Policies and Procedures for the Establishment of a Graduate Interdisciplinary or Professional Certificate Program

Interdisciplinary study at the graduate level may involve coursework and formal requirements that exceed those of the established degree programs. In addition, faculty may wish to develop a program for professional development and training apart from a degree program. To recognize this additional work by graduate students and professionals, faculty may wish to award a certificate. This certificate is not a substitute for a degree, and the recognition of a certificate program is not equivalent to the establishment of a degree program. Faculty wishing to have Graduate School recognition for a certification program should follow the procedures described below.

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. Students with advanced degrees or equivalent professional experience may be admitted as nondegree students to a participating program.
  3. 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.
  4. Graduate interdisciplinary and professional certificate programs require the approval of the Dean of the Graduate School upon recommendation of the Executive Advisory Council of the Graduate School.

Procedures for Establishing a Graduate Certificate Program

Application materials for graduate certificate programs should be prepared in consultation with the Interim Dean of the Graduate School and should include the following information:

  1. 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.
  2. Statement of Need.
    The statement of need should provide evidence of sufficient student interest to justify implementation and continued support of the program. It should also address potential duplication of programs on campus and across the state.
  3. Statement of Congruence with Campus Goals.
    The statement of congruence should indicate how the proposed certificate is related to the mission and master plan of the campus.
  4. 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. The statement should include present and projected needs in faculty, facilities, equipment, library holdings and space. If no resources are needed, this fact should be stated.
  5. Description of Curriculum.
    The description of curriculum should detail the program requirements, including the total number of credits required, any specific course requirements and any academic standards for successful completion of the certificate. The description should identify all courses which may be taken as part of the certificate program, their frequency of offering and any new courses proposed. A rationale describing the curriculum in relation to the goals of the program should also be provided.
  6. List of Faculty.
    All teaching and research faculty involved in the certificate program should be listed, along with their graduate faculty status.
  7. 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 for awarding certificates
  8. Admission Requirements.
    The program should describe specific admission requirements for current graduate students, professionals and for potential transfers as applicable. If there will be applicants from outside the University, the internal process should be described along with acknowledging that students need to be admitted as nondegree students through Continuing Education. It should also discuss the projected enrollments for the program.
  9. Endorsements.
    All chairs or directors whose departments or programs are taking part in the proposed certificate program must submit statements of endorsement by their school or college Dean.

E-mail your request to Genevieve.Borst@colorado.edu, Director of Graduate Student Services.