Professional and Continuing Education Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What does it mean that the University of San Diego and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education are Changemakers?
  2. Is the university accredited?
  3. Are loan deferments, financial aid and student loans available for continuing education courses?
  4. Do I need to be a USD student to take a continuing education course?
  5. Do continuing education courses count towards a degree?
  6. What type of credit am I earning?
  7. What is "Open Campus?"
  8. Is online learning, classroom or independent study Course Format right for me?
  9. What are the technical requirements for online courses?
  10. What is Graduate Level Extension Credit?
  11. How do I request an Official Transcript?
  12. Where can I find my coursework instructions?
1. What does it mean that the University of San Diego and the Division of Professional and Continuing Education are Changemakers?

A Changemaker is an organization or individual that embraces innovation and problem-solving to address and resolve emerging societal changes. In a world economy with instant communication channels and an increasingly diverse employee and customer base, organizations are responding with changes needed to operate and grow. PCE provides the continuing professional education necessary to address these changes with skills and knowledge. As an educator, PCE is a Changemaker because we are educating and preparing people to be Changemakers themselves.

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2. Is the university accredited?

The University of San Diego is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

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3. Are loan deferments, financial aid and student loans available for continuing education courses?

Only courses or programs which qualify for financial aid are eligible to defer financial aid loans. The only program we currently offer which qualifies for financial aid is the Health Care Informatics Certificate Program. (rev. 10/31/2011)

Students cannot receive financial aid or student loans for any of our programs or courses, other than the Health Care Informatics Certificate Program.

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4. Do I need to be a USD student to take a continuing education course?

No, all professional and continuing education courses are open enrollment. An application to USD is not required. You can search for the course you want on the Find a Course page and click through to the course description to enroll.

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5. Do Continuing Education courses count towards a degree?

Most of our courses do not count toward a degree.  While credit earned for our courses may be accepted by some universities as applicable towards a degree it is ultimately the decision of the institution you plan to transfer the credit to.  It is highly recommended and the responsibility of the student to confirm the transferability with the other institution

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6. What type of credit am I earning?

The credit earned is considered Graduate Level Extension credit, in semester hours. The credit earned is usually good towards salary advancement, credential renewing and/or recertification and is not usually good towards a degree. Prior district approval is highly recommended and the responsibility of the student if using the units towards salary advancement, credential renewing and/or recertification.

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7. What is "Open Campus"?

USD's Open Campus initiative provides an administrative mechanism through which members of the broader San Diego community might enroll in and attend USD campus courses on a space-available basis after receiving the signed permission of the course instructor and a department, school or college administrator.

The application process for Open Campus does not require University admission. Open Campus offers course enrollment on a space-available basis only. Please note that Open Campus students are not guaranteed access to courses. Instructors must provide permission before Open Campus students may attend a course. Participation in Open Campus does not grant admission to degree programs at the University of San Diego. For information about joining degree programs please contact Admissions.

For more information regarding Open Campus please go to www.sandiego.edu/opencampus.

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8. Is online learning, classroom or independent study Instructional Method right for me?

Online Fixed-Date courses offer a convenient yet rigorous style of learning that allows you to structure your education to suit your schedule while keeping you on pace toward achieving your educational goals. Online fixed-date courses have fixed start and finish dates similar to classroom courses, but as an online student, you will have access to your classroom at any time and can view your assignments, syllabus, and course resources from any computer with Internet capability.

Our online courses offer the same high-quality content and expert instruction as the courses held on-ground at the University of San Diego. Instructors facilitate courses through engaging multimedia presentations and provide prompt feedback to questions within a 24-48 hour time frame. Online learning allows students to interact with classmates worldwide and replicate in-classroom interactions through weekly discussion forums, chats and email communication.

Online Self-Paced courses are a perfect blend of accessibility, convenience and flexibility for you to control your learning pace. You will use course textbooks, manuals, assignments and exams to learn and earn credit. Depending on the course, you may also use streaming audio and video, CD-ROM, and download embedded materials through the Internet. Communication with your instructor will take place through your course site online. Your instructor will provide feedback via written responses on your assignments and exams. Grades are based on completed projects, assignments and exams. You can register at any time and you will have six months from the time of registration to complete your course.

Classroom courses are offered in a traditional classroom where you can connect with your instructor and classmates in a live setting. This learning environment facilitates a communication on a given subject in real time, enables immediate feedback, and fosters interaction with the instructor and likeminded classmates. To see if a course is being offered in a location near you please click on the Find a Course on the website's top navigation bar: then Filter by SUBJECT AREA/PROGRAM and LOCATION. Classroom courses have a scheduled start and end date in which you are expected to attend the courses at that location for all course sessions.

Independent Study Self-Paced courses offer flexibility and the ability to complete a course faster than a traditional live course. Our courses deliver the same high-quality content and expert instruction as traditional, "face-to-face courses." These courses work well for:

  • Working professionals with tight schedules
  • Students who require a specific course to meet professional development or recertification requirements
  • Students living in remote locations
  • Students who cannot easily attend courses due to injury or illness
  • Students who are self-motivated and conscientious

You can register at any time and you will have nine months from the time of registration to complete your course. Completed course work is submitted electronically through your student account.

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9. What are the technical requirements for online courses?

  • Please visit the following page for technical requirements information.
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10. What is Graduate Level Extension Credit?

Courses in the 500-599 and 700-799 series are professional, graduate level (post-baccalaureate) extension credit courses in the field of education. Courses are specifically designed to meet the needs of beginning, veteran and prospective teachers (K-12) in both public and private school systems. Areas of emphasis include pedagogy, curriculum design, teaching methods and development of materials. Course credit fulfills requirements for professional growth, in-service and salary-step hurdle requirements, and may be applied toward an academic degree or teacher credentialing program subject to the prior approval of the institution in question. Course credit is recorded on an official university transcript and becomes part of the student's permanent record at USD.

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11. How do I request an Official Transcript?

Transcripts are $15 each ($25 for International Business Transcripts). For more detailed information, please check out Student Transcript Request page.

You may also print out the Transcript Request page on our website, fill in the information, and mail to the following address. (Transcripts are mailed within 3 business days of receipt of the request.):

Attn: Transcripts
University of San Diego Professional and Continuing Education
5998 Alcala Park, Founders Hall, San Diego, CA 92110

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12. Where can I find my coursework instructions?

  • Independent Study
    Upon enrollment, login to your account, go to Student Home, and under My Current Courses, please select "View" next to the course number to see the coursework instructions.
  • Online Fixed-Date and Online Self-Paced (OFD and OSP)
    Upon enrollment, login to your account, go to Student Home, and under My Current Courses, please select "View" next to the course number to see your Welcome Letter which includes directions on how to access the Online Orientation and your online course.

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