Policy Details

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  • University Academic Senate / Provost

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Provost Office


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Graduate Certificate Policies

SG 2.03

  1. Policy
  2. Procedures
  3. Definitions
  4. History


H.  A graduate certificate program:

a.  shall consist of at least nine (9) graduate-level credits; credits earned in required undergraduate courses do not apply to this minimum. 

b.  shall be approved through the specified University curriculum process.

c.  may require the completion of undergraduate prerequisite or cognate courses.

d.  shall be consistent with the expectations for graduate-level education as stated in the Higher Learning Commission Criteria for Accreditation Handbook:

Graduate-level  learning activities are more focused in content and purpose and more intellectually demanding than undergraduate education; faculty and students engage in scholarship involving research and practice as appropriate to the discipline or field; and learning activi­ties involve frequent interactions among faculty and graduate students.



1.  Admission:

a.  Normally, admission to a graduate certificate program is a baccalaureate or higher degree earned at a US regionally-accredited institution or its international equivalent.

b.  The Dean of Graduate Studies may waive this requirement in highly exceptional circumstances at the recommendation of the Graduate Certificate Director.

c.  University undergraduate students taking graduate courses through the dual-credit process may be admitted to a graduate certificate program.  However, an undergraduate student may NOT be awarded a graduate certificate until they have been awarded a baccalaureate degree. 

d.  A graduate certificate program may specify additional admissions requirements.

2,  Application for admission:

a.  A student who is not enrolled in a graduate degree program must apply for admission to a graduate certificate program prior to completing fifty (50) percent of the required credits for the graduate certificate.  This requirement applies to an undergraduate student pursuing a graduate certificate through the dual -credit process.

b.  Graduate students who are currently enrolled in a graduate program of study leading to a degree, and who wish to simultaneously pursue a graduate certificate must inform the certificate program director and the Dean of Graduate Studies of their intent to seek the graduate certificate.

3.  A  graduate certificate may be awarded to a student:

a.  who has been admitted to either the specific graduate certificate program or a graduate degree program at the University, and

b.  who has earned a minimum of a 3.0 (B) grade point average in University courses required for the certificate, and     

c.  who has successfully completed the required courses, including any required undergraduate prerequisite or cognate courses for the certificate and no required graduate course is more than eight (8) years old at the time the certificate is awarded, and

d.  who is in good standing with the University.

4.  Applying certificate course work to additional graduate certificates and graduate degrees:

a.  A graduate course used to meet the requirements of a graduate certificate may be utilized to meet the requirements of a second or subsequent graduate certificate only with the approval of the Dean of Graduate Studies.

b.  The use of a graduate-level course to meet the requirements of a graduate certificate degree program does not preclude its use toward the requirements of a graduate degree. 

5.  Course substitutions:

a.  In general, the Graduate Academic Policy on the Approval of Course Waivers, Course Substitutions, and Individual Program Plans is applicable to graduate certificate programs.

b.  At the discretion of the Graduate Certificate Director, a relevant graduate course may be substituted for a required dual-listed course that a student has completed for undergraduate credit with a grade of ‘B’ or higher. 

c.  Generally, no more than one dual-listed course taken for undergraduate credit may apply toward the requirements of the certificate.  However, upon the recommendation of the Graduate Certificate Director, the Dean of Graduate Studies may approve the application of a second required dual-listed course taken for undergraduate credit toward the requirements of the certificate.

6.  Transfer credit:

The transfer of credit to a graduate certificate program is limited to no more than one-third of the required credits for the certificate and subject to the applicable provisions of the Graduate Academic Policy on the Transfer of Credit to a Graduate Program.

7.  Administration:

Each graduate certificate program shall have a designated graduate certificate director as defined in "Definitions".


A graduate certificate  is a credential awarded by the University for completion of a defined and focused collection of courses that meet a clear and appropriate educational objective at the graduate level.  A graduate certificate is NOT a degree offering of the University.

graduate certificate director  is the individual designated to administer the graduate certificate program. The role, responsibilities and authority of a graduate certificate director are similar to those of a graduate program director with respect to a graduate degree program. 


Retitled from FH 2.04 H to SG 2.03 on January 7, 2019