New Non-Degree Programs

Columbia University offers two types of non-degree programs.

Some schools offer programs consisting of credit-bearing courses that do not require a sufficient number of credits to qualify for a certificate.  To recognize student participation in those programs, the University offers a Certification of Professional Achievement (CPA). This is not a state-sanctioned degree, and therefore, students in these programs are generally not eligible for federal financial aid.

A program leading to a CPA offers an organized, stand-alone curriculum of a minimum of four credit-bearing courses, totaling at least 12 credits, taken for a letter grade. Students may not receive a CPA for completing a major, minor, or concentration or for taking courses that count toward a degree or certificate.

The process to launch a new CPA is outlined below. Please consult with OVPAP ([email protected]) if there are any questions regarding the necessary approval steps, appropriate forms to complete, or access to APAS (Academic Program Approval System). Once a proposal has been submitted to APAS, schools can log in and check the status at any time:

School Approval

Schools should complete and upload the appropriate internal University proposal form to APAS. Forms can be downloaded <here>. The internal proposal is uploaded by the School Administrator. Once schools have completed their respective internal review processes, a representative for the COI/CC and a representative for the school dean must give their approval in APAS.

University Approvals

After completing internal Provostial reviews, including a decanal review of the proposal, the Vice Provost will forward it to the Education Committee of the University Senate. The Committee provides the final authorization for new Certifications of Professional Achievement. They do not need the approval of the full University Senate or the University Trustees.  They are not registered with the New York State Department of Education, nor is it necessary to send them to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education for review.

Please see the Executive/Non-Credit section of our website.