewed before that time as necessary.

s/ President Dianne F. Harrison

Effective Date: March 19, 2010

Certification of Process

Reviewed by: Academic Senate, Policy Facilitation Team, Academic Affairs Council, Provost, Academic Senate Executive Committee, Educational Policy and Planning Committee, Dean of Extended Education and International Programs.