Microcredentials at CU Denver

The Basics

What is a Microcredential Program here at CU Denver?

No universally accepted definition of "microcredential" currently exists. Working with the faculty and staff at CU Denver, we have proposed a definition to meet our unique needs and the needs of our learners. You can find the full report on the working group page here: Microcredential Working Group.

A Microcredential is an umbrella term for several types of small-scale, skill-based, earned recognitions of proficiency in a designated competency or set of competencies. Types of microcredentials include digital badges, certificates, licenses, endorsements, and assessed PDUs/CEUs. Programs that award microcredentials should have these three characteristics:

  1. The skill, competency, or knowledge must be corroborated through some form of assessment;
  2. It is of smaller scale, focused on a subset of skills or competencies;
  3. It focuses on skills or competencies that can be directly linked to career growth, career change, or professional development.

As long as the program meets these three criteria, it could be considered a microcredential program. These programs can be developed as for-credit or not-for-credit. For-credit microcredential programs can only be created by academic units. Not-for-credit programs can be created by academic OR administrative units.

Articulated not-for-credit programs refer to a characteristic of certain not-for-credit programs that allows it to easily qualify for credit, typically to be applied to a degree program. More guidance for designing these kinds of programs is being developed and will be available later this term.

Whenever possible, programs should not be dead ends, but rather lead to other programs. Programs that are stackable, that can provide added value to our learners as they progress along a degree pathway or that can stand alone and potentially serve as an on-ramp into our programs, are of priority to develop.

The figure below illustrates the nested nature of the different credential-awarding programs at CU Denver. Microcredential-awarding programs are nested within the larger group of credential-awarding programs. Likewise, programs that award skill badges are nested within both groups. To learn more about digital badges at CU Denver, visit our page on Digital Badges.

Three nested ovals: the largest is 'credential programs', then 'microcredential programs', then 'badge-earning programs' with definitions for each.

Microcredential Development + TIPS

TIPS is here to partner with members of our CU Denver community as microcredential programs expand our academic offerings and provide new opportunities for our learners to engage with our institution. The staff here at TIPS can:

  1. Provide market intelligence to identify the skills of highest demand so our microcredential programs can be competitive and grow.
  2. Consult on stackable designs
  3. Partner with faculty in the program and course development process

For those with ideas for new microcredential programs, please reach out to Jeremy Lingle, Director of Microcredentials (Jeremy.lingle@ucdenver.edu)

Microcredential Infrastructure Development Timeline

Phase 0: Understanding Current StatePhase 1:Planning and InfrastructurePhase 2: LaunchPhase 3: Scale


  • Conduct review of current microcredential definitions and activities nationally to understand universe of potential approaches
  • Conduct market review to understand competitor’s activities in this area
  • Determine current state of microcredentials at CU Denver
  • Determine current relevant policies and infrastructure
  • Identify and begin planning for Phase 1 with university stakeholders
  • Conduct campus conversations on definition work and identify areas of need


  • Establish representative working groups to guide infrastructural need and identification
  • Determine strategic goals for microcredentials
  • Collaboratively define microcredential taxonomies that are aligned with current context
  • Identify metrics of success
  • Adjust and approve policies to account for new definitions
  • Approve and establish procedures to support microcredentials
  • Develop/augment infrastructure to support microcredentials
  • Identify existing programs and develop new programs for soft launch
  • Establish advisory group

Activities (TBD)

  • Launch microcredential initiatives, testing new procedures
  • Market microcredentials
  • Report on metrics of success and adjust as needed

Activities (TBD)

  • Expand the portfolio of microcredential offerings
  • Increase the enrollment of learners in existing microcredentials per capacity of the institution
  • Report on metrics of success and adjust as needed
Timeline Summer-Fall 2022Timeline Fall 2022-Spring 2023Timeline Spring 2023-Spring 2024Timeline Spring 2024 ongoing



Microcredential Working Group and Report

Badging Working Group and Report

Market Intelligence at CU Denver

Microcredentials Program Development Field Guide [COMING SOON]

Join the Community of Practice at CU Denver [COMING SOON]

Division for Teaching Innovation and Program Strategy (TIPS)

CU Denver

City Heights/Learning Commons

1191 Larimer St

3rd Floor Learning Commons

Denver, CO 80204

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