Chapter 9: Academic Certificates

(Approved 27 October 2004)

9.1 Definition

An academic certificate is defined as a coherent sequence of courses that is sufficient to master a well-defined body of knowledge or technical expertise at a level beyond the baccalaureate.

9.2 Authority

The Academic Council shall exercise approval authority for academic certificates.

An academic certificate may be issued only by the Registrar and shall be recorded on the NPS transcript. Academic certificates are the only certificates to be recorded on the NPS transcript.

9.3 Criteria

(Amended June 11, 2014)

An academic certificate must include at least 12 credit hours of work, 9 of which must be at the graduate level, and all of which must be NPS courses.

Courses in an academic certificate may be applied to a degree at NPS; there is no bar on 'double counting' for degree purposes. Courses may not be double counted for multiple certificates.

To be admitted to an academic certificate program, prospective students must meet the master's admissions requirements for NPS outlined in section 4.2 of this manual and any prerequisites for the courses in the certificate program. An academic certificate program must be completed within 3 years of admission to the program.

To be awarded an academic certificate, a student must maintain:

  1. a 3.0 or higher GQPR;
  2. a 2.75 or higher CQPR.

9.4 Proposal Procedures

Proposals for new academic certificate programs must include a list of required courses and rationale for offering the certificate. Proposals must be submitted to the Academic Council six months in advance of the anticipated date of first student's completion of the new certificate program.

Proposals for new academic certificate programs shall describe how the program accords with recognized standards and best practices (for example, the "Good Practices for Electronically Offered Degree and Certificate Program" promulgated by the regional accreditation commissions). In particular,

  1. A proposed academic certificate shall describe the learning outcomes for the certificate, and the manner in which the outcomes constitute a coherent and self-contained body of knowledge.
  2. A proposal for an electronically offered academic certificate shall include an evaluation strategy for sustained, evidence-based and participatory inquiry to assess whether the program is achieving its objectives and for continual improvement. The strategy shall include provisions for:
    1. Documented assessment of student achievement by comparing student performance to intended learning outcomes,
    2. Measures to determine overall program effectiveness,
    3. Evaluation in the context of the regular evaluation of all academic programs.

Proposals for an academic certificate must be endorsed by the appropriate academic unit chairs and deans for appropriate content and for supportability, especially with respect to funds, space and facilities, and faculty availability.