Certificate in College Teaching

The Graduate School of the University of Colorado Boulderconsiders the employment and training of graduate teachers to be a professional apprenticeship that shapes the professoriate of the future. To recognize and reward graduate teachers who devote time to improving their teaching, the Graduate School offers a Certificate in College Teaching (CCT) through the Graduate Teacher Program. Although such certificates are not officially recognized at the state or national level. More than 80 research institutions currently offer similar certificates at the graduate level. Graduate students report that they are an asset when pursuing employment in postsecondary institutions.

Useful CCT Forms:

Personal Attendance Tracking 

Faculty Observation/Evaluation      

Teaching Portfolio

What are the Requirements for Completion of the CCT?

To qualify graduate teachers must complete the requirements detailed below.

Classroom Teaching

To qualify for the Certificate in College Teaching, graduate students must teach on the CU Boulder campus for two full semesters with their own students; this teaching may involve courses, recitations, or laboratories.

Please note: guest lecturing does not count.

GTP Workshops

Certificants must complete 20 Graduate Teacher Program workshops (which do vary in length). Workshops address the needs of beginning and experienced graduate teaching assistants and instructors. Graduate teachers should choose activities that are appropriate for their personal level of experience. Workshops cover topics from the following areas:

  • general pedagogy (beginning and advanced)
  • personal and professional development
  • issues in teaching and course design
  • academic policies (discrimination and harassment, academic ethics)
  • assessment and evaluation (self, course, and student)
  • preparation of teaching portfolios
  • technology and teaching
  • scholarship of teaching and learning and teaching as research 
  • timely topics

All GTP workshops count toward the CCT: Fall Intensive, Spring Conference, or the COPPFN Forum or at different workshop series: Friday Forums, Monday Workshops, Summer Series, TIGER, Intercultural Workshops, or occasional special workshops. Sign-in sheets are used at each workshop to document credit for attendance.

Discipline-Specific Requirements

All graduate teachers wishing to be certified are required to complete a minimum of 20 real-time hours of teacher training in their discipline (however, the department may require more.)

Departmental activities, such as:

  • courses on teaching
  • workshops or regular meetings with the faculty supervisor, faculty mentor, or with the lead graduate teacher may fulfill the discipline-specific requirement.

If the department does not provide 20 real-time hours of discipline-specific training, potential certificants can substitute attendance at additional Graduate Teacher Program workshops.

However, departmental workshops may not replace GTP workshop credit.

Videotape Consultation (VTC)

Two videotape consultations (based on recitation sections, laboratory sections, or courses the graduate teacher is teaching for a full semester) are required for certification. The graduate teacher, in consultation with a staff consultant or lead graduate teacher, develops a plan for improvement based on video self-assessment. The first videotape consultation should be completed early in the program; the second at least two months later. Consultations are confidential and non-evaluative.

Please note:

Public speaking engagements, talks in colloquia, or single lectures given in the place of a faculty member may not be used to complete the videotape consultation portion of the Certificate in College Teaching (such talks may be used for the Professional Development Certificate.)

Faculty Observation and Evaluation

A faculty member from the home department must observe and evaluate each candidate for certification during a regular class, recitation, or lab session. To qualify, candidates must meet departmental standards for proficiency in teaching.

The faculty member may decide to recommend the graduate teacher for certification or may request that the graduate teacher attain a higher level of proficiency and undergo a follow-up evaluation prior to certification.

Faculty may use any format they choose or respond to the questions listed on the Faculty Observation and Evaluation.

A written observation and evaluation report by a faculty member must be sent to the Graduate Teacher Program office:

A copy should also be kept in the graduate teacher's personal and departmental file.

Teaching Portfolio

Aspiring certificants are required to prepare a teaching portfolio.

See the Teaching Portfolio Outline

Final Assessment and Exit Survey

Upon recommendation from the department, the director reviews each candidate's file and portfolio and decides if the candidate is approved for certification.

The candidate then completes an online GTP Exit Survey prior to receiving the signed certificate.

It is important that the candidate notify the GTP upon completion of the Exit Survey by sending an email to gtpCERT@colorado.edu, once the Exit Survey is completed.

Who can be Awarded a CCT?


The Certificate in College Teaching may be awarded to all graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, and faculty who complete the requirements and evaluation successfully.

Requirements include classroom teaching, participation in GTP workshops and discipline-specific activities, videotape consultations, faculty observation, and completing a teaching portfolio.

What is the Time Commitment?


As learning to teach effectively is a developmental process, we suggest that graduate teachers complete the requirements over a minimum of two or more years, although several students have finished all requirements in 12 months.

Can International Graduate Teachers Participate?

Prior to certification, graduate teaching assistants (TAs) and graduate part-time instructors (GPTIs) from other countries have two additional requirements.

  • Attend three GTP workshops designed specifically for international students
  • If their first language is not English, they must provide evidence of oral English proficiency.