Students enrolled at the University of Rhode Island may soon have the opportunity to participate in a new undergraduate certificate program in cannabis studies.

Under a proposal submitted last month by the university’s faculty senate office to the school’s president, David Dooley, the seven-week accelerated online program would consist of four three-credit courses, including a foundational course to “introduce the fundamentals needed to take the remaining courses in any order” and three remaining courses to “develop core competencies in natural product separation and analysis, safe product development and manufacturing, and the evaluation of the therapeutic potential of cannabis.” 

“Throughout the certificate program, the students will be working on a pinnacle assignment synthesizing the concepts in each course together and culminating with a real-world experience of researching and designing, in concept, a cannabis product,” the proposal reads.

Higher Education In The Age of Legalization

The program would reportedly be the first of its kind in Rhode Island. In the proposal, faculty members alluded to a similar endeavor at Northern Michigan University, which two years ago launched a bachelor’s degree program in medicinal plant chemistry focusing on cannabis chemistry. In those two years, according to the proposal, enrollment in Northern Michigan’s program has swelled to 230 students. 

As the cannabis industry continues to evolve, more colleges and universities may have to consider how to provide students with training and skills to pursue jobs in that field. Last year, the University of Maryland announced a two-year master’s program in cannabis studies, which was billed as the first of its kind. And in February, Colorado State University in Pueblo, Colorado announced the creation of its own cannabis chemistry bachelor’s degree program. 

The proposal for the University of Rhode Island program said that potential students may include “those currently in the cannabis industry who lack the specialized skills necessary to comply with current and evolving regulations and those that are looking to competitively enter the industry.”

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