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College Credentials Policy

Ref. No. Executive sponsor Policy steward Approval authority First approved Last reviewed Effective date Next review
13.01 Vice President, Academic and Equity Director, Academic Equity and Quality Board of Governors June 21, 2018 Apr. 21, 2023 June 1 2023 June 2028
  1. Purpose
    1. The purpose of this policy is to describe the level, duration, and credit load for each of the credentials awarded by Nova Scotia Community College (NSCC) through which learning is formally recognized.
    2. This policy supports understanding of the scope and application of knowledge and skills underlying each credential issued by the College.
    3. This policy is also intended to improve student mobility and continuous learning by facilitating the movement of students between credential types.
  1. Scope
    1. This policy applies to all NSCC programs and courses for which a credential is issued.
  1. Definitions
Term Definition
Microcredential A recognition of assessed skill or competency earned through a short duration or applied learning experience. Microcredentials can stand alone or connect to other credentials and align with sector, employer, profession, community, or learner need.
Tier 1 Credentials Tier 1 credentials represent core, credit programs approved by government and issued on NSCC parchment. Tier 1 credentials include graduate certificates, advanced diplomas, diplomas, certificates, college certificates, and certificates of individual accomplishment. Tier 1 credentials are processed and awarded through Assistant Registrars and include the President’s signature.
Tier 2 Credentials Tier 2 includes a mix of credit and non-credit credentials which are NSCC-approved and include formal evaluation of learning. This tier generally supports the development of continuing education and customized learning opportunities. Tier 2 credentials include documents of learning, documents of achievement, certificates of completion and certificates of professional studies, microcredential module badges and microcredential certificates. Tier 2 certificates are processed and awarded through Assistant Registrars and include the Vice President Academic and Equity signature. Tier 2 documents are processed and awarded through Assistant Registrars and require the Assistant Registrar’s signature. Microcredentials receive a digital badge.
Tier 3 Credentials Tier 3 represents learning events for which there is no evaluation of learning. Tier 3 credentials include Records of Participation. These are processed and awarded through Assistant Registrars and require the Assistant Registrar’s signature.
  1. Policy

4.1 Tier 1 Credentials

Credential Hours Credits Approval Signatory Admission Requirements
Certificate of Individual Accomplishment Varies based on program of entry Varies NSCC Board of Governors President and Vice President, Academic and Equity Varies based on student and credential.
Nova Scotia High School Diploma for Adults Varies based on students’ prior learning Varies based on students’ prior learning. Required completion of 12 ALP Level 4 courses as outlined by the Department of Labour Skills and Immigration Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration Minister of Labour, Skills and Immigration Set by the Department of Labour, Skills and Immigration
College Certificate 285 - 585 19-39 NSCC Board of Governors President and Vice President, Academic and Equity High school diploma or equivalent
Certificate 600 - 900 40-60 NSCC Board of Governors President and Vice President, Academic and Equity High school diploma or equivalent
Diploma - 2 yr. 1200 – 1950 80-130 NSCC Board of Governors President and Vice President, Academic and Equity High school diploma or equivalent
Diploma - 1 yr. 600- 900 40-60 NSCC Board of Governors President and Vice President, Academic and Equity College level certificate in the same occupational field
Advanced Diploma - 1 yr. 600- 1185 40-79 NSCC Board of Governors Vice President, Academic and Equity College level diploma or university degree in the same occupational area
Advanced Diploma - 2 yr. 1200 –2160 80-144 NSCC Board of Governors Vice President, Academic and Equity College level certificate in the same occupational area
Advanced Diploma - 3 yr. 1800 – 3240 120-216 NSCC Board of Governors Vice President, Academic and Equity High school diploma or equivalent
Graduate Certificate 360-1185 24-79 NSCC Board of Governors Vice President, Academic and Equity College level diploma or university degree

4.2 Tier 2 Credentials

Credential Hours Credits Approval Signatory Admission Requirements
Certificate of Professional Studies More than 1 course, less than 285 instructional hours. (Up to 1 semester full-time) Credit Vice President Academic and Equity Vice President, Academic and Equity and Assistant Registrar Typically a minimum of a High School Diploma or a GED. Based on program, industry, sector, employer or legislative requirements
Certificate of Completion More than 1 non-credit course, greater than 30 instructional hours Non-credit Vice President Academic and Equity Assistant Registrar May vary based on industry, employer or sector needs
Document of Achievement Greater than 15 hours Non-credit School Dean Assistant Registrar
Document of Learning Less than 15 hours Non-credit School Dean Assistant Registrar
Microcredential Module Badge One micro-credential learning module School Dean Assistant Registrar
Microcredential Certificate Two or more micro-credential
 module badges totaling between 15 and 270 instructional hours.
School Dean Assistant Registrar

4.3 Tier 3 Credentials

Credential Hours Credits Approval Signatory Admission Requirements
Record of Participation Participation in one non-credit learning event. student is required to attend at least 80% of the learning event Non-credit School Dean Assistant Registrar

4.4 Laddering and Stacking Credentials

Where equivalent, course credits from one credential may be used to meet the requirements of another credential. NSCC supports and encourages students to create the most meaningful learning pathway for them.

  1. Alternate Credentials
    Students who withdraw from their program before completing their full program may apply for an alternate credential (e.g., two-year diploma instead of a three-year advanced diploma, or a one-year certificate instead of a two-year diploma), assuming all requirements of the credential have been met.
  2. Multiple Credentials
    Students completing multiple credentials must earn all credits required for each credential. The amount of credit that the student can transfer will follow the College Program Progression Policy.

4.5 Laddering Multiple Credentials (vertical, horizontal and reverse laddering

Students can use laddering to achieve credits towards different credentials in several different ways including:

  1. Vertical Laddering
    Credits earned for one credential may be used to meet the requirements of a more advanced credential with the exception of Graduate-level credentials.
  2. Horizontal Laddering
    Credits earned for one credential may be used to meet some of the requirements of a second credential of the same type.
  3. Reverse Laddering
    Students may transfer credits from a more advanced credential into a less advanced credential.

4.6 Joint Credentials

NSCC may issue a joint credential that includes the name and logo of both NSCC and the partner organization. Joint credentials will be recommended by the Dean and approved by the Director, Academic Equity and Quality and the Vice President Academic and Equity.

4.7 Exceptions to Tier 1 Credentials

Any exceptions to the total program duration will be recommended by the Dean, and approved by the Director, Academic Equity and Quality and the Vice President Academic and Equity.

  1. Policy Supports

13.11 Parchment Policy
23.01 Program Progression Policy
24.11 Academic Performance Policy
Credentials Framework Summary
Credit Model

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