Graduate Certificate Program Requirements

  1. Students working toward an interdisciplinary certificate normally are enrolled in a campus master's or doctoral program and are awarded a certificate only after completing degree program requirements. Students working toward completion of a professional certificate may be enrolled with or without completing work toward a degree program.
  2. Prospective students who are not currently matriculated graduate students must be admitted through Continuing Education as non-degree students, and internally to the unit’s certificate program, per standard program admission guidelines.
  3. Students must have an awarded bachelor's degree to pursue a graduate certificate.
  4. Graduate Certificate proposals must include a minimum curriculum of 9 hours of graduate level coursework. In many disciplines, 12 hours is the appropriate minimum standard.  Students may not double count courses between multiple certificates.
  5. In order to earn a certificate, students must receive a minimum grade of a C or higher in each course.  The cumulative GPA for certificate courses must be 3.0 or higher. More stringent certificate program requirements may apply.
  6. Graduate certificate programs require the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School upon recommendation of the Executive Advisory Council of the Graduate School.

Procedures and Template for Establishing a Graduate Certificate Program

Application materials for graduate certificate programs should be prepared in consultation with the Office of the Dean of the Graduate School, and require the endorsement of the home department chair and college dean, along with any other affected department chairs and college deans. After review by the Dean and Graduate School staff, the proposal will be considered for approval by the Executive Advisory Council. Proposals with resource or budgetary implications will be reviewed for budgetary approval by the Graduate School, the Office of Budget and Fiscal Planning, and Continuing Education if the certificate will be aimed at non-degree certificate seeking students.  Final approvals must be received before a certificate program can be implemented.

A graduate certificate proposal should include the following information:

  1. Description and Statement of Purpose
    The statement of purpose should address educational and scholarly goals of the proposed program and the relation between the proposed program and existing degree programs on campus.  The following information should also be provided:
    1. Name of the certificate
    2. Sponsoring unit
    3. Educational and scholarly goals of the proposed program
    4. Relationship between proposed programs and existing programs on campus
    5. Indicate whether this certificate is intended to be aimed at matriculated, degree-seeking students, or   non-degree, certificate-seeking students entering through Continuing Education, or both
  2. Statement of Need
    The statement of need should provide evidence of sufficient student interest to justify implementation:
    1. A market analysis for certificates aimed at non-degree, certificate-seeking students
    2. Enrollment predictions
    3. A description of the potential student population
  3. Statement of Congruence with Campus Goals
    The statement of congruence should indicate how the proposed certificate is related to the mission of the campus.
  4. Information Regarding Issues of Duplication
    The proposal should address duplication of the certificate or related courses within CU Boulder.  If duplication exists, the proposal should explain unique characteristics or features of this program.
  5. Statement of Resources
    The statement of resources should describe in detail the personnel and facilities needed for the operation of the program and their sources. Proposals should address present and projected needs in the areas below, and the sources for increased needs.
    1. Faculty instruction of certificate courses
    2. Faculty service expectations in working with certificate students (for director, committee, etc.)
    3. Staff resources needed and capacity of current staff
    4. Facilities, equipment, and space
    5. Course capacity in existing courses and new course creation
  6. Budget Spreadsheet

Certificate Proposals with resource and budget implications related to the items mentioned above, and all standalone certificate proposals aimed at non-degree seeking students, must include a budget spreadsheet.  The required budget template and assistance for spreadsheet completion will be provided by Graduate School staff.

  1. Description of Curriculum
    The description of curriculum should detail the program requirements, including the following:
    1. Total number of graduate credits required, and specific course requirements
    2. Academic standards for successful completion of certificate
      1. In order to earn a certificate, students must generally receive a minimum grade of a C or higher in each course.  The cumulative GPA for certificate courses must be 3.0 or higher. More stringent certificate program requirements may apply, and should be addressed in this section if applicable.
    3. Identify all courses which may be taken as part of the certificate program and address the following:
      1. Rationale describing curriculum in relation to the goals of the program
      2. Frequency of course offerings
        1. Availability of appropriate courses such that a student can progress through the program within two years
      3. Describe new courses to be proposed and frequency of instruction
  2. List of Faculty
    All teaching and research faculty involved in the certificate program should be listed, along with their graduate faculty status.
  3. Admission Requirements
    The proposal should describe specific admission requirements for current graduate students, non-degree students, and for potential transfers as applicable.
    1. Basic admission requirements
      1. All graduate certificate programs must adhere to Graduate School admissions standards.  Describe any additional program specific admissions requirements
    2. Currently matriculated graduate students (if applicable, based on 1.E. above):
      1. Describe the internal application process
    3. Non-degree students (if applicable, based on 1.E. above):
      1. Describe the internal application process required to declare the students as certificate seeking 
      2. May non-degree students take certificate courses using the ACCESS program? (ACCESS provides nondegree students the opportunity to take Boulder main campus graduate courses, at A&S rates.)  Or, must students be coded as certificate seeking students through the application process?  (Students would be charged the corresponding certificate tuition rate.)
  4. Description of Program Administration
    The description of program administration should include the following details:
    1. Program director and director selection process
    2. Group or committee responsible for overseeing the program and curriculum
    3. Persons of committee responsible for advising students and monitoring their progress
    4. Procedure and person responsible for reviewing students’ academic records for “declaring” certificate status to the Registrar’s office and checking for certificate completion and requesting the award of certificates through the Registrar’s Office
  5. Endorsements
    All chairs or directors whose departments or programs are taking part in the proposed certificate program or whose units will be affected by the certificate program must be consulted for endorsement, and must also submit statements of endorsement by their school or college Dean.


Graduate Certificate Proposals December 2018