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What is a Graduate Certificate?

An academic graduate certificate declares that a student has satisfactorily completed a sequence of advanced academic courses that provide instruction in a stand-alone, coherent body of specialized knowledge. It is designed to meet requirements for professional competence, expand access to specialized knowledge, or meet occupational needs for advanced interdisciplinary work. It consists of 12-24 quarter units (3-6 courses) and may be provided via Special Sessions (self-support) through Extended Education (see Executive Order 1047); it has a formal application process and a distinct matriculation.

AS Resolution AS-726-11 March 8, 2011

Specific Requirements:

  • Admission to a graduate certificate program requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited institution with a major in a relevant field of study. The applicant must have attained a minimum GPA of 2.5 in the last 90 units attempted or have earned a GPA of at least 2.5 in the last degree completed. Work experience may substitute (at the discretion of the program) for the relevancy of the bachelor's degree and for the minimum GPA requirements.
  • Courses taken to satisfy the requirements of a graduate certificate program may be applied to the requirements of a graduate degree program; however, students must apply separately for admission into a graduate degree program. No coursework for the certificate may be below the 400 level. One 4-unit course in transfer credit may be allowed as determined by the graduate certificate program advisor.
  • A minimum GPA of 3.0 is required for successful completion of a graduate certificate program. Students may not elect to take courses required for the certificate as credit/no credit. A graduate certificate program must be completed within three years.
  • Students who are enrolled only in a graduate certificate program are exempt from the continuous enrollment requirement for graduate students.
  • There is no GWR requirement for a certificate program.
  • A certificate program must be completed within 3 years.

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Cal Poly College of Engineering
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