KINGSTON, R.I. (WPRI) — The University of Rhode Island is considering a new undergraduate certificate program in cannabis studies. It would be a seven-week, online program that would begin in the fall of 2020, if approved.
The proposal for the program said there is a growing demand for trained professionals because of the rapidly expanding cannabis industry.
The plans were submitted to URI President David Dooley in April by the university’s Faculty Senate, which has authority over formulating curriculum and policies.
According to the documents, Dooley approved the new program on April 30th with notification of the university’s board of trustees. It’s not yet clear if there are addition steps needed before the program can begin.
The certificate for cannabis studies would fall under the College of Pharmacy in the biomedical and pharmaceutical sciences.
It consists of four, three-credit courses: Foundations of Cannabis Studies, Cannabis Product Development, Cannabis Chemistry and Pharmacognosy and Cannabis Therapeutics.
“At a rate of 22% annually, cannabis job growth is outpacing the healthcare and tech sectors and is anticipated to create over 500,000 jobs by 2022,” the proposal reads. “The overall goal of the program is to provide graduates with a depth of knowledge about the safe production and dissemination of cannabis-related information and products.”
The university has proposed the program as an undergraduate certificate as a way to encourage participation of those within the cannabis industry who may not already have a science degree.
The proposal details an anticipated enrollment rate of 10 to 30 students in the first year and expects it to grow to upwards of 90 students annually.
The plan sited a similar program at Northern Michigan University, which in two years saw enrollment grow to 230 students.
A letter by URI’s General Counsel, Peter Harrington and Louis Soccoccio, is included in the proposal.
The original plan said this certification program at URI would be the first of its kind in the nation, but Harrington and Soccoccio found that to be false, siting a prominent program at the University of Maryland.
This would be the first program of its kind in the state, according to URI.