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Academic Program Planning & Review

UWM Certificate Program Planning Guidelines

Certificate programs serve as an interdisciplinary vehicle to develop a thematic approach to an area of studies not commonly found in the existing disciplines and degree majors. Certificate programs are modeled after academic minors, but rather than using course work within a single department they use courses across departments and disciplines. A certificate program is designed to create an interdisciplinary concentration in an area of study for which there is sufficient faculty interest and expertise across several departments as well as student interest.

A certificate program must have a minimum of 15 credits and cannot exceed a maximum of 24 credits; commonly programs are 18-24 credits in length. Proposals should include the information requested on the attached "Establishment or Substantial Modification of a Submajor or Certification Program" form. The following criteria will be utilized in program approval:

  1. What is the main area of study that will be the focus of this program? Is the proposed area of study consistent with the campus academic mission?

  2. Is the theme identified in 1 above supported by a sufficient number of faculty interested in teaching, advising students, and willing to serve in an advisory capacity for the proposed program? Certificate programs generally involve five or more faculty.

  3. Is enough course work presently offered to support the certificate program and is the course work scheduled in a timely manner for completion of the program?

  4. Commonly there are no additional costs for such programs as they utilize existing course work and faculty. If special costs are anticipated, please state reasons and give estimates. Please note that monies for program brochures and the like should be handled with existing resources.

  5. Identify a faculty oversight or coordinating committee structure that will have the responsibility for curricular and programmatic oversight of the program. Please describe how this group will be appointed and to what academic dean it will report.

  6. Create a mechanism that selects courses for the program, reviews the continued appropriateness of these courses and allows for new courses to be added to the curriculum. Remember that departments whose courses are selected for the program should be contacted to insure that enrollment pressures will not create access problems for majors in the department.

Program approval follows the process established in the UWM Academic Approval Matrix (1/96). Questions about program approval should be addressed to the appropriate Dean or the Division of Academic Affairs, office of the Associate Vice Chancellor prior to actual submission of a program for approval.


I.    EXACT DESCRIPTION OF REQUEST: If certification, specify DPI or WTCS involvement.


III.   RELATIONSHIP TO MISSION OF INSTITUTION: Brief description of how this program relates to the institutional mission.

IV.   LIST OF COURSES: Identify required and elective courses. Indicate new courses by an asterisk.

V.   COST IMPLICATIONS: Describe in appropriate detail the cost of faculty and staff, capital equipment, and supplies and expenses associated with the program. Identify sources for planned allocations and/or reallocations.

VI.   RATIONALE: Reasons for establishing a new submajor or certification program or for modifying an existing one.