Certificates in Graduate Programs

Students wishing to pursue a certificate may do so as a part of a degree program, or may do so in a non-degree status. Those who are already admitted to a degree program or appropriate non-degree status may declare their interest in pursuing a certificate by filling out the online Declaration of Intent to Pursue a Graduate Certificate1 form. Students who have not yet been admitted can apply for admission online to either a degree program or, if the preference is to pursue the certificate only, they can apply online for the certificate through the Graduate School website1.

Students completing the requirements for a graduate certificate must submit the Graduate Plan of Study (paper) form and the Application for Graduate Certificate (online) form no later than the 20th day of the fall or spring semester or the 10th day of the eight-week summer term when certificate completion is anticipated.

Transfer hours and substitutions are usually not acceptable for certificate programs. Required certificate coursework previously completed at the undergraduate level must be substituted with an acceptable graduate-level course chosen in consultation with the advisor. The substituted course must be included on the plan of study with an explanation for why the substitution is being made. 

The graduate plan of study is prepared in conjunction with the advisor of the graduate certificate program area and is forwarded to the dean of the Graduate School for formal review and approval. Certificate advisors are expected to inform students that a plan of study, application for graduate certificate form, and $25 certificate filing fee are required according to the above guidelines. Students filing to earn their certificate who also file to earn their graduate degree the same semester need to file both the application for graduate certificate and the application for degree, and if they file both at the same time, need only pay one $25 filing fee. Students who file the forms separately pay the fee for each form.

If, after a student files an application for graduate certificate, the certificate is not completed, a new application for graduate certificate and filing fee must be filed within the time frame previously described for the semester in which the requirements for the certificate are again expected to be completed.

If a student later wishes to pursue a graduate degree program, coursework completed as a part of an earned graduate certificate can be used toward the degree program if approved by the department and Graduate School through the plan of study. The 10 year time limit will not apply to coursework from an earned graduate certificate.

A certificate within a degree program that was not applied for at the time the degree was earned can be awarded in a later term, upon student request and application. Certificates not offered when a student attended but now available can also be awarded based on past completion of coursework. All requirements for certificates, as listed in the term the certificate is awarded, must be met. Certificates cannot be awarded more than five years after the student’s degree containing the certificate coursework is conferred or after the semester in which the certificate requirements were met. No coursework on the certificate plan of study can exceed the 10 year time limit.

Certificate programs are not eligible for Title IV (federal financial aid) funding unless the certificate is a requirement of the degree program. The exceptions are approved programs of at least one academic year in duration that lead to a certificate and prepare students for gainful employment in a recognized occupation. Approved programs will be designated with disclosure information on the program web page in the applicable academic college.


Link opens new window.