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Certificates - General Resources - Guidelines/Policy
Overview of policy and guidelines for certificate programs, including undergraduate certificates, graduate and professional certificates, Capstone certificates, and non-credit certificate offerings
UW-Madison faculty adopted new policy guidelines governing certificate programs in spring 2012 (revised spring 2014 and summer 2016).
Full guidelines are available at https://apir.wisc.edu/academic-planning/certificates/
A certificate program is a designated set of for-credit courses focused upon a specific topic or theme. Certificates give students the opportunity to pursue a subject of interest in a formalized way and to have completion of the course of study recognized by the awarding of the certificate. After approval, the for-credit certificate is documented on the student’s UW-Madison transcript and becomes part of the official student record. Certificates add opportunities for flexibility not available in majors and degrees.
The guidelines cover the following types of certificates:
Undergraduate Certificates: Available to degree-seeking UW-Madison undergraduates; are offered at an undergraduate level of content and intensity are designed to complement undergraduate degree/majors; 12-21 credits. May be open to University Special (non-degree seeking) students who hold a bachelor’s degree if provisions for these students are planned and approved by program faculty, school/college academic planning council and University Academic Planning Council.
Graduate and Professional Student Certificates: Available to degree-seeking graduate and professional students (GRAD, LAW, MED, PHARM, VMED “careers” and any careers that may be added at the post-baccalaureate level); designed to complement graduate or professional programs of study; usually 9-12 credits.
Capstone Certificates (Post-baccalaureate level): For University Special (non-degree seeking) students who hold a bachelor’s degree or equivalent; at least 9 graduate/professional level credits (rarely more than 16 credits); designed to "cap off" undergraduate educational experience or to offer a focused professionally oriented educational experience. Students apply, are admitted, and enroll as prescribed by the Capstone Program.
Non-credit certificates: Offered by various units; not formally approved through this process; based on not-for-cedit activity; may carry continuing education units (CEUs); not posted to the UW-Madison student transcript. Consult the Division of Continuing Studies. Policy guidelines for Non-Credit Certificates were approved in June 2011.