The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Undergraduate Certificate Requirements


UMass Amherst undergraduate students majoring in any field are eligible to enroll in the certificate program prior to the add/drop deadline of the first semester of their senior year. Undergraduate students who have been accepted for a special program at UMass—such as Continuing and Professional Education, University Without Walls, the Inquiry Program, and the Bachelor’s Degree with Individual Concentration—are also eligible to enroll in the certificate program prior to the add/drop deadline of the first semester of their senior year.


Students must successfully complete eight courses with an average grade of B or better (no pass/fail allowed). Of these eight courses, three are required. Students choose the remaining five electives with the approval of a faculty advisor. Students must also submit a one-page proposal describing their policy concentration and course plan.

Three required courses

Students must take one course from each of the following areas: 

Introductory Microeconomics (or higher level by advisor permission)

SPP 203 Economics for Public Policy
Res Econ 102 Introduction to Resource Economics
Econ 103 Introduction to Microeconomics

Public Policy or Administration 

SPP 190A Water, Oil, and Blood:  The Middle East in Global Policy
SPP 181 Controversies in Public Policy (cross-listed with POLISCI 181)
SPP 280 Public Policy (cross-listed with POLISCI 280)
SPP 320 Public Administration (cross-listed with POLISCI 320)

Introductory Statistics (or higher level by advisor permission) 

SPP 204 Statistical Models for Public Policy
Psych 240 Statistics in Psychology
Res Econ 211 Introductory Statistics for the Life Sciences
Res Econ 212 Introductory Statistics for the Social Sciences
Sociol 212 Elementary Statistics
Stats 111 Elementary Statistics
Stats 140 Introduction to Statistics
Anthro 481 Research Methods

Five electives 

  • Elective courses are chosen by the student with the consent of the faculty advisor.
  • All five elective courses must be at the 200 level or above. Three courses must be at the 300 level or above, unless the student receives approval from their faculty advisor.
  • With the exception of SPP courses, no more than two courses from the same department will apply as electives for the certificate. For the purposes of this certificate, economics and resource economics are considered one department.
  • Per University policy, at most two courses from the certificate may overlap with any other major, minor, or certificate. 

One-page proposal

Prior to the start of the senior year,  students must submit a one-page proposal to their faculty advisor outlining both the policy concentration they  would like to pursue and how the five elective policy courses will meet this objective. (See sample proposal.)

Steps for Students to Complete a Certificate in Public Policy and Administration

  1. Select a faculty advisor from the list of SPP faculty advisors, and discuss your plan with the advisor.
  2. Complete a one-page proposal describing your interests in the policy concentration you wish to pursue. You should also outline the five policy electives you plan to take and discuss how they will help you reach your educational goals.
  3. Fill out the application and have it approved and signed by your faculty advisor. Deliver the completed form to SPP for approval and signature. SPP will notify you of your acceptance into the program and forward a copy of the signed form to your faculty advisor.
  4. During the second semester of your senior year, after you have completed the requirements, fill out the Certificate Eligibility Form. If you took different courses than those on your application, you are required to have your faculty advisor sign the form before submitting it to SPP. If no changes have been made, you can submit the form directly to SPP.

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