Viridis Graduate Institute

Ecopsychology and Environmental Humanities

Competency-based Education

Academic Requirements VGI’s Academic Curriculum Committee has identified the required competencies for the master’s degree offered. Competencies summarize the critical knowledge and skill levels essential for mastery of a particular field.

Competency Units 

Master of Arts in Social Science with Emphasis in Ecopsychology and Environmental Humanities

Total CU’s for degree: 60

Doctorate of Arts with Emphasis in Ecopsychology and Environmental Humanities

Total CU’s for degree: 63

Competency-based Education

A unit of competency is the specification of knowledge and skill, and the application of that knowledge and skill, to the standard of performance expected in the workplace. A unit of competency is the smallest unit that can be assessed and recognized.

Credit Hour Defined

Viridis Graduate Institute quarter hours (Competency Units) shall be equivalent to the commonly accepted and traditionally defined units of academic measurement in accredited institutions.

Academic degree or academic credit-bearing distance learning courses are measured by the learning outcomes normally achieved through 45 hours of student work for one semester credit1 or 30 hours of student work for one quarter credit2. This formula is typically referred to as a Carnegie unit and is used by the American Council on Education in its Credit Recommendation Evaluative Criteria.

1One credit/semester hour is 15 hours of academic engagement and 30 hours of preparation.

2One quarter hour credit is 10 hours of academic engagement and 20 hours of preparation.

VGI offers a competency-based program for completing its degree and certificate requirements.

VGI’s competency-based programs allow students to demonstrate through assessments that they have acquired the set of competencies (levels of knowledge, skill, or ability) required for a particular degree or certificate. Students have often acquired many of the skills necessary for a degree through their life or previous work experience.

VGI’s competency-based system enables students to employ such previously learned skills in proving their competency. Students demonstrate mastery of competencies by exhibiting their understanding, skill and knowledge through the completion of application-based projects, written papers, creative projects, and completing assessments. An assessment may come in many different forms, including:

  • Assignments involving problem-solving skills, critical thinking, creative and imaginative thinking, reasoning, novelty, communication and presentation skills.
  • Projects requiring the student to design based on ecopsychological principles and applications;
  • Reflection essays, individual journaling; and
  • Research papers on particular topics.

Each assessment measures knowledge and skill in a given area through an appropriate means, allowing students to prove their competency in that content area. Assessments are developed using a rigorous process that conforms to federal guidelines and professional testing standards. This process yields high-quality exams, reliable scores, and supports valid conclusions about each student’s level of competence. Students can be confident that all their assessments, whether computerized exams or performance tasks, align to and demonstrate specific competencies in their individual degree program.

Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) Satisfactory Academic Progress (SAP) is a measure of student progress toward the completion of the MASSES degree program.  SAP is a quantitative measure based on the number of competency units (credit equivalency) a student completes during the quarter. There are 3 courses per quarter = 3 competency units per course for a total of 9 competency units required to complete each quarter. Students receive a mark of Pass or Not Passed on their permanent academic record for any courses taken for the quarter. A grade of Pass indicates that the student has demonstrated competency at a grade equivalent of “B” or better. Grades of Not Passed are counted as units that are failed and are counted against satisfactory academic progress.

Maintaining Satisfactory Academic Progress SAP is evaluated at the end of every quarter and at the time of a withdrawal from VGI. To maintain good standing for SAP, students must achieve an overall minimum cumulative pass rate of 90% for all competency units for which they enrolled. A change in program will not affect a student’s SAP standing.  Students who are requesting re-entry into the institute will return with the SAP status calculated at the time of withdrawal if they enroll within 1 year. Students who fail to maintain SAP are placed on warning and may be terminated from the program.

Program Goals

Our Unique Approach