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  • Policy Number: SP.10.012
  • Version: Original
  • Drafted By: Curriculum Committee
  • Approved By: Richard R. Rush
  • Approval Date:
  • Effective Date:
  • Supersedes:


To establish the minimum characteristics of a certificate offered by academic programs.







All tenure-track CSUCI faculty.


Certificate Program: According to E.O. 806, “A certificate program provides a set of learning experiences concentrated in a specific set of educational goals.” A certificate program is a coherent set of academic courses that does not lead to a degree, but is focused on a substantial area of study that may be practically orientated toward skills and/or occupations. Certificate programs are a way to serve students who wish to learn specific subjects, concepts, skills and competencies. In contrast with a minor, Certificate Programs can be completed by non-matriculated students through Extended University. Certificate programs may be credit certificate programs, consisting of academic courses carrying academic credit, or non-credit certificate programs consisting of courses which do not carry academic credit or result in Continuing Education Units (CEU’s)

Certificate programs on the CI campus consist of three types:

  1. Credit bearing certificate programs which can be completed along with a bachelor’s or post-baccalaureate work such as a master’s degree by matriculated students or, alternatively, through Extended University by non-matriculated students.
  2. Credit-bearing certificate programs which are identical to a minor in an academic discipline and which can only be completed through Extended University. Such certificate programs exist to provide Extended University students with the equivalent of a minor without having to be matriculated students.
  3. Non-credit certificate programs offered through Extended University. Certificate programs which do not provide academic credit or provide Continuing Education Units (CEUs) are considered non-credit certificate programs. Certificate programs which provide academic credit are considered credit-bearing certificate programs.


Preamble/ Rationale: SP 01-02 established the Minimum Characteristics of Majors and Minors. Emphases and Options, and Certificates were not defined in this Senate Policy. 

Campuses are delegated the authority to establish certificates and certificate programs by the CSU Chancellor’s Office. Executive Order 806 of the CSU Chancellor’s Office states: “Campuses are encouraged to establish appropriate policies for planning and developing certificate programs. The campus policies should address the number of semester or quarter credits needed for a credit-bearing certificate program and should specify the requirements for non-credit certificates.”

A substantial number of credit-bearing certificate programs have been created as part of academic programs on the CI campus and yet no senate policy establishes the minimum characteristics of credit-bearing certificates.


All credit-bearing certificate programs must have minimum characteristics identical to that of a minor, which include at least 15 semester units of which a minimum of nine units must be upper-division (SP 01-02).

Credit-bearing and non-credit certificate programs must be proposed by an academic program and submitted to the Curriculum Committee on the New Certificate Program Proposal form. After the proposal for a new certificate program has been approved by the Curriculum Committee, the proposal is forwarded to the Academic Planning Committee where it is considered for placement on the Academic Master Plan. After the certificate program is approved for placement on the Academic Master Plan, the proposal for a new certificate is forwarded to the Academic Senate for consideration. Certificate programs do not need to be approved by the CSU Chancellor’s Office.

Certificate programs must not substitute for majors, minors or credentials for matriculated students in established degree programs. If a certificate program can only be completed by non-matriculated students, this must be clearly stated in the catalog description for the certificate program.



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