New Program Approval Procedures - Undergraduate Certificates


An undergraduate certificate provides a way to give formal recognition of focused study in a specialized area that is less comprehensive than required for an undergraduate major.

The following material describes the procedures for the review of proposed undergraduate certificates at Iowa State University. The procedures provide for both faculty and administrative input at all levels. This document describes both the approval process and the information that should be provided in a program proposal.

The proposal to establish a new undergraduate certificate is initiated by faculty members. The establishment of an undergraduate certificate requires approval by the department or sponsoring group, the appropriate college curriculum committee, the college faculty, the college dean, the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee, the Faculty Senate, and the Senior Vice President and Provost. The proposal does not need approval by the Board of Regents.

An undergraduate certificate has the following requirements and understandings:

  • a minimum of 20 credits, with at least 12 credits taken at ISU
  • at least 9 of the credits taken at Iowa State University must be in courses numbered 300 or above
  • at least 9 credits used for a certificate may not be used to meet any other department, college, or university requirement for the baccalaureate degree except to satisfy the total credit requirement for graduation and to meet credit requirements in courses numbered 300 or above
  • a student may not receive both an undergraduate major and a certificate of the same name
  • for students earning an ISU baccalaureate degree, a certificate is awarded concurrent with or after the ISU baccalaureate degree
  • a certificate is not awarded if the baccalaureate requirements are not finished
  • after receiving a baccalaureate degree from any accredited institution, a student may enroll at ISU to earn a certificate
  • courses taken for a certificate may not be taken on a pass-not pass basis
  • a cumulative grade point average of at least 2.00 is required in courses taken at ISU for a certificate
  • a notation of a completed certificate will be made on a student's transcript
  • an advisor for the certificate program needs to be available to students

Program Proposal

An outline of the necessary information is provided below. The completed proposal should be made available in an electronic form for review and approval.

Form (DOC, 25KB)

Review and Approval Process

  1. Departmental/Interdepartmental Review. The information concerning the program is presented to the departmental faculty and administrator or appropriate interdepartmental group. The appropriate administrator (generally the department chair) is responsible for consulting with the college dean concerning administrative support for the proposed program. The recommendation of the faculty and administration together with supporting materials are then transmitted to the appropriate college level committee and administrator.
  2. Academic College Review. Academic college level review is conducted by the college curriculum committees, college faculty, and the dean. The results of departmental and college reviews with supporting information are next presented with recommendations concerning the program to the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee.
  3. University Review. The university level review is conducted by the Faculty Senate Curriculum Committee. The FSCC passes its report to the Faculty Senate Academic Affairs Council for submission to the Faculty Senate. The results of their review with supporting information are then presented with recommendations concerning the program to the central administration, who will review the proposal for final approval.

January 10, 2006