Guidelines for Graduate Certificate Programs
Please note: There are three deadlines for the submission of new program proposals to the Graduate School each year: November 1, February 1, and May 1. The proposal should indicate confirmation of faculty review and approval of the new program (unit level and dean's level, if appropriate).
Proposals submitted before the above deadlines will receive a written response by the end of that quarter from the Office of Academic Affairs and Planning. This response will include a description of necessary revisions to the proposal and next steps in the review process, including the type of review assigned and a preliminary timeline for the review. Reviews of new Graduate Certificate Programs generally include administrative review by the Graduate School, followed by approval by the Graduate School Council and the Board of Regents. Please see the flowchart for a detailed description of the review process. See section 15 for information regarding other UW certificate programs.
For more information on Graduate Certificate programs, please see Graduate School Memo 43.
A graduate certificate program is a linked series of credit bearing graduate courses that constitutes a coherent body of study. It is designed to enhance the education of matriculated graduate students and professional students or to provide continuing education to graduate nonmatriculated (GNM) students.
The program proposal must address the student demand and need for the program. In addition, the proposal should describe the kind of outreach efforts that are planned to recruit students to the program.
A graduate certificate program must reflect the educational mission of the University of Washington. The object of a graduate certificate program is to provide students with a concentrated, cohesive area of study. Successful completion should help participants achieve specified learning objectives and competencies in a defined field of study. Proposals should address the enhanced employment opportunities for certificate awardees. Programs designed for matriculated graduate students must enhance education beyond the requirements for the graduate degree pursued by the student. Such programs should discourage entry of students for whom the certificate program is significantly redundant to degree requirements. Descriptions of programs designed for graduate nonmatriculated students should state that entry into the certificate program is entirely independent of any consideration for entry into a graduate degree program.
The program will be organized into a structured progression of classes, and include a capstone or equivalent unifying experience that provides intellectual cohesion to the program. Examples of appropriate capstone experiences include a project or comprehensive examination, or other appropriate experience that draws on the entire content of the program. A graduate certificate program will include an identifiable series of required courses which cannot be satisfied by substitute non-certificate classes or by work outside the established course curriculum. For matriculated graduate students the certificate program should add an interdisciplinary aspect to the graduate degree.
A graduate certificate program must have a director, a faculty steering committee, and a core faculty group, all of which must be members of the Graduate Faculty. The steering committee defines target audiences, admissions standards, the curriculum and, on an ongoing basis, monitors the progress and quality of the program. An advisory board consisting of faculty from the University and representatives of the professional community, where appropriate, is recommended but not required.
All graduate certificate programs will have a clearly defined and published admission process through which participants identify themselves as certificate students before fulfilling the requirements of the program. At best, students will apply to the program prior to beginning coursework. This will ensure that students have appropriate background to profit from the program and to participate in the capstone project. In some circumstances, students who have begun coursework without prior admission may want to apply for the certificate program. This is permissible; however students must apply and be admitted prior to completing the capstone.
Students may enroll in more than one certificate program, however no more than 6 credits may overlap between programs. Transfer credits may not be applied towards certificate requirements.
To ensure the quality and level of instruction, a graduate certificate program will have published minimum admission standards established by the program advisory board to reflect the knowledge and skills needed for success in the program. Graduate, professional, or graduate non-matriculated student status is required for admission to graduate certificate programs. Graduate nonmatriculated students must meet minimum requirements for admission to the Graduate School.
A graduate certificate program requires a minimum of fifteen student credit hours, nine of which must be earned in courses numbered 500 and above. In addition, nine student credit hours must be earned in graded courses. Often, programs will require more than the minimum number of hours, depending upon the subject matter. Certificate programs for matriculated graduate students cannot be simply a subset of courses required for their degree. However, courses taken for the certificate can count as electives to fulfill degree requirements. The overlap of coursework applied towards both programs must not exceed 6 credits and is limited to elective coursework in each program. Programs for matriculated students must add significant breadth to degree requirements.
Each participant will be assessed in each course by standards approved by the appropriate academic units.
Minimum Standards for Successful Completion of a Certificate Program
Successful completion of a Graduate Certificate Program requires a cumulative GPA of 3.0 for courses required for the Certificate and a grade of 2.7 or higher for each course counted toward the Certificate.
Each course in a graduate certificate program should be evaluated periodically by students and peers to ensure the high quality of the program.
The grades of participants in a graduate certificate program should be recorded on a permanent transcript stored on an internal UW system.
Provide a program budget in the form of a chart that identifies existing resources and/or proposed sources of funding (include both monetary and staff requirements).
Although proposals for new Graduate Certificate Programs are not subject to Higher Education Coordinating Board (HECB) approval, Certificate proposals must follow the HECB guidelines for new degree program proposals, which are available from the HECB Website, section A-5 of the following document: http://www.hecb.wa.gov/autheval/dpr/documents/GuidelinesProgramandFacilityApproval-Final.pdf. NOTE: While Graduate Certificate Program approval does not require a Planning Notification of Intent (NOI), the proposal will be circulated among UW stakeholders for a brief comment period. The Graduate School generally does not require outside reviewers for proposed Graduate Certificate Programs.
Academic Affairs has established three deadlines for the submission of new program proposals to the Graduate School: November 1, February 1, and May 1.
Proposals submitted before the above deadlines will receive a written response by the end of that quarter from the Office of Academic Affairs and Planning. This response will include a description of any necessary revisions to the proposal and next steps in the review process, including a preliminary timeline. (This could include an optional meeting with the Program Director.)
After the academic unit submits a revised proposal to the Office of Academic Affairs and Planning, an administrative review within the Graduate School is conducted. The proposal is reviewed by the Graduate School Council, and then approved by the Board of Regents.
New graduate certificate proposals will be approved for a five-year provisional status.
Relationship between certificates that are not recorded on a UW transcript and UW Graduate Certificates
Matriculated graduate and graduate non-matriculated (GNM) students may also pursue a UW certificate that is not recorded on the UW transcript, for example certain certificate offered through UW Educational Outreach.
Checklist for new Graduate Certificate Program Proposals:
- Instructional goals and objectives.
- Documentation of demand and need.
- Assessments of potential overlap with existing graduate degree and certificate programs and impact on existing graduate courses
- Budget for the program with explanation of resources requirements and source.
- Administrative location, oversight, structure, and name of Director/Chair.
- Steering Committee list and Core faculty list, including 2 page CV’s . All must be Graduate Faculty.
- Expected enrollment for the next 5 years.
- List of required core courses and electives, including course descriptions.
- Capstone experience description (if applicable).
- Description of tracking and evaluation mechanism.
Office of Academic Affairs and Planning
301 Loew Hall | Box 352191 | Seattle, Washington 98195