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. Graduate certificates are intended to enhance the education of matriculated graduate or professional students beyond their regular course of study, or to provide students access to graduate education as a standalone credential or as a stacked credential that can lead to a graduate degree. Graduate certificates are not open to undergraduate students. See Memo 50 for policies on stackable graduate certificates and the stacked graduate degree program.

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 Continuum College. These non-transcripted certificates are distinct from graduate certificates and are not under purview of the Graduate School.

Requirements

Requirements for the certificate must include a minimum of 15 credits, nine of which must be earned in courses numbered 500 and above. The curriculum must constitute a coherent body of study that culminates in a capstone or equivalent unifying experience.

There are no restrictions on credit sharing between a graduate certificate and a graduate degree program. No credit sharing is allowed between multiple graduate certificates.

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.

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.

Issued: March 2008. Revised: June 2012, July 2022