UW Graduate School

Memo 43: Graduate Certificates

A graduate certificate program is a linked series of credit bearing graduate courses that constitutes a coherent body of study and culminates in a capstone or equivalent unifying experience. Requirements for the certificate must include a minimum of 15 credits, nine of which must be earned in courses numbered 500 and above. Graduate certificates are intended to enhance the education of matriculated graduate or professional students beyond their regular course of study, or to provide continuing education to graduate non-matriculated (GNM) students. As such, they are not open to undergraduates or other categories of students.

Completed graduate certificates are recorded on the student’s UW transcript. Note, however, that matriculated graduate and graduate non-matriculated (GNM) students may also pursue approved UW certificates that are not recorded on the UW transcript, for example certificates offered by UW Educational Outreach. These non-transcripted certificates are distinct from graduate certificates and are not under purview of the Graduate School.

Review and Approval of Graduate Certificate Programs

The review of graduate certificate program proposals is similar to that of new graduate program proposals and is coordinated by the Office of Academic Programs (OAP) in the Graduate School. This process includes review by OAP and by the Graduate School Council. The approval of proposed graduate certificates resides with the Board of Regents. For details, see the Graduate School’s certificate guidelines page. In a proposal for a new graduate certificate, program faculty must clearly define and describe the program’s governance, budget, curriculum, admission standards, admission process, and minimum completion standards.

Graduate certificate programs for matriculated graduate students cannot be simply a subset of courses required for their degree. The overlap of coursework applied towards both programs must not exceed 6 credits and is limited to elective coursework in each program.

Similar to new graduate degree programs, new graduate certificate programs are initially authorized by the Board of Regents with provisional status. Such programs are to be reviewed at least every five years until they are granted continuing status. Continuing programs are reviewed at least every ten years.

Student Admission, Student Completion, and Program Leadership

The unit offering the graduate certificate must notify the Graduate School:

  1. when students have been admitted to the program. The program will submit a petition to the Graduate School through MyGrad program for each student admitted. If the program does not have access to the student’s record in MyGrad program, the information may be sent by email to the Graduate School Student Services Office. The program will work to assure that students are registered in the certificate program as early as possible.
  2. when students have completed the certificate requirements. This information must be transmitted to the Graduate School Student Services Office by the end of the first full quarter following the fulfillment of program requirements. The expectation is that students will complete the certificate prior to or simultaneously with degree completion. A student may be granted a certificate up to 12 months after degree completion by special petition to the Graduate School.
  3. when significant changes are made to the certificate program curriculum. The program will notify the Office of Academic Affairs and Planning in the Graduate School.

Issued: March, 2008
Modified: June, 2012