More and more philosophy departments are offering “certificate” programs. At the undergraduate level this typically involves taking around four courses. So a student could, for example, major in computer science and get a certificate in ethics, and the certificate would be listed alongside the major in the student’s records.My sense is that, at the undergraduate level, philosophy departments are often offering certificates as a way of being competitive with other units offering certificates.
Less demanding than a minor, certificates are an easier way for students to gain a credential in an area distinct from their major. If one thinks of courses as the cost of the credential, if a philosophy department only offered a major and a minor, they could be undercut by other units offering certificates, lose minors and enrollments, and as a result come off as less valuable.
Does your department have a certificate program? What is its focus? What was the reason for starting it? Has the implementation of certificates had an effect on the number of students minoring in philosophy? Has the implementation of certificates helped slow or reverse enrollment losses? Please share your experiences. Thanks.
(There was a post specifically about ethics certificates back in May but I thought a broader look at the certificate phenomenon would be worthwhile.)