Policy 1.2: Graduate Certificates – UW Graduate School Skip to content

Policy 1.2: 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 Policy 1.4 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.

1.2.1     Requirements

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

Graduate certificate requirements normally consist primarily of graduate-level coursework at the 500 level. Courses at the 300 level and 400 level may be part of a student’s course of study and applied toward graduate certificate requirements when acceptable to the student’s graduate program and the Graduate School.

A minimum cumulative grade point average (GPA) of 3.00 is required for courses applied to a graduate certificate, and a minimum of 2.7 is required in each course that is counted toward a graduate certificate.  Courses at the 300 level are not included in the calculation of grade-point average (GPA).

There are no restrictions on credit sharing between a graduate certificate and a graduate degree program. This is intended to support the structure of stacked degrees (Policy 1.4). For graduate certificates that are not part of a stacked degree, credit sharing is not intended as a mechanism for students enrolled in a graduate degree program to incidentally receive a certificate in addition to the earned degree as part of their regular course of study towards the degree. Thus, a student may earn a graduate certificate that shares coursework with a non-stacked graduate degree only when the student completes a distinct graduate certificate capstone or equivalent unifying experience. Units are responsible for ensuring that each credential earned is representative of a distinct body of academic work.

No credit sharing is allowed between multiple graduate certificates.

1.2.2     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 Affairs in the Graduate School. This process includes review by Academic Affairs 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 Graduate Certificate proposal 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 the programs are granted continuing status. Continuing programs are reviewed at least every ten years.

Policy 1.2 created: March 2008. Revised: June 2012, July 2022

Policy 1.2.1 revised November 2023