Graduate Certificate Program Policies
Graduate certificate programs are a way for universities to provide the latest disciplinary knowledge in the most flexible and convenient formats for the professional development of its alums and others who desire further education. Graduate certificate programs are very popular options at UCF for graduate study without having to commit to an existing master's or doctoral program. One of the benefits of enrolling in a graduate certificate program is that later, should students decide to do so, they can usually apply all of the credits earned in the graduate certificate to a graduate program. The graduate certificate program is meant to be flexible and offer a short-term of study that provides specialized knowledge that supplements an existing degree. Graduate certificate programs are particularly helpful to those professions where licensure and continuing professional development are required. Many of our graduate certificate programs are offered online for convenience. One of the most important benefits of our graduate certificate programs is that they are taught by our graduate faculty using regular graduate courses at the university.
UCF has 68 graduate certificate programs available to supplement existing graduate programs or to provide specialized knowledge in disciplines that complement the education of working professionals in the metropolitan area served by UCF. Many of our area employees have advanced graduate degrees and can enhance their education with specialized groups of courses. Frequently, a package of specialized courses that forms a certificate will increase employment credentials, lead to career enhancement, and produce more income.
It is the intent of these programs to be current and to provide specialized, state-of-the-art content to area employees. Often certificate programs are offered using flexible and nontraditional delivery systems that provide the best service to the employees in this metropolitan area. Distributed learning, weekend courses, evening courses, and accelerated term courses are acceptable.
Certificate programs are often ideal for nondegree students who would like to sample graduate courses before committing to a graduate degree program. Certificate programs may round out a graduate degree program, providing a special emphasis that supplements a graduate degree. Frequently, a certificate program can provide an interdisciplinary focus that provides more depth and understanding to an existing graduate program.
Any academic unit may propose a graduate certificate program that encompasses graduate courses in its graduate program. If an interdisciplinary certificate program is proposed, it must be acceptable to departments and faculty offering the courses and graduate programs on which the certificate program is based.
Certificate Program Admission Requirements
Students currently admitted to a graduate degree program or to nondegree status can apply and are eligible to enroll in graduate certificate programs. In addition, individuals who have previously completed bachelor's, master's, or doctoral degrees are eligible to enroll in certificate programs. In order to apply to a graduate certificate program, a student must submit an online admissions application, pay a $30 application fee, and submit an official transcript showing an earned bachelor's or higher degree from a regionally accredited or recognized foreign institution. On the online application, the student must designate the certificate program that he/she wishes to enter. Students are required to submit the application and obtain formal admission to the graduate certificate program. Students are advised to apply for the graduate certificate program well in advance of completion of all required courses. Students must complete the certificate requirements that are listed in the Graduate Catalog that is in effect at the time of their formal admission to the certificate program.
Admission to a certificate program does not guarantee admission to a graduate program. However, once a person is accepted into a master's, specialist and doctoral graduate program, credits from a completed UCF certificate program may be applied toward an existing graduate program with the consent of the program.
Nondegree students who are enrolled in a certificate program are not eligible for tuition support, assistantships, or fellowships, and are not generally eligible for federal financial aid.
Course Requirements and Loads
A certificate program must include a minimum of nine semester hours. The course work must consist of an integrated and organized sequence of study; course substitutions are not permitted.
No internship or independent study courses may be used in a certificate program. The use of practicum courses in certificate programs is not generally encouraged, but may be used in programs where there is a strong professional setting and on-campus faculty supervision. Alternative delivery programs are acceptable and encouraged.
Certificate students must take the full number of required hours for a certificate program. Generally, a course may not apply toward more than one certificate program. However, if an overlap of course work occurs between two or more certificate programs for the same student, the student must complete the total required hours by taking electives approved by the program.
All courses that are offered as part of a certificate program must be graduate-level courses. Students must earn course grades of "B-" or better to get credit toward the certificate. Courses may be retaken to achieve a better grade. However, the certificate will only be awarded if the graduate status GPA in the certificate program of study is 3.0 or higher.
Transfer of Credit
No graduate credit hours taken at other institutions can be applied to a graduate certificate program at UCF. If requested prior to the completion of the certificate program requirements, graduate credit hours taken at UCF from a prior baccalaureate, master's, specialist, or doctoral degree may be applied toward a certificate, with the consent of the program, provided they are no more than seven years old. The request for using credits from prior years must be submitted no later than the end of the add/drop period in the semester in which the student takes the final course in the certificate program.
Time Limitation for Certificate Completion
The student has seven years from the date of admission (prerequisite, articulation, and foundation courses are exempt) to the certificate program to complete the certificate. In addition, no course older than seven years at the time of graduation may be used in the Program of Study for a certificate. Students who do not maintain continuous enrollment (missing enrollment at the university for a period of three consecutive semesters) must file for readmission to the university, although seven years is measured from when the student was first admitted to the program.
Certificate students should maintain continuous enrollment in their certificate program. Students who anticipate that they may not be able to enroll continuously due to external circumstances should apply for a Special Leave of Absence (see Special Leave of Absence in the General Graduate Policies).
If certificate students do not maintain continuous enrollment and have not filed for a special leave of absence (see Continuous Attendance in the General Graduate Policies), they must file for readmission to the university. To file for readmission, the student must complete a new online Application. For more information about readmission, refer to the Admissions section of this catalog.
Readmission decisions are individually made, based on such factors as space in the program, reasons for the break in graduate education, progress in the certificate program, among others. Readmission is not guaranteed.
Completion of Graduate Certificate
In order to be processed for completion of a graduate certificate program, students must have obtained formal admission into the graduate certificate program (see Certificate Program Admission Requirements above). Students nearing completion of a graduate certificate program must complete the online Intent to Graduate Form by logging into myUCF and navigating to the Student Center Academics > Undergraduate and Graduate Careers > Intent to Graduate: Apply. Intents to graduate should be filed online no later than the last day of registration for the semester of graduate certificate completion.
Students will only be processed for completion of a graduate certificate if they have previously submitted a certificate application form, have been formally admitted to the program, and have filed an intent to graduate. Students must be enrolled in the semester in which the graduate certificate is being completed.