New Certificate Programs
A certificate is a formal program of study that leads to the award of a transcripted credential. Certificate programs may be for-credit or non-credit. All new certificate programs require internal UVA approvals. For-credit certificates also require review and approval by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV) and, depending on the nature of the certificate, may also require approval by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC).
Programs that are considering a new certificate offering are encouraged to consult with their school’s academic compliance contact and with the IRA contact listed below as early as possible for guidance on certificate requirements and timelines.
The following forms to initiate review of a new For- or Non-Credit certificate program include detailed instructions for each field. Please note: You will not be able to ‘save’ and ‘return’ to these forms at a later date, so we recommend that you preview and prepare the required information in advance:
New For-Credit Certificate Initiation form
New Non-Credit Certificate Initiation form
Guidelines for New Certificate Programs
Certificate programs are governed by PROV-030: Establishing Certificate Programs.
For-Credit Certificates: All instruction is offered on a for-credit basis, with a minimum of 12 and a maximum of 24 credits required (exceptions may be granted, in the case of curricular requirements established by a licensing board, state agency, or other oversight entity). For-credit certificates must have an admissions process and assessment plan, approved by the Office of Institutional Research and Analytics. There are three types (levels) of for-credit certificates at UVA:
Undergraduate: Curriculum is composed of undergraduate-level courses and is typically pursued by students who do not hold an undergraduate degree;
Post-Baccalaureate: Curriculum is composed of mostly graduate-level courses and is typically pursued by students who already hold an undergraduate degree;
Graduate: Curriculum is composed of graduate-level courses and is typically pursued by students who already hold an undergraduate degree.
Non-Credit Certificates: All instruction is offered on a non-credit basis. Non-credit certificates require internal UVA approvals only (SCHEV approval is not required). Upon submission of the New Non-Credit Certificate form (above), IRA staff review the proposed program and consult with the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs (VPAA) to confirm necessary institutional approvals. IRA staff then assist program lead(s) and the school’s academic compliance contact with necessary documentation and approvals.
Review and Approvals Process for New FOR-Credit Certificate Programs
For new for-credit certificates, IRA staff advise and coordinate with the program lead(s) and the school’s academic compliance contact to manage process requirements, including providing relevant samples to guide the work. New for-credit certificates require the following approvals:
School Curriculum Committee & Dean: Programs should consult with their school’s designated academic compliance contact for guidance and support on necessary documentation and procedures. If the proposed certificate may involve/impact faculty, students, courses and/or academic programs in other UVA school(s), the sponsoring dean should consult with the corresponding dean(s).
IRA staff review the request, assist the sponsoring program in preparing all necessary documentation, including an appropriate assessment plan for the proposed degree, and obtain initial Provost approval from the Vice Provost for Academic Affairs (VPAA)
Upon initial VPAA approval, staff initiate Impact Review (IR), in which a committee of stakeholders (e.g. appointed school representatives, Financial Services, Library, University Registrar) are invited to review the proposal and offer comments/questions regarding possible impacts on their units. To save time, sponsoring programs and schools are encouraged to consult with other schools and/or units that may be impacted ahead of IR, so that any issues/concerns may be proactively surfaced and addressed.
Faculty Senate: For-Credit certificates undergo two levels of faculty senate approval:
Academic Affairs Committee (AAC): The AAC typically meets every 2 weeks over the fall and spring terms. The AAC docket can fill up quickly, so programs are encouraged to secure the necessary school approvals in the semester preceding their target senate term, to allow adequate time for review.
Faculty Senate: The Senate typically meets monthly over the Fall and Spring terms. Upon AAC approval, the AAC Chair notifies the full Faculty Senate, and Senate members have one week to request a discussion and vote at the next Senate meeting. If no such request is received, the proposal is considered approved and the full Senate is notified of the approval at its next meeting.
Upon Faculty Senate approval, IRA staff coordinate formal Provost approval. Upon Provost approval, IRA staff advise the sponsoring program on SCHEV requirements and coordinate formal SCHEV submissions and approvals. If SACSCOC review is required, IRA staff will advise on SACSCOC requirements and coordinate formal SACSCOC submissions and approvals. Notice of Formal Approval: Upon formal SCHEV approval (and SACSCOC, if required), IRA staff will circulate notice of formal approval to the school dean and relevant institutional stakeholders, including the University Registrar, to add the new for-credit certificate to the Record and Student Information System.
Notice of Formal Approval: Upon Faculty Senate approval, the AAC Chair will notify the program representatives, VPAA and IRA staff. IRA staff will then circulate notice of formal approval and effective start term to the school dean and relevant institutional stakeholders, including the University Registrar.
Timeline for New Certificate Approvals
New certificates generally have an effective date in a fall or spring term. Institutional reviews (e.g., Faculty Senate) occur based on the bodies’ respective scheduled meetings during the academic year. The Faculty Senate dockets can fill up quickly, so programs are encouraged to secure the necessary school approvals in the semester preceding their target Senate term to allow time for Senate review.
Programs should allow a minimum of 90 days for SCHEV review.
Certificate marketing and admissions may not begin until approvals are complete and the program has been created in the Student Information System. SCHEV has three cycles in which it considers new For-Credit certificate proposals each year:
- Fall Cycle: Proposal due January 1
- Spring Cycle: Proposal due May 1
- Summer Cycle: Proposal due September 1