Graduate Certificate Approval Process

Proposals for new areas of study for graduate certificates are created and submitted by the academic unit that wishes to offer such a certificate. Proposals must be accompanied by endorsement from the department heads and deans of the colleges/schools in which the contributing course work is offered as well as from the academic unit or units whose students or degree programs could be impacted by the creation of the graduate certificate. The Graduate Council will consider all the proposals for new graduate certificates to assure proposal guidelines have been followed and that repetition and redundancy across areas of study for certificates are not evident. Those meeting the criteria set forth by Graduate Council will then be recommended to Faculty Senate and the Provost for approval.

Criteria for Approval

The general principles applied to the assessment of the academic quality of proposals for new graduate areas of study for certificates include:

  • The proposed curriculum must offer a clear and appropriate educational objective at the graduate level.
  • The proposed sequence of courses must express a clear educational objective to be achieved in an efficient and defined manner.
  • All courses must be graduate level (numbered 500 or higher) and taught by members of the Graduate Faculty.
  • Graduate certificates must require 9 or more credits. If a graduate certificate requires fewer than 15 credits, then at least 9 of the required credits must be earned in courses numbered 600 or higher.
  • A perceived need for such a certificate should exist. This provision might be defined in terms of either external markets (e.g., external demand for the skills associated with such a certificate) or internal academic needs (e.g., the need for a critical mass of students in a given discipline).
  • If the area of study for a certificate requires new courses, those courses must be approved by the Faculty Senate Course Approval process.
  • Proposals should be submitted following the Faculty Senate Program Approval Guidelines. Upon approval, the Graduate School will update its documentation and procedures to include the new certificate.

Steps to Approval

  • Submit proposal via the online UMass Course and Curriculum Management System.
  • Proposals are routed electronically to the participating department chairs/directors and deans for approval
  • Approved proposals are then routed for approval to the Graduate Council Academic Standards and Curriculum committee
  • If approved by the Academic Standards and Curriculum committee Subcommittee, the proposal is sent to the full Graduate Council for approval.
  • If approved by Graduate Council, the proposal is then sent to the Faculty Senate for approval.
  • If approved by the Faculty Senate, the proposal is sent to the Provost Office for final approval.