Certificate Program Guidelines

Graduate certificates at UMass Amherst allow you to gain knowledge in a new subject or enhance your career marketability without committing to a full degree program. Many of our graduate certificates offer the opportunity to tailor your program to your unique goals and interests through flexible electives, and in some cases you can even apply courses completed during your certificate to the requirements of a full degree program in the future.

Student Eligibility and Admission Criteria

Students must apply and be accepted into each graduate certificate area of study to be eligible to receive a certificate. The prerequisites and general criteria of eligibility for admission to any graduate certificate area of study include the following, but check your program’s page for the most up-to-date information:

  • An earned baccalaureate degree.
  • Other requirements for admission are set by each graduate area of study, including minimum grade point average, standardized test scores, and other similar criteria.
  • Must meet the same academic requirements as those defined for degree-seeking students to remain in “good standing.”
  • Must meet all prerequisites for courses in which they wish to enroll.
  • Should a graduate certificate student subsequently apply and be accepted to a degree-granting program, up to 15 hours of UMass Amherst credit earned as a graduate certificate student may be applied to satisfy graduate degree requirements. Any application of such credit must be approved by the program/department and must be appropriate to the program.

Certificate Completion Requirements

To receive a graduate certificate:

  • Students must successfully complete certificate requirements as established by the university and the individual certificate program.
  • The grade-point average for the courses counted toward the certificate must be 3.0 or above. 
  • Students must meet the same academic requirements as those defined for degree-seeking students to remain in “good standing.”
  • Non-degree-seeking students are not required to be enrolled each semester but must complete the certificate within 2 years.
  • Students must submit a Certificate Eligibility Form to the Graduate Student Service Center. Degree-seeking students must submit this form before graduating from their degree program. Non-degree-seeking students must submit this form no later than one semester after completing their certificate course work.

Graduate Council Policies

The areas of study for the graduate certificates are created within the mission of graduate education. Students will be awarded certificates upon completion of specific course work, approved by the Graduate Council. The graduate certificate is not defined as a degree by the Graduate School; rather, it is a focused collection of courses that, when completed, affords the student some record of distinct academic accomplishment in a given discipline or set of related disciplines. Moreover, the graduate certificate is not viewed as a guaranteed means of entry into a graduate degree program. While the courses comprising a graduate certificate may be used as evidence in support of a student’s application for admission to a degree program, the certificate itself is not considered to be a prerequisite.