Office of the President

Policy on Multi-University Programs

March 5, 1998



California State University, Chico endorses collaboration with other universities to develop and jointly deliver high quality, innovative courses, certificates, majors, minors, options and master's degree programs. The unique combination of resources which inter-institutional cooperation generates will promote new programs, educational opportunities, and methods of instruction. This is in keeping with and supports the University's strategic plan.

This policy is designed to identify procedures and standards for the development, approval, and implementation of these activities.


Criteria for Identifying Partner Universities

Any partner institution in the United States must be accredited by its regional accrediting association. For certain professional degree programs, accreditation by the disciplinary accrediting association also will be required.

Any partner institution outside the United States must be officially recognized to offer university, post-secondary, or higher-level education by the country's ministry of education or an appropriate national authority. Specific academic programs also must be officially recognized by the national authority.

Formal Institutional Commitments

Commitment to participate in multi-university programs must be authorized by an agreement signed by the chief academic officer of each of the partner institutions.


There are two basic patterns for multi-university programs. The first designates one university as the LEAD institution. The degree or certificate will bear the name of the LEAD university. The second pattern is for multiple universities to collaborate and jointly offer a program leading to a certificate, major, minor, option, or master's degree. In this case, a participating university whose name is directly associated with the program (i.e. , who issues the certificate, major, minor, option, or master's degree in its name) becomes a HOME university (see Attachment A).

Definitions of campus functions

  • Lead: When one university awards the certificate or master's degree, that university will be the LEAD university
  • Home: When several universities award the certificate or master's degree or jointly offer a major, minor, or option where the student is matriculated.
  • Host: The university at which a course in the program is given.
Approval Process

Multi-University Master's Degrees and Certificate Programs.

  • Master's degree or certificate program awarded by one university.
    • A master's degree or certificate can be awarded by one university (designated the LEAD university) with courses offered by more than one university (designated as HOST university[ies]). Proposals for master's degrees or certificates which designate CSU, Chico as the LEAD institution will follow existing CSU, Chico approval processes authorized by the CSU. When CSU, Chico is a HOST university, approval for participation will be granted by the department(s), dean(s), and the chief academic officer (or designee).
  • Master's degree or certificate program awarded by more than one university.
    • When a multi-university program leads to a master's degree or certificate awarded at two or more participating HOME universities, each institution awarding the master's degree or certificate is responsible for obtaining approval for the master's degree or certificate following local university policies.
    • Each university offering the multi-university program is designated as a HOME institution (i.e. , the administrative location where the student has matriculated). The HOME institution is where fees are paid, student services provided, and the degree or certificate is awarded.
    • When multi-university agreements for these types of programs are developed, specific plans for the implementation of such programs must be explicitly identified prior to the approval of the program. An implementation plan includes admission procedures, fee collection, advising, course scheduling, record maintenance, assignment of credit, transcript evaluation, program and course assessment, and any other matters necessary to the successful implementation of the program (see below IV-VI).

Multi-University Majors, Minors and Options

  • A major, minor, or option can be offered jointly by two or more universities. Each participating university will obtain approval to jointly offer the major, minor, or option following local university policy. Each university will specify which course(s) from each university will count toward the program. Each student will designate her/his HOME university from among those jointly offering the major or minor. The HOME university will award the bachelor's degree.

Preliminary Approval/Limited Time Approval/Experimental Approval for Multi-University Programs.

In situations where rapid approval is critical to offering a multi-university option, major, minor, certificate, or master's degree, the President (or designee) may, upon (1) approval by the relevant department(s) and college(s), (2) recommendation by the Executive Committee of the Academic Senate, and (3) careful consideration, approve that with the understanding that (1) those proposing the program will either complete the regular approval procedures or withdraw the program (recognizing that enrolled students must be given an opportunity to complete the program in a timely fashion) and (2) that once fast-track approval has been granted the proposal must be brought to the next level of faculty review (EPPC/Senate) by the next semester.


Definitions of Multi-University Courses

  • One instructor at a single campus with students enrolled at multiple institutions.
  • Two (or more) instructors from more than one institution teaching students enrolled at two (or more) institutions.

Articulation and Reciprocity of Multi-University Courses in Multi-University Programs

Full reciprocity for and recognition of courses offered by participating HOST institutions will be a governing principle of multi-university programs. In these cases, the LEAD or HOME university (depending on the type of program, i.e. , major, minor, certificate, etc. ) will accept grades and units from the HOST university offering the course. The HOST university will provide transcripts (at no charge to the student) for the courses it offers to the LEAD or HOME university in order to certify the completion of course requirements, including the Graduate Writing Assessment Requirement.

Approval of new HOST university courses for multi-university majors, minors, certificates, and degrees in which CSU, Chico is the LEAD, HOME, or HOST university must be approved following existing CSU, Chico procedures.

When multi-university agreements for these types of courses are developed, specific arrangements for the administration of such courses must be explicitly identified prior to the approval of the course.


LEAD University (When one university awards the degree or certificate)

  • The LEAD university will administer appropriate admission requirements. Graduation clearance (master's degree) and exit requirements (certificates) will be conducted by the LEAD university.
  • The LEAD university assumes the responsibility for quality control issues, including, when appropriate, accreditation.
  • The LEAD university assumes the responsibility for the implementation of student support services (see VI and Attachment B).
  • The LEAD university will have course approval co-responsibility with the HOST university(ies).
  • Periodic reviews of multi-university master's degrees or certificates will follow the procedures of the LEAD university.
  • Written agreements will be negotiated by the LEAD university with participating HOST universities to determine course scheduling.
  • The LEAD university will maintain a complete academic record for each student enrolled in the master's degree or certificate program. Where appropriate, transcripts will be provided by the HOST university(ies).

HOME University (When several universities award the degree or certificate or jointly offer a major, minor, or option) where the student is matriculated.

  • Admission requirements will be agreed upon by all universities jointly participating in the awarding of a degree or certificate or offering a major, minor, or option. The HOME university will apply these criteria to applicants and make the admission decision.
  • The HOME university will maintain a complete academic record for each student enrolled in the program.
  • The HOME university assumes the responsibility for the implementation of student support services (see VI and Attachment B).
  • Each HOME university will conduct periodic review of multi-university programs per local university policy.
  • Graduation and exit clearances will be conducted by the HOME university for master's degrees and certificates awarded by more than one university and for majors, minors, and options jointly offered. The HOME university awards the degree for these types of programs.

HOST University

  • The HOST university is responsible for providing the LEAD or HOME institution with transcripts for each student enrolled in the course(s) at no expense to the students.
  • The HOST institution is responsible for providing and verifying access to necessary resources for successful course completion.
  • Registration and payment of fees for courses offered through multi-university programs will be managed by the HOST campus of the course following existing procedures and policies (including concurrent enrollment options within the CSU and the waiving of non-resident tuition through institutional exchange agreements).
  • FTES generated by a course (including distance registrations) will be accumulated by the HOST, unless other arrangements are agreed upon in advance.
  • HOST university policy and procedures for faculty selection and course evaluation will be recognized by LEAD and HOME university(ies). Documentation of course evaluations will be provided to the LEAD and HOME university(ies) for purposes of program evaluation and assessment.
  • The HOST university is expected to schedule courses which meet both the needs of the HOST university and the multi-university program when courses are being offered for more than one audience.


Multi-university master's degrees, certificates, minors, majors, and options sometimes can be appropriately managed through non-state support. Prior to implementation of these programs, it is the responsibility of the program proposers to obtain written agreement from all of the related student support offices at the LEAD, HOME, and HOST universities to determine the appropriate means for delivering student support services and the financial remuneration for doing so. It is the responsibility of these programs to recognize that enrolled students must be given an opportunity to complete the program in a timely fashion.



Academic advising for degrees, certificates, majors, minors, and options will be the primary responsibility of LEAD and HOME university(ies). General academic advising will be provided by the HOME university when students are enrolled in programs jointly offered by two or more universities (see Attachment B).

Student Services

Student services provided by the HOME campus (e.g. , health services and insurance, counseling services, student computing support) will be administered in accordance with established policy.

Library Resources

Proposals for multi-university programs will include an implementation plan to ensure full and equal access to library and information resources for all enrolled students. The participating universities will take responsibility for development and implementation of this plan. The plan should include the specific provisions for students at both the HOME institution(s) and at HOST institution(s) (including remote learning sites). The plan will address the resource implications, the necessary agreements among partners and other relevant issues.

CSU, Chico Policy on Multi-University Programs

March 5, 1998

Attachment A and Attachment B










Single University

Lead and HostLead and HostNot ApplicableNot ApplicableNot Applicable

Multiple University

Home and Host(s)Home and Host(s)Home and Host(s)Home and Host(s)Home and Host(s)



Academic advising for multi-university programs will be a comprehensive process which begins with the brochure that advertises the program and ends with graduation/exit clearance. HOME and LEAD institution advising consists of evaluating students' previous academic records to determine courses completed and grades, applying them to the program at hand, orientation (non-traditional) of new students, and assisting students to make appropriate academic choices. Even if there are not choices, that is, if the program is narrowly defined, students should understand at the outset their responsibilities and the total scope of the program.

There are two underlying assumptions:

  • Students will enter the multi-university program knowing their responsibilities for participation in the program and the distinct difference in obligations among the HOST, HOME, and LEAD universities.
  • Faculty who teach in the program will be aware of their responsibilities to actively refer students to the HOME or LEAD university, as appropriate, for various student support services.

The following checklist serves to guide those faculty designing procedures and standards for multi-university programs:

  • Have the following pieces been developed together and are they consistent?
    • Catalog copy
    • Brochures (electronic and otherwise)
    • Complete degree or certificate plan
    • Transfer credit and degree audit evaluation format.
  • Have the records evaluators, general academic advisers, and department advisers been informed of the program and has their commentary been solicited?
  • Has the transfer preparation expected as academic background been analyzed in accordance with program admission criteria?
  • Has the orientation program/segment been designed (e.g. , access to an orientation program electronically)?
  • What will be the advising strategy? Mandatory advising each semester? Each year?
    • How will academic advising be delivered by the LEAD or HOME university?
    • What media will be utilized?
  • How will on-going, continuous degree evaluation be provided by the HOME institution?