Working Document
Graduate Certificates at the University of Pittsburgh
University Council on Graduate Study
University of Pittsburgh
May 6, 2002

A certificate program at the graduate level is described in Regulations Governing Graduate Study at the University of Pittsburgh as follows:

A certificate program at the graduate level is a coherent set of courses and related work in a particular area. The minimum credit requirement for a certificate is 15 credits, of which 12 credits must be completed at the University of Pittsburgh. Normally, a certificate is an award granted at the graduate level only to persons receiving graduate degrees or persons who enter with graduate degrees and wish advanced training in some specific area. It is often an interdisciplinary program and may be entered by students pursuing different degree programs. If earned in conjunction with a degree program, a certificate must require additional work. In some professional schools a particular certificate program may be designed for students who are not pursuing a master's degree. In this case admission requirements must be equivalent to admission requirements for a master's degree. A student must be formally admitted into a certificate program; the certificate may appear on the transcript as a degree goal and will appear on the final transcript as an awarded certificate. (Revised 1998)

At the University of Pittsburgh certificate programs differ in the kinds of students they serve and their goals.  To assist in the review of such programs we list below definitions of the three types of graduate certificates.  Each certificate program must meet the requirements discussed above.  In addition it should meet the goals of certificates of its particular type.

Definition of Types of Graduate Certificates:

ē Postbaccalaureate:  To be admitted to a postbaccalaureate certificate program, a student must have earned a baccalaureate degree at an accredited institution and meet the Universityís minimal requirements for admission to graduate school.  Normally all courses are at the graduate level.  As a minimum requirement, at least half of the credits required for the certificate must be earned in graduate courses and no lower-level undergraduate courses may count toward the certificate.  If a student is subsequently admitted to a masterís program, the credits earned in the certificate, if accepted by that program, may count toward completion of the masterís program.  These certificate programs are usually aimed at meeting the needs of working adults, searching for changes in careers.

ē Graduate:  To be admitted to a graduate certificate program, a student must already have earned a masterís degree or be in the process of earning a graduate degree at the University of Pittsburgh.  Normally all courses are at the graduate level. As a minimum requirement, at least half of the credits must be earned in graduate courses and no lower-level undergraduate courses may count toward the certificate.  In a few fields, separate certificates are offered for masterís students and for doctoral students, and in the latter program all courses must be at the graduate level.  Certificates are awarded upon successful completion of the required program and the award of the graduate degree.  They should require additional work beyond the graduate degree.  These graduate certificates are used to enhance existing degree programs and to enable the student to show a breadth of study to future employers.

ē Post-Professional:  To be admitted to a post-professional program, a student must have earned a first professional degree or a professional masterís degree in a particular professional field.  All courses must be at the graduate level.  The certificate usually serves to provide additional and up-to-date expertise to a person who has earned the first professional degree.