Cypress College received final approval from the Board of Governors of the California Community Colleges to participate in the baccalaureate degree pilot program authorized by SB850 (2014). Here are answers to several questions prospective students may have about this unique program.

Q. When will classes begin?

A. Our initial cohort of 20 students in the bachelor degree completion program will begin in Fall (August) 2017 offering junior-level (300- and 400-level) courses in the Funeral Service major, as well as the upper-division general education courses. Interested applicants can begin applying in spring (February) 2017 using the Health Science Program Application.

Admission will be open to students who have previously completed an American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) accredited certificate or degree program and meet required prerequisites.

Q. What happens now?

A. Cypress College is in the process of finalizing the substantive change reports with our regional and program accrediting organizations. After site visits are conducted by the Accrediting Commission of Community and Junior Colleges (ACCJC) and the American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) and final approval is granted, this bachelor degree will be equal to any baccalaureate degree earned at a four-year university, like California State University or the University of California.

Q. Who is eligible to apply?

A. Returning Cypress College ASMS students applying to this program will begin as juniors in Fall 2017 and can complete the required coursework for their BSFS in as little as two semesters. Industry professionals licensed as funeral directors and embalmers, or certified funeral service practitioners, who are previous graduates of ABFSE-accredited programs are eligible to apply to the BSFS program starting February 2017. Current students in the Cypress College Mortuary Science associate degree program should meet with their Health Science Counselor to develop an educational plan that prepares them for admission after completion of the ASMS degree.

Q. Are there limits on how many students will be accepted?

A. The BSFS program will enroll 20 students each semester, fall (August) and spring (February) for upper division (300- and 400- level) classes starting Fall

Q. How much is this going to cost students?

A. Former ASMS students will complete at least 40 units of upper-division coursework at $130 per unit (CA resident fees—please see college catalog for non-resident fees). Students enrolled in lower-division coursework will pay $46 per unit.

Q. How is Cypress College  able to offer such a program?

A. The baccalaureate program will be offered through the Cypress College Mortuary Science Department, an instructional discipline of the Health Science Division that has its roots as a funeral service education institution dating back to 1918 when the Los Angeles College of Anatomy, Embalming, and Sanitation trained funeral practitioners. Students will be able to take classes while maintaining full-time employment in their respective funeral establishments. This primarily online degree completion program was designed with working professionals in mind and requires few visits to campus.

Q. Why did Cypress College choose this degree?

A. The Mortuary Science Program at Cypress College is well known for its comprehensive preparation of funeral directors and embalmers, cemeterians and cremation specialists. Since 1977, when the California College of Mortuary Science transitioned to Cypress, it has offered a fully accredited associate degree program. No other institution on the West Coast currently offers this four-year degree.

Q. Do I need an associate degree to apply?

A. Yes, you need an Associate Degree in Mortuary Science from an American Board of Funeral Service Education (ABFSE) accredited school. Currently, the two community colleges offering this degree is Cypress College and American River College.

Q. What is CSU and IGETC certification?

A. They are both lower division general education patterns. The CSU pattern is for California State Universities (CSU) and the IGETC is for Universities of California (UC) and CSUs. You must complete one of the patterns to be accepted into the program. You should confer with a counselor to determine your eligibility.