Guidelines for Stand-Alone Graduate Certificate Programs and Graduate Course Offerings
DEFINITION: By a stand-alone graduate certificate program we understand a sequence of semester-long courses leading to the awarding of a certificate of completion of a prescribed course of graduate study. This definition is intended to exclude graduate degree programs, post-baccalaureate, post-masters, and post-doctoral certificate programs linked to an external professional certification or licensure, and short continuing education courses.
GOVERNING PRINCIPLE: Stand-alone graduate certificate programs should be approved only if they are consistent with and will advance the mission of The College of New Jersey which is “primarily an undergraduate and residential college with targeted graduate programs”. In the view of CPP, stand-alone graduate certificate programs can be consistent with and can advance the mission of The College of New Jersey if and only if the following guidelines are adhered to:
1. Expansion of graduate offerings at TCNJ
- As our mission is to be a primarily undergraduate institution, graduate programs should be few and the bar for the creation of a new stand-alone graduate certificate program should be very high.
- The stand-alone graduate certificate and/or course offerings should not detract from the undergraduate offerings in that department or in support for those offerings.
- While the hope is that a stand-alone graduate certificate program and/or course offering will be revenue generating, this should never be the sole rationale for creating or maintaining that program. In no case should a [stand-alone] graduate certificate program or course offerings cause a loss in revenue or resources for existing programs.
2. The creation of graduate courses in Departments without a graduate degree program
- The stand-alone graduate certificate and/or course offerings should be combined or connected in some fashion with an existing TCNJ graduate program, especially if the offerings originate from a department that does not have its own graduate degree.
- If that is not possible, then the stand-alone graduate certificate and/or course offerings should be able to stand alone as an acceptable and recognized end goal for its targeted population.
- If neither of the above conditions exists, then the stand-alone graduate certificate should be clearly linked by an articulation agreement at an institution with a high-quality graduate program in that field. Ideally, this would only occur with programs that have outstanding national reputations, so as to encourage high-caliber students to begin their studies at TCNJ
3. The creation of non-degree, stand-alone graduate certificates not linked to an external professional certification or licensure, and whether a new approval process for such certificates would be needed
- Because our mission statement calls for "targeted" graduate programs, any stand-alone graduate certificate must have a specific rationale that aligns itself with the mission and strategic vision of TCNJ.
- Likewise, there must be well-defined population that has a clear need for the stand-alone graduate certificate. TCNJ should present itself as uniquely qualified to meet that need.
- All students applying into a stand-alone graduate certificate program should be of the same academic caliber as those entering into terminal graduate degree programs.
- All departments that have courses and/or faculty who would be involved in the implementation of a stand-alone graduate certificate program must sign off on it to ensure appropriate buy-in across campus.
- All stand-alone graduate certificate programs should go through the same approval process developed through the college governance process for full graduate programs.
Recommended by CAP March, 2010; approved by Provost November, 2010