Skip to main content

Process & Milestones


Accreditation is about meaningful, inquiry-based self-assessment that conveys our unique story and describes plans for the future based on the institution’s mission and strategic goals.

As part of the accreditation activities, Sonoma State University completes a self-study process, where we capture our ongoing commitment to the continuous improvement of our programs—both curricular and co-curricular.

Accreditation of Degree Programs

An institution must seek prior approval before implementing any degree programs at a degree level for which it does not have General or Specified (in a particular field or discipline) degree-granting approval.

Changing the Curriculum or Requirements of a Program: WSCUC may require substantive change approval when proposed alterations would result in a significantly different program. This is typically triggered by changes of 25 percent or more in the curriculum.

Accreditation of Non-Degree Programs

As of July 1, 2016, institutions are required to report and/or submit for review all new non-degree programs. For this purpose, a non-degree program consists of the following:

  • Is a series of courses
  • Carries academic credit from the offering institution
  • Results in a credential of some kind (certificate, diploma, credential, etc.)
  • Results in a credential that is independent and not awarded as a result of completing an approved degree program.

The distinction between new non-degree programs that require review and those that only need to be reported upon implementation is whether or not the program is a significant departure for the institution.

Significant Departure from Approved Programs

Examples of significant departures include: an offering in a curricular area in which the institution has no current approved programs (such as a new accounting certificate offered by an institution with no Business programs) or offering an online program at an institution with no or very few approved online programs or vice versa.

A program that is not a significant departure from an institution’s current approved curricular offerings or approved modality must be reported when implemented but does not require a review.

Contact the Academic Programs office for help with determining if your revision or proposal requires WASC approval.

For substantive changes, please review the WASC Substantive Change Manual