Graduate Certificates may be awarded for graduate work to students who have received the bachelor's degree from the University of Arizona or an institution of similar standing. A graduate certificate comprises a linked series of credit-bearing graduate courses that constitute a coherent body of study. Graduate certificates are designed to enhance the education of graduate and professional students or to provide continuing education to professionals.

This section outlines general completion requirements for the different graduate certificates awarded by the University of Arizona. Refer to the Graduate Program Descriptions for admission requirements and detailed information on requirements for each major. Requirements vary by program.

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Credit Requirements

The total number of units required for graduate certificates vary by academic discipline, but all require a minimum of 9 units of graduate credit. Except for a limited number of units that can be transferred from other approved institutions, the remaining unit requirements must be met by graduate level University of Arizona courses. A maximum of 6 units of graduate credit earned as an undergraduate senior, in graduate non-degree status, and/or transferred from an accredited institution may be applied for credit toward a graduate certificate. Many programs, however, recognize only units taken within the program. Up to 6 units from a University of Arizona master's degree may count toward the Graduate Certificate, depending on the program.

All units of coursework for the graduate certificate must be in 500-level courses or above, and one half of the required units must be in courses in which regular grades (A, B, C) have been earned. Students must earn a C or better in the courses used to complete the certificate. For specific certificate requirements, refer to the appropriate department.

All grades for Incompletes and current semester coursework must be received before the certificate is considered completed. A student must have a cumulative GPA in all graduate coursework of at least 3.000 in order to graduate.

If a student is working toward more than one certificate, double-counting of credits is limited to 20% of the number of credits of the certificate with the lower credit requirement or one course, whichever is greater. No credits may count toward more than two certificates.

The graduate certificate is considered distinct from a graduate degree  (masters or doctorate). Limits regarding the use of units applied towards a graduate certificate and a graduate degree are determined by the certificate program. No course may be applied towards more than 2 degrees.

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Time Limitation

All requirements for a graduate certificate must be completed within 4 years. Time-to-degree begins with the earliest coursework to be applied toward the degree including any credits transferred from other institutions. Work more than 4 years old is not accepted toward meeting certificate requirements.

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Continuous Enrollment for Certificate Students

A student admitted to a graduate certificate program must register each fall and spring semester for a minimum of 1 graduate unit, from original matriculation until all course requirements are met. Non-credit courses, audited courses or courses from which the student withdraws do not count toward the determination of continuous enrollment.

Students receiving funding, such as assistantships, fellowships, loans, grants, scholarships or traineeships, may be required by their funding source to register for more than 1 unit to meet the full-time status requirement. Similarly, international students may have different requirements to maintain their visa status. All students should check with their program advisor regarding such requirements to ensure that they remain qualified for funding and/or their visa.

Certificate students who have maintained continuous enrollment, fulfilled all their other degree requirements and were enrolled in the prior semester may complete work in the summer or winter semesters without registration. If, however, students need library privileges, plan to use other University facilities, or need significant faculty time during the summer or winter session, enrollment is required.

Unless excused by an official graduate Leave of Absence (which except under exceptional circumstances, may not exceed one year throughout the student's program), all graduate students are subject to the Continuous Enrollment Policy. Students who require significant faculty time (e.g. advising, reviewing, collaborating) must be enrolled rather than on Leave of Absence.

If the student fails to obtain a Leave of Absence or maintain continuous enrollment, he or she will be required to apply for re-admission and to pay the Graduate College application fee. There is no guarantee of re-admission. Tuition or registration waivers cannot be applied retroactively.

Please note that "continuous enrollment" is not the same as "full time enrollment" for financial aid purposes. Please refer to the University policy on Full-Time Status

Continuous Enrollment and Incompletes

Students who have maintained continuous enrollment, fulfilled all their other degree requirements and are only completing an incomplete in coursework (a class other than 900 level) are not required to enroll while they complete the incomplete. If, however, students need library privileges or plan to use other University facilities or need significant faculty time while they complete their incomplete, enrollment is required.

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Transfer Credit

Course work taken more than two years prior to admission to a certificate program cannot be transferred. Not more than 6 credits from a degree program may transfer to a certificate program; many programs allow fewer transfer credits. Transfer of credit toward a graduate certificate will not be made unless graduate credit was earned and grade was A or B. Grades for transfer work will not be used in computing the student's grade-point average unless the credit was earned at The University of Arizona. Credit for correspondence courses or extension work from other institutions will not be accepted for graduate credit.

Credit for Prior Learning

Graduate Certificate seeking students may be eligible to transfer in credit for prior learning if attained through a University of Arizona or affiliate program. Graduate students interested in receiving credit for prior learning must first consult with their faculty advisor or program Director of Graduate Studies for degree applicability. Prior learning materials (proof of verifiable learning) should be submitted to Graduate Student Academic Services via a GradPath petition form for evaluation of credit by the Director of Graduate Studies in the appropriate department or college. Prior learning materials should detail the content learned (i.e. hours, subjects, texts, relevant documents, completed work, etc.). If the petition receives full approval the student should submit the Transfer Credit form on GradPath. Student should select "GRAD UArizona Prior Learning" as the transfer institution. If the transfer credits are marked “eligible for transfer” the student should submit the Plan of Study and use the “Get Transfer” button on that form to put the credit for prior learning on the Plan of Study. Please see the policy on Graduate Credit for Prior Learning.

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Plan of Study

Each student is responsible for developing a Plan of Study within the first months enrolled in the program. The Plan of Study must be submitted to the Graduate College no later than the second semester. The Plan of Study identifies:

  1. The student's faculty advisor;
  2. The student's expected graduation term;
  3. Courses the student intends to transfer from other institutions;
  4. Courses already completed at The University of Arizona which the student intends to apply toward the graduate certificate; and
  5. Additional course work to be completed to fulfill certificate requirements.

The student's faculty advisor and Director of Graduate Studies (DGS) must approve the Plan of Study before it can be reviewed by the Graduate College.

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Candidacy Fees

There are candidacy Fees associated with the posting of your certificate.

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Establishing a New Certificate Program

Departments wanting to establish a new graduate certificates should follow the procedures for curricular approval process and use the implementation form provided on the Curricular Affairs website provided by the Senior Vice Provost for Academic Affairs.

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