UNIVERSITY CATALOG: 2020-2021

Certificate Policy (Graduate)

The primary responsibility of the University is to provide educational experiences leading to a baccalaureate, master’s or doctoral degree. It also provides education for professional licenses or credentials offered by off-campus authorities.

In addition, the University offers coursework which serves a more specialized purpose, but which is of significant value to individuals. To encourage the development of these programs, and to recognize the individuals who complete them, the University has approved the following policy governing the issuance of certificates. University and Advanced Professional Development certificates consist of formally constructed and approved areas of study designed to meet requirements for professional competence, expand access to specialized knowledge, and meet occupational needs for advanced interdisciplinary work. Certificates attest to the acquisition of specialized knowledge and skills in particular academic, professional or service areas.

Types of Certificates

The University authorizes the issuance of four types of certificates:

  1. The University Certificate (Credit)
  2. Professional Specialization Certificate (Credit)
  3. The Certificate in Advanced Professional Development (Non-credit)
  4. The Certificate of Participation

All certificates bearing the name of the University shall be one of these four types. Furthermore, no member of the University faculty, administration, or staff other than those who are authorized, as outlined in this document, shall issue a certificate bearing the University name; or the name of any of the University’s colleges, departments, units, or study centers; or the University seal; or the University logo. The Office of Graduate Studies awards all certificates with accredited courses.

The University Certificate

Students may earn a University Certificate in recognition of satisfactory completion of a planned sequence of courses at the graduate or 400-level upper division courses approved for graduate credit in accordance with the following:

  1. University Certificate programs shall be designed for post-baccalaureate students.
  2. The program shall consist of at least 15 graduate or 400-level upper division accredited units specified for the program.
  3. Any prerequisites for the courses in the program shall be clearly stated.
  4. No more than 25 percent of the units required for the program shall be transfer units. The program coordinator will evaluate all transfer units.
  5. Students may not earn more than 6 units in the program through internships or independent study.
  6. All credit courses in the program shall be graded in the traditional manner (e.g., A through F), except for those courses that are offered only on a Credit/No Credit basis.
  7. A University Certificate program shall not infringe upon existing degree or credential programs. A graduate degree program may have an embedded University Certificate(s).
  8. A student must complete the University Certificate program within 5 years after acceptance to the program or enrollment in courses credited to the program. Departments may make an exception to this rule if the student is pursuing a degree at Northridge in conjunction with the certificate program in question.

To read more about the creation, approval, and related business practices of sustaining University Certificate programs, please see the Graduate Studies Committee website.

Admission to University Certificate Programs

University policies and requirements for admission to graduate study as established for graduate degree programs also apply to students pursuing a University Certificate.

  1. New students applying for admission to University Certificate Programs must submit the Graduate Application for Admission to the University. Students must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and provide all transcripts from institutions attended.
  2. Continuing post-baccalaureate students must submit a request for a Change of Objective form to the Office of Graduate Studies.
  3. Only students who meet University and graduate department admission requirements for post-baccalaureate standing will be considered. This includes submission of acceptable TOEFL scores for international students.

University Certificate Program Requirements

  1. A University Certificate Program form must be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies at the end of the semester the certificate is completed.
  2. Traditional letter grades are required in all courses taken except as noted above.
  3. Course credit must be earned through regular or extended learning enrollment at California State University, Northridge.
  4. No more than 9 units of the certificate program may be transferred for the completion of any other degree/program.
  5. Units taken towards a graduate certificate may be applied to a graduate degree with prior permission of the graduate program.

Application and Eligibility for Certificates

  1. Candidates are eligible for the certificate when approved by the coordinator and upon completion of the program within a 5-year period with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (a “B” average) in the program coursework. Grades below a “C” and grades of “I”, or “RP/SP” are not permitted toward the certificate.
  2. A completed University Certificate Program form must be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies after all coursework has been completed. Following review, the form is returned to the certificate program coordinator for signature. The Office of Graduate Studies will update SOLAR so that the certificate appears on the student transcript.

Approval of New Certificate Programs

All new University Certificate programs are reviewed under the prevailing processes required for new degree programs. Review and approval by the Graduate Studies Committee is required.

Professional Specialization Certificate

Students may earn a Professional Specialization Certificate in recognition of satisfactory completion of a planned sequence of courses at the graduate or 400-level upper division courses approved for graduate credit in accordance with the following:

  1. Professional Specialization Certificate programs shall be designed for post-baccalaureate students.
  2. The program shall consist of a minimum of 6 units and a maximum of 14 units of graduate or 400-level upper division accredited units specified for the program.
  3. Any prerequisites for the courses in the program shall be clearly stated.
  4. No more than 25 percent of the units required for the program shall be transfer units. The program coordinator will evaluate all transfer units.
  5. Students may not earn more than 6 units in the program through internships or independent study.
  6. All credit courses in the program shall be graded in the traditional manner (e.g., A through F), except for those courses that are offered only on a Credit/No Credit basis.
  7. A Professional Specialization Certificate program shall not infringe upon existing degree or credential programs. A graduate degree program may have an embedded Professional Specialization Certificate(s).
  8. A student must complete the Professional Specialization Certificate program within 5 years after acceptance to the program or enrollment in courses credited to the program. Departments may make an exception to this rule if the student is pursuing a degree at Northridge in conjunction with the certificate program in question.

To read more about the creation, approval, and related business practices of sustaining Professional Specialization Certificate programs, please see the Graduate Studies Committee website.

Admission to Professional Specialization Certificate Programs

University policies and requirements for admission to graduate study as established for graduate degree programs also apply to students pursuing a professional specialization certificate.

  1. New students applying for admission to Professional Specialization Certificate Programs must submit the Graduate Application for Admission to the University. Students must hold a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited institution and provide all transcripts from institutions attended.
  2. Continuing post-baccalaureate students must submit a request for a Change of Objective form to the Office of Graduate Studies.
  3. Only students who meet University and graduate department admission requirements for post-baccalaureate standing will be considered. This includes submission of acceptable TOEFL scores for international students.

Professional Specialization Certificate Program Requirements

  1. A Professional Specialization Certificate Program form must be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies at the end of the semester the certificate is completed.
  2. Traditional letter grades are required in all courses taken except as noted above.
  3. Course credit must be earned through regular or extended learning enrollment at California State University, Northridge.
  4. No more than 9 units of the certificate program may be transferred for the completion of any other degree/program.
  5. Units taken towards a graduate certificate may be applied to a graduate degree with prior permission of the graduate program.

Application and Eligibility for Certificates

  1. Candidates are eligible for the certificate when approved by the coordinator and upon completion of the program within a 5-year period with a minimum grade point average of 3.0 (a “B” average) in the program coursework. Grades below a “C” and grades of “I”, or “RP/SP” are not permitted toward the certificate.
  2. A completed Professional Specialization Certificate Program form must be filed with the Office of Graduate Studies after all coursework has been completed. Following review, the form is returned to the certificate program coordinator for signature. The Graduate Studies office will update SOLAR so that the certificate appears on the student transcript.

Approval of New Certificate Programs

All new Professional Specialization certificate programs are reviewed under the prevailing processes required for new degree programs. Review and approval by the Graduate Studies Committee is required.

The Certificate In Advanced Professional Development

Students may earn The Tseng College of Extended Learning Program Certificate in Advanced Professional Development in recognition of satisfactory completion of a planned sequence of not-for-credit courses and workshops designed and approved in accordance with the following:

  1. The program shall consist of at least one hundred hours of instruction (or the equivalent) specified for the program.
  2. All requirements for the certificate program shall be clearly identified and announced.
  3. Courses in the program shall be graded in the traditional manner (e.g., A through F). Even though graded, these courses cannot be transferred to graduate and credential programs.
  4. A 2.5 minimum overall GPA is required in the certificate program for an Advanced Professional Development program. However, certificate programs may set higher standards.
  5. Criteria for assessment of satisfactory performance in the program must be stipulated at the time program approval is sought.
  6. A time limit not to exceed 5 years shall exist for completion of all certificate requirements. Programs may set shorter time limits for completion.
  7. Programs may be proposed by departments, colleges, institutes, centers, or by the dean of The Tseng College of Extended Learning. When programs contain a distinct departmental orientation, the dean of The Tseng College of Extended Learning will consult with the department and college concerned. All proposals shall be reviewed by The Tseng College of Extended Learning Committee prior to approval by the dean of The Tseng College of Extended Learning.
  8. The dean of The Tseng College of Extended Learning shall designate an appropriate individual as coordinator of an approved program.
  9. The Tseng College of Extended Learning will review all certificate programs every 5 years or earlier if necessary.
  10. All literature published and circulated in connection with the program shall have the prior approval of the dean of The Tseng College of Extended Learning. Descriptions of approved programs are not authorized for inclusion in the University Catalog, but may be announced in brochures or schedules prepared by The Tseng College of Extended Learning. With the approval of the provost and vice president of academic affairs and the graduate studies committee, website links to such programs may be inserted in the electronic University Catalog.
  11. The Tseng College of Extended Learning shall develop and circulate procedures for processing applications for certificates and arranging for issuance.

The Certificate of Participation

A Certificate of Participation may be awarded in recognition of any of a wide variety of educational experiences sponsored by some segment of the University. Such certificates are not meant to connote any specific level of competence and may not be designed or used for such purpose. The rules governing the issuance of such a certificate bearing the University’s name or the name of any of its colleges, departments, units, or study centers, are as follows:

  1. The certificate shall not bear the University seal.
  2. Certificates shall not be awarded for completion of regular University credit courses individually or in clusters.
  3. All wording on the certificate should be such that there is no implication of any kind that the University by issuing this kind of certificate is attesting to any level of skills gained or educational achievement.
  4. Requests to issue a Certificate of Participation shall be reviewed and approved by the head of the relevant sponsoring unit (dean for academic units and relevant vice president for other administrative units).
  5. Approved Certificates of Participation apply only to the specific experience or time period approved.