Certificates - Declaring, Tracking in DARS, and Completion

Information on declaring, tracking, and completing certificate programs.

There are several types of certificates: undergraduate, graduate and professional, capstone, and non-credit certificates. Following is information on the processes to declare students into certificate programs, as well as how progress is tracked and how the certificates are awarded. A few notes:

  • This process varies for University Special students in undergraduate certificate programs. Refer to the note below for details.
  • Similarly, students enrolled in noncredit certificates are not tracked through these processes. Refer to the note below for details.
  • Graduate certificates are not tracked in the Degree Audit Reporting (DARS) system, nor are they cleared by the Office of the Registrar using the process outlined below. 


All declarations must be submitted through the Student Information System (SIS) declaration page. It is very important that certificate coordinators declare and/or cancel students in the certificate program online and in a timely manner. If a student’s pursuit of a certificate is not declared in SIS prior to the DARS completion check being run, his/her certificate status will not be included, and the certificate will not be posted to his/her record. Please note that the Office of the Registrar will not accept paper copies of certificate declaration forms.

The process to declare or cancel certificates for students is completed within SIS. It allows authorized faculty, staff, and/or advisors to complete the information online. It is important to note that students do not have access to this process.

The SIS Training Quick Guide for Major or Certificate Requests provides an overview of certificate declaring or canceling, adding or removing options, or changing a declaration date. Users should use the SIS Security Authorizations Access Request Portal to request access to the SIS certificates page. 


All certificate programs must have requirements defined discretely enough so that they can be encoded using DARS. All certificates must be encoded in DARS so that students can audit/track their progress toward the certificate program completion. The Office of the Registrar, with certificate program faculty/staff, develop a DARS audit that accurately reflects all certificate requirements for students, advisors, and the certificate program to track student progress. It is important that certificate coordinators confirm that the certificate DARS reports accurately reflect the requirements listed in the Certificate Guidelines (e.g., total credits, minimum GPA, residency requirement, etc.). In addition, if an exception is appropriate, coordinators should submit the exception request prior to the 12th week of the graduation term.


Upon completion of a term, the Office of the Registrar will run a query for students who earned a degree for that term and have at least one certificate on their record, and/or who are enrolled in a Capstone certificate program, as determined by official declaration in SIS. The Registrar's Office will run batch DARS reports to confirm the completion of the certificates. If the DARS report confirms completion (the “C”) of the certificate, the DARS will be saved as the Document of Record (DOR) and the certificate completion will be posted to the student record and will display on the student’s transcript. If the DARS report does not show that all requirements are complete, the certificate will be inactivated on the student’s record and no further action will be taken. No notification regarding incomplete certificates will be made to students or staff. Please note that the Office of the Registrar will not accept certificate completion lists from departments.

Note on University Special Students in Undergraduate Certificate Programs: Certificate programs must manually track University Special students enrolled in undergraduate certificate programs as DARS is not available for University Special students at the undergraduate level. (Note: University Special students enrolled in Capstone certificates are tracked through to certificate completion per the processes described above.) The certificate program is responsible for manually tracking University Special students and reporting completion to the Registrar's Office. Upon certificate completion, certificate coordinators must email registrar@em.wisc.edu the Certificate Completion Spreadsheet containing the names, Campus IDs, completion term, and Student Information System (SIS) certificate code for University Special students who have completed the undergraduate certificate program. 

Note on Students in Noncredit Certificates: This type of certificate is based on not-for-credit activity which is not tracked nor posted to the UW-Madison student transcript. Refer to the Not-for-Credit Certificate Guidelines for more information. 

Keywordscertificate, declaring, tracking, dars, completion, cert, GSTS   Doc ID97239
OwnerKaren M.GroupAcademic Planning
Created2020-01-21 14:24:23Updated2022-02-03 16:12:22
SitesAcademic Planning
Feedback  0   12