UNC Charlotte Academic Policy: Graduate Certificate Requirements

I. Executive Summary

This policy outlines the Graduate Certificate requirements including residency requirements and grade point average for graduate students. To graduate from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, students must be in good academic standing, and must have earned a minimum grade point average of at least 3.0 in the major.

II. Policy Statement

The graduate certificate is awarded for successful completion of a coherent program of at least 12 credit hours proposed by a unit of the graduate faculty and approved by the Graduate Council. Students are admitted to a particular graduate certificate program and are advised by faculty in the unit offering the graduate certificate. Admission to a graduate certificate program is separate and distinct from admission to a graduate degree program. Admission to a certificate program is not an indication of subsequent admission to a degree program just as admission to a degree program is not an indication of admission to a certificate program.

Since the graduate certificate is not a degree, students may apply the credits earned in the certificate program toward a single degree that they pursue either in conjunction with the graduate certificate or after the certificate has been awarded. However, students may not apply credits earned in one certificate program toward the satisfaction of requirements in a second certificate program.

Students may enroll in a graduate certificate program only or may complete the certificate in conjunction with a graduate degree program at the University. Hours taken toward a graduate certificate may be counted toward a graduate degree program with the recommendation of the graduate program coordinator and the approval of the Graduate School.

Graduate certificate programs generally require at least 12 credit hours of graduate coursework and are held to the Transfer Credit policies outlined in the Registration section of the Graduate Catalog. The graduate certificate is awarded to a student who has completed the specified program of study with a GPA of 3.0 or above within five years from the time of enrollment in the first certificate course and has applied to graduate.

Students are expected to satisfactorily complete all required coursework with a GPA of 3.0 or above in courses on the certificate plan of study. Grades in all courses attempted, whether or not on the plan of study, remain on the transcript and will be included in the calculation of the student’s cumulative GPA as it is reported on the transcript. Courses graded as C on the certificate plan of study must be offset by an equal number of graduate-level credits graded as A. Some programs may have stricter requirements regarding the applicability of grades of C towards degree completion. Please reference the program-specific entries of this Catalog. Students and faculty should refer to the Academic Suspension and Termination policies in this Catalog regarding the accumulation of marginal grades of C.

Time Limit

All requirements for the graduate certificate must be completed within five (5) calendar years, beginning with the student’s first term in the program. The time limit cannot be paused, even if the student takes an approved leave of absence. No course older than five years may be applied towards a graduate certificate. Any course that exceeds this limit must be retaken. Failure to adhere to the time limit may result in the termination of a student’s enrollment.

The Graduate School may consider requests for a single extension of one (1) year in cases with rare, extenuating circumstances. In such cases, the student and graduate program must provide a signed timeline for program completion that does not exceed one year. Failure to adhere to the approved timeline for completion will result in automatic termination of the student’s enrollment for a lack of satisfactory academic progress. Multiple extensions will not be approved.

Application for Certificate

Students should submit the Online Graduation Application at the beginning of the term in which they anticipate completion of the certificate program. Adherence to Graduate School deadlines is expected. Students are encouraged to review their individual DegreeWorks audit to ensure they have met all graduation requirements.

Students completing their degree and/or certificate requirements in May participate in the May commencement ceremony. Students completing degrees and/or certificates in a summer term, as well as those completing in December, participate in the December commencement ceremony.

Note: No Graduate Certificates will be awarded retroactively.

III. Definitions

  • Catalog – A resource of all academic policies and procedures, college and degree requirements, faculty, and course descriptions. UNC Charlotte has both an Undergraduate Catalog and Graduate Catalog.
  • Certificate – A structured set of professionally oriented courses in an applied area of focus.
  • College – An academic unit of the University. Each of the seven discipline-based colleges at UNC Charlotte represents an organization of related departments.
  • Credit/semester hours – A credit/semester hour is an amount of work represented in intended learning outcomes and verified by evidence of student achievement. UNC Charlotte adheres to the Carnegie unit, which is a nationally recognized equivalency that consists of not less than:
    1. 750 minutes of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of 1500 minutes of out of class student work for one semester hour of credit. Each credit hour corresponds to 50 minutes per week of classroom or direct faculty instruction and a minimum of 100 minutes of out of class work per week for a 15 week semester, or the equivalent amount of work over a different amount of time, whether instruction is delivered face to face, or in a hybrid or distance mode and regardless of the type of academic work leading to the award of credit hours, such as lecture, seminar, internship, practica, studio, to name a few. Regardless of the length of term, the standard of 750 minutes of contact minutes and 1500 minutes of out of class work for each credit hour remains the same
    2. 1500 minutes of direct faculty instruction for one semester hour of credit for a lab course.
  • Residence – For degree-seeking students, a residency requirement indicates the number of credits you must complete through the University in order to graduate.

IV. Policy Contact(s)

V. History

  • Established: TBD
  • Revised: TBD

VI. Related Policies, Procedures, and Resources

VII. Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where is this policy referenced?
    The policy is published on the Academic Policies & Procedures webpage of the Provost website and in the Degree Requirements & Academic Policies section of the Graduate Catalog.
  • Is a Graduate Certificate considered a degree?
    No, a graduate certificate program is a stand-alone credential that typically consists of 12-15 credit hours of graduate coursework in a focused area of study. The graduate certificate or post-master’s graduate certificate may provide individuals with specialized training in a particular academic and/or occupational area, as well as augment professional skills to help advance their careers.