Credential As You Go Co-Leads Nan Travers and Holly Zanville on EdUp Experience Podcast

Participant Profile


Colorado State University, Fort Collins



Public University


Fort Collins, Colorado



Implementation stage & efforts to date

Full implementation stage

  • CSU currently offers 27 undergraduate certificates from 4 Colleges
    • Undergraduate certificates consist of 9 –15 credits, of which 9 credits must be at the upper-division level (300 – 500 level)
    • Students must apply for and complete the certificate requirements while enrolled in their baccalaureate degree
    • Undergraduate certificates by title are noted on the student’s transcript at the time of degree conferral
    • The certificate title is not noted on the diploma
    • The Nancy Richardson Design Center (RDC) offers the 9-credit undergraduate certificate in Design Thinking
    • Since implementation in 2019, residential students from over 60 different majors and concentration and all eight colleges have enrolled in certificate courses

Goals for participation

  • Assess the current definition and requirements for a certificate at CSU with an eye to making these credentials accessible to non-degree-seeking students (e.g., reducing the number of prerequisites and upper-division credits required)
  • Expand access to design thinking certificates
    • Develop a fully online version of the Certificate in Design Thinking aimed toward improving access, including for dual enrollment high school students and non-degree seeking adult learners
    • Collect qualitative and quantitative data comparing student experiences in the face-to-face and online certificate courses and programs
  • Examine policies and systems to identify opportunities and barriers certificate enrollment, including retroactive credentialing
  • Implement an Associates in General Studies (AGS) degree, which will retroactively be applied to eligible former students who did not complete their bachelor’s degree and who opt in
  • Examine benefits of micro-credentials for non-degree-seeking students as well as for current students to enhance their career readiness and post-graduate success

Associated Case Studies

Certificate in Design Thinking - Online

Certificate in Design Thinking- Standalone Certificate

Improving Education and Employment Outcomes