Microcredential Policy

Approved by President/Provost
June 8, 2023

Policy Contact
Office of the Provost
(607) 436-2517

Policy Statement

SUNY Oneonta offers two types of microcredentials: Credit-bearing microcredentials and non-credit microcredentials.


Microcredentials are short, focused credentials designed to provide in-demand skills, know-how and experience. They allow individuals to gain relevant skills that are needed in today’s workforce. Those who successfully complete a SUNY Oneonta microcredential will be able to demonstrate specific skill competencies to employers and/or enhance their academic experiences.

Applicability of the Policy

Microcredentials may be earned by matriculated or non-matriculated students.

Policy Elaboration

Credit-bearing Microcredentials

  • The SUNY Oneonta credit-bearing microcredential is an approved set of credit-bearing courses at the undergraduate or graduate level through which students demonstrate established competencies. Credit-bearing microcredentials may include co-curricular experiences.
  • Credit-bearing microcredentials contain a minimum of 1 and a maximum of 15 credit hours of coursework.
  • At the undergraduate level, an overall GPA of 2.0 is required in all credit-bearing courses taken for the microcredential. At the graduate level, an overall GPA of 3.0 is required in all credit-bearing courses taken for the microcredential.
  • There is no limit to the number of credit-bearing microcredentials a student may earn.

Non-credit Microcredentials

  • The SUNY Oneonta non-credit microcredential is an approved set of competency-based learning experiences.
  • All non-credit microcredentials are approved via division-level governance review processes.
  • Individuals completing a non-credit microcredential will receive access to a digital badge and may receive notation on the co-curricular record.
  • There is no limit to the number of non-credit microcredentials an individual may earn.

Other types of credentials that are not covered by this policy include:

  • Participation Badges. Participation badges document that a student has participated in a workshop, training, or co-curricular activity external to a course. These badges are not covered by this policy, except that any digital badge awarded by academic units and/or Student Affairs solely for participation must clearly indicate that it only documents participation. Participation badges are not recorded on the academic transcript but may be recorded on the co-curricular record.
  • Digital Badges. As part of a course or campus program, students may earn digital badges to recognize an achievement earned. Digital badges could be earned through the campus digital learning environment as well as placed on an external digital portfolio.
  • External Credentials. Credentials designed and administered by external organizations or vendors (e.g., Lynda badges, Google Certification, and CISCO certification), may be of value to SUNY Oneonta students and may be made available or required as part of some programs on campus. These are not, in and of themselves, SUNY Oneonta credentials and, as such, are not covered by this policy. However, external credentials may be incorporated into course requirements or into a microcredential (e.g., while SUNY Oneonta does not award CITI credentials, a research methods course might require students to demonstrate CITI credentials, or a microcredential might require students to complete CITI credentials).

Acronyms and Definitions

Badge: Use of digital technologies to represent competencies and various learning achievements; electronic badges for credit-bearing microcredentials should include meta-data on the evidence of learning and link back to sponsoring institution and evaluation criteria.

Certificate: A credential issued by an institution in recognition of the completion of a curriculum other than one leading to a degree. A certificate usually represents a smaller domain of knowledge than established degrees. Credit-bearing certificates must be approved by SUNY and registered with the State Education Department. Certificates typically contain 24 or more undergraduate credits, but fewer credits than a degree program. All credits must be applicable toward a degree program at the issuing institution. Noncredit certificates need no external approval and must be identified as such.

Competency: Learnable, measurable and/or observable knowledge and skill sets gained.

Contact hour: One contact hour is equivalent to a 50-minute class session of scheduled instruction.

Credit: A unit of academic award applicable towards a degree offered by the institution. One credit hour is equated to 15 contact-hours of academic instruction.

Credit-bearing microcredential: A microcredential program that involves one or more credit-bearing courses, including programs that may combine credit-bearing and non-credit-bearing activities.

Curriculum or program: The formal educational requirements necessary to qualify for certificates or degrees. A curriculum or program includes general education or specialized study in-depth in a particular field, or both.

Degree: Title given by an institution (usually a college or university) that has been granted the authority by a state, a recognized Native American tribe, or the federal government to confer such credentials. A degree represents satisfactory accomplishments within an accepted body of knowledge.

Digital Badge: A credential that documents the attainment of one or more discrete, assessable skills. It may be offered as a component of one or more courses or through one or more non-credit experiential learning activities, or a combination thereof.

Stackable microcredential: One of a sequence of credentials that can be accumulated over time to build towards a certificate or degree program.

SUNY Microcredential: A credential that verifies, validates, and attests that specific skills and/or competencies have been achieved. Microcredentials are designed as meaningful and high-quality credit-bearing and/or non-credit-bearing activities. It is endorsed by the issuing institution and was developed through established faculty governance processes.


All credit-bearing microcredentials must be approved via a shared governance approval process. Students who complete credit-bearing microcredentials will receive a notation on their academic transcript as well as access to a digital badge. Relevant courses completed within the past 5 years may be used to satisfy microcredentials. To earn a SUNY Oneonta microcredential, 50% of the courses must be taken from SUNY Oneonta. There is no limit to the number of microcredentials a student may earn.

All non-credit microcredentials are approved via division-level governance review processes. Individuals completing a non-credit microcredential will receive access to a digital badge and may receive notation on the co-curricular record.

Guiding Principles

The SUNY principles should guide the proposal and review of microcredentials:

  • Academic quality is paramount and faculty governance participation is required.
  • Microcredentials are initiated locally, developed, and approved according to local campus policies and procedures, consistent with campus mission and strategic goals.
  • Microcredentials designed to meet market needs should be informed by current data from appropriate markets and align with relevant industry/sector standards.
  • Microcredentials can provide opportunities for industry/education connections and partnerships.
  • Microcredentials are inherently more flexible and innovative.
  • Microcredentials should be portable (have value beyond the institution).
  • Microcredentials should be stackable (multiple microcredentials lead to credit bearing coursework, a more advanced digital badge or a registered certificate or degree).

Requirements for Microcredentials

  • To earn a SUNY Oneonta microcredential, 50% of the requirements must be taken from SUNY Oneonta.
  • Pre-requisites for courses included in the microcredential must be met.
  • Transfer credits may be applied to the microcredential following existing campus policies.
  • Non-matriculated students will have to apply.
  • Microcredentials are awarded upon successful completion of the specific requirements for that credential.
  • Microcredentials should have clear, measurable outcomes, assessments aligned to the outcomes, and evidence of mastery of the outcomes through reliable and valid assessments.
  • Non-credit microcredentials may not be converted into academic credit.
  • Only credit-bearing microcredentials may be stacked for credit.
  • Microcredential proposers should consult with their chair, dean, and/or other appropriate administrators about resource and enrollment management issues necessary to support a new microcredential.


Curriculog will be used for the formal submission of programs.


Questions related to the daily operational interpretation of this policy should be directed to:

Provost Office

(607) 436-2517


Related Documents/Policies

Effective Dates

Approved by President: June 8, 2023

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