Developing New Certificate Programs

Overview of Certificate Programs

A certificate program teaches a coherent set of skills that does not lead specifically to a degree, but may be practically oriented towards professional occupations. Certificate programs are a way of organizing curriculum in order to serve students who wish to learn specific subjects, concepts, skills and competencies, and may include international programs. Certificate programs may offer academic credit or CEUs (Continuing Education Units).

The award of a certificate means that the holder has participated in a skill-based class or program or has completed the required academic coursework at a certain level of accomplishment. A certificate indicates that the University validates the particular skill-based program or field of study. However, it neither credentials nor licenses the student in a particular field or profession, nor does it guarantee the ability of the student to put into practice what has been studied.

Certificates offered through self-support, require students to apply for certification through the School of Extended and International Education (SEIE). The program coordinator shall verify completion of requirements. Award of the certificate will be noted on the student's transcripts. The School of Extended and International Education offers two types of certificate programs: academic credit certificate programs and non-academic certificate programs.

Types of Credit Certificates

Within the ecrtificate program, there are two types of certificate tracks students can pursue:

Academic Credit Certificate

Certificate programs which award academic credits that may be applicable towards an undergraduate or graduate degree.

  • The curriculum must consist of a carefully defined set of courses, including an appropriate mechanism for practical application of theoretical knowledge such as an internship.

  • When appropriate, the certificate will be offered in conjunction with a professional organization and will adhere to guidelines and standards specified by such organizations.

  • A minimum of two-thirds of the required units must be graded on an A-F basis.

  • All course work used to satisfy the requirements of a certificate must be completed with a minimum grade point average of 2.0 for undergraduate and 3.0 for post-baccalaureate certificates.

  • The Faculty Coordinator or Student Services Professional Advisor will be responsible for the review process employed and recommendation as to the appropriateness of a student's academic background for admission to the program.

  • Undergraduate certificate programs: In order to be admitted to an undergraduate certificate program, a candidate must have completed 60 units of undergraduate courses with a 2.0 GPA with exceptions permitted upon presentation of special justification.

  • Graduate certificate programs: In order to be admitted to a graduate certificate program, a candidate must have attained post baccalaureate standing in accordance with standard admission requirements and procedures.

If the academic credit certificate is not self-supporting, the routing for approval of academic credit certificates is department approval associated with the certificate, Academic Programs, EPC, the Academic Senate, the provost and president. If the academic credit is self-supporting or partially self-supported, the School of Extended and International Education is included in the approval process.

View the current offering of academic credit certificates

Non-Academic Credit Certificate

With almost 7,000 students enrolled each year and a dedication to providing quality attention to students, the School of Extended and International Education at Sonoma State University is always looking for new instructors who have a passion for sharing their knowledge with others. The SEIE instructors are working professionals, noted specialists and experts in the fields they are teaching. To learn more about pursuing non-academic credits or professional development certificates, visit SEIE.

Process for Initiating New Courses and Programs

Individual faculty members, staff, departments, programs or schools of the University, or community members, may initiate proposals for new programs and courses. Self-support proposals will be submitted to the School of Extended and International Education Curriculum Committee, which will determine format and required information. Proposals that do not meet the criteria for creation will be returned to the originator for revision with suggestions from the SEIE Curriculum Committee. Once the Academic Senate has approved a proposal, substantial changes to the information in the original proposal must be submitted for further review. See the SEIE website for complete information about proposing a program or course.

The SEIE Curriculum Committee will review proposals of all courses and programs submitted to SEIE.

All proposals will be reviewed for appropriate content, quality and instructor qualifications. The purpose of the proposal review process is to:

  • assess duplication of existing courses/programs in the stateside offerings;

  • ensure curricular review and offerings in academic unit;

  • assess resources available to sustain program; and

  • assess merit and alignment to the academic mission of SSU.

Flow chart of SEIE curricular review process

Approval Routing

Academic Credit Certificates
SEIE Curriculum Committee, Academic Programs, EPC, the Academic Senate, the provost and president.

Non-academic Credit Certificates
SEIE Curriculum Committee, Academic Programs, to EPC as an information item.

Adult Education Courses
SEIE Curriculum Committee, Academic Programs, to EPC as an information item.