California Community Colleges Baccalaureate Degree Pilot Program
A degree in mortuary science is rare. In fact, there are only two public programs offering associate degrees in the field in the State of California. For those seeking to advance in the funeral services industry, a bachelor’s degree is even less common. In fact, Cypress College’s selection to offer a baccalaureate degree in funeral services presents a unique opportunity since there are no other colleges or universities offering this type of degree in the Western United States.
Cypress College — like all 113 California Community Colleges — offers associates degrees in a wide variety of fields. Currently, there are 71 degree programs approved as part of Cypress College’s curriculum.
However, Cypress is one of the 15 California Community Colleges approved to offer a baccalaureate degree as part of a statewide pilot program designed to offer upper division coursework in disciplines not currently covered in the instructional programs offered in the California State University and University of California systems. Cypress College’s program — officially a bachelor’s of science in funeral services — will begin instruction in Fall 2017. This new degree will offer upper division academic and vocational instruction to students, as well as bring expanded employment opportunities to Southern California.
The overarching goal of the program is to enhance, not supplant, the current Associate in Science degree program at Cypress College. In fact, the program and strong alumni base will provide a robust pool of candidates for the baccalaureate degree.
While the concept of a community college baccalaureate degree is likely new to many — state legislation approving the program was passed in 2014 — Professor Jolena Grande has been working towards this moment since 1995. For more than 20 years, she planned, gathered information, and lined up support waiting for the opportunity. Since the program was selected, she has worked tirelessly for a successful implementation.