Undergraduate Certificates Guidelines and Approval Process
An undergraduate certificate is a programmatic or topically-linked series of courses, either from a single field or across disciplinary boundaries. The certificate provides a focused, structured and deeply interrelated set of courses that enhances the undergraduate experience in areas of deep disciplinary, interdisciplinary, regional or global interest, or which may be targeted toward a defined professional development need. Creating strongly relevant but academically rigorous undergraduate certificates present an opportunity to respond to the evolving environmental conditions in higher education and concurrent shifts in student needs. Interested applicants should check the list of current undergraduate certificates and contact the sponsoring academic unit for more information.
- Undergraduate certificates are available to degree seeking and certificate only seeking undergraduate students.
- Students who have been admitted to an undergraduate degree program may add a certificate before completing their degree requirements by contacting the offering unit and satisfying the admission requirements for the desired certificate.
- Applicants for certificates only must meet UA Undergraduate Admissions requirements and must have no less than a high school diploma, GED or the equivalent. The academic unit offering the certificate may set additional or more stringent admission criteria.
- The total number of units required for an undergraduate certificate may vary by academic discipline, but must require a minimum of nine (9) units of credit. At least six (6) units of credit must be upper division units of UA course work.
- All University policies apply, including academic, grading, admission, retention, contact hours, and faculty eligibility to teach.
- Offering units may determine whether course work taken to complete the certificate may also be applied to a degree program. There is no University maximum on the number of units completed for a certificate that may also apply toward a degree program.
- Offering units may determine whether course work taken at another institution may be applied to a certificate. A minimum of three (3) units used to satisfy certificate requirements must be taken in residence at the UA.
- Maximum duplicate units from a previously awarded degree program applicable to a certificate shall be no more than six (6) units.
- Course work taken more than four (4) years before admission to a certificate may not be applied.
- Time to complete the certificate shall not exceed four (4) years. The clock begins with the date of the earliest course work used for the certificate.
- Certificates may be structured as either discipline-specific or cross-disciplinary. Academic units applying for certificates must consult with and/or obtain support from related programs and departments to insure availability of courses required for the certificate, but offered by another department, and to avoid unnecessary duplication of content.
- Subplans/options may not be offered under an approved certificate.
- Certificates may be stand-alone or linked to an existing degree program.
- Certificates may be offered by an academic unit that does not currently offer a related degree program.
- Non-academic units may create certificates that are sponsored by an academic unit that undergoes an academic program review.
- Certificates should enhance existing programs, not take the place of them. Sufficient resources must exist to support the certificate without penalizing existing academic programs including subplans/options and minors.
- Officially approved certificates will be posted to UA transcripts. The sponsoring unit may provide a paper certificate document if desired; it must not resemble a UA diploma in any way.
- Provide information regarding the proposed undergraduate certificate following the Undergraduate Certificate Request Form.
- Obtain signatures of the proposing unit’s administrator and department or committee head and college dean. Signatures serve as verification that the proposal has received faculty approval through appropriate department/college curricular procedures and that the unit has the resources to support the certificate. In some situations signatures of more than one dean or department head may be required. If the certificate has a commitment of resources (e.g., course offerings, faculty or staff time, etc.) from other than the initiating unit, a memo of support from the collaborating department(s)/committee head and collaborating college dean is also required.
- Complete the Comparison Chart for Minors and Certificates.
- Complete the Budget Projection Form. For questions, please consult the Budget Projection Instructions Form.
- Forward the completed documents to Pam Coonan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
The following approvals are required before announcing or implementing a new graduate certificate:
- Academic Unit Head / College Dean
- Academic and Curricular Affairs
- Academic Program Subcommittee / Undergraduate Council
Members of the College Academic Administrators Council (CAAC) will receive notification of new undergraduate certificates once approved by Undergraduate Council.
- Completion of a certificate will be verified by the managing academic unit/college and the Registrar’s Office.
- Certificates must be included in the academic program review process.
- Certificates may be terminated at any time by the offering academic unit. Offering units must notify Curricular Affairs before terminating a certificate so updates can be made to systems and publications. Students currently enrolled in the certificate should be accommodated until completion of their certificate program.
- All changes to Undergraduate Certificates must be approved by Academic and Curricular Affairs and Undergraduate Council. Departments should write a memo to Pam Coonan explaining the purpose, nature and justification for the requested changes. This memo must be signed by the Department Head and Academic Dean.
- Academic units may petition for an exception to these guidelines by submitting a request and justification to the Undergraduate Council.