Certificates - Guidelines and Policy*

Overview of policy and guidelines for certificate programs, including undergraduate, graduate and professional certificates, Capstone, and non-credit certificate offerings.

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Link to new KB: https://kb.wisc.edu/apir/97237

Academic Planning and Institutional Research (APIR) has created a new Certificate KB Topic Library on its new APIR KnowledgeBase site. The content formerly housed on this KB has transitioned to the updated document(s). Please refer to this library for documents that provide an overview of certificate guidelines and policy, answers to frequently asked questions, and details on certificate declaring, tracking, and completion. 

This new APIR KB site is replacing the former Courses and Academic Programs (aka, Vesta) site in a staged transition. (Note: The Lumen KB remains separate and active and is available from the Quick Link in the left navigation of the APIR KB site.) This new APIR KB will include documents related to academic program planning (degrees/majors, named options, certificates), courses, program review, and academic policy.


UW-Madison faculty adopted new policy guidelines governing certificate programs in spring 2012 (revised spring 2014 and summer 2016). 

The Full Guidelines for For-Credit Certificates and related documents are available on the Academic Planning and Institutional Research (APIR) website. 

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 certificate policy guidelines cover the following types of certificates; a high-level overview of each type of certificate is included below:

Undergraduate Certificates

Graduate and Professional Certificates

Capstone Certificates

Non-Credit Certificates

See Also: