Eligibility and Admission Criteria

An application is required in order to be admitted to and pursue a graduate certificate. No student may work toward a graduate certificate without being accepted as a graduate certificate student in a specific graduate certificate program. Graduate certificates are not granted retroactively.

An individual who is not currently a degree-seeking graduate student at KU must apply and may be admitted directly to a graduate certificate program.

Degree-seeking graduate students admitted to a certificate program must be in good standing (3.0 or higher grade-point average) with their departments. A degree-seeking student currently enrolled in a graduate degree program who wishes to pursue a simultaneous graduate certificate in another department must inform the graduate director/advisor/coordinator in the home department of his or her intent to seek the certificate, in addition to applying directly to a graduate certificate program.

The graduate certificate program is not a means of entry into a graduate degree program. If students admitted to a graduate certificate program are later admitted to a graduate degree program as degree-seeking, applicable courses taken for the graduate certificate program may, upon recommendation of the department or program to its Graduate Division and within general guidelines, be approved by the division to be counted toward the degree.

While the courses comprising a graduate certificate may be used as evidence in support of a student’s application for admission to a graduate degree program, the certificate itself is not considered to be a prerequisite and does not guarantee admission into any graduate degree program. The certificate program is not intended to serve as a default system for students in a degree program who find that they are not able to complete the degree for academic or other reasons. Should a student drop out of a degree program and seek admission to a certificate program, all certificate admission requirements must be followed for admission and conferral.

Graduate credit from another institution may not be transferred to a KU graduate certificate program.

A graduate certificate program must adhere to the same standards for degree-seeking admission (grade-point average, English proficiency) and similar criteria in accordance with policies, regardless of whether certificate courses may be counted toward the related graduate degree program.

View current policies on graduate certificate eligibility.

Graduate Certificate Programs

A current list of all certificate programs is available on the Academics page.

A list of Lawrence and Edwards Campus graduate certificate programs is also available on the Graduate Studies website.

A list of graduate certificate programs offered on the KU Medical Center campus is available on the KUMC Graduate Studies website.

Policies and Processes for Graduate Certificate Programs

The graduate certificate is a focused collection of courses that, when completed, affords the student some record of coherent academic accomplishment in a given discipline or set of related disciplines. Students may be awarded these certificates upon completion of a well-defined program of course work. The didactic material comprised within a graduate certificate program may represent a more practice-oriented subset of an existing graduate discipline.

A graduate certificate program will comprise no less than 9 and generally no more than 18 credit hours of course work in a particular discipline or related disciplines of study.

All proposals for graduate certificate programs will be adopted for a 7-year time period. The certificate program will expire at the end of that period. The program may request renewal of the certificate program by sending an updated program proposal, endorsed by the department and School/College to the Executive Council of Graduate Faculty on the Lawrence campus or to the KUMC Graduate Council on the Medical Center campus. The proposal will be evaluated for an additional 7-year period. The appropriate Office of Graduate Studies will remind the graduate certificate program about its renewal one year before the graduate certificate program is scheduled to expire. If a program expires or is discontinued, no new students may be enrolled in the program and those students currently in the program will continue until completion.

Student Records Criteria

  • It is the responsibility of the degree program that houses the graduate certificate program to maintain all student records of the graduate certificate program. These records should include, but are not limited to, the number of students that apply to the program, the number accepted and denied into the program, the number of students enrolled in the program by semester, the number of students who complete the program by semester.
  • The courses taken in the graduate certificate program will be listed on the student’s transcript and recognition of the earned certificate will also be posted on the transcript.
  • The awarding of graduate certificates will coincide with the August, December and May graduations at the University of Kansas. The certificate-awarding department will forward its list of certificate recipients to the graduate division of the school/College that holds the certificate program. The graduate division will forward names of the students completing graduate certificates in a given semester to the Graduate Studies office. The same degree-granting deadline dates will apply to the awarding of graduate certificates.
  • Graduate Studies will be responsible for providing the University Registrar’s office with the names of certificate recipients along with the corresponding names of the completed certificate programs.
  • Each semester, Graduate Studies will provide departments with authorized Graduate Certificates for students who successfully complete all certificate program requirements. The department will be responsible for completing the certificates and presenting them to the students.

Graduate certificates will not be recognized by any Graduate Studies official graduation ceremony.

View current policies for graduate certificate policies and processes.

Process of Approval for New Graduate Certificate Programs

Approval Procedure — Lawrence and Edwards Campuses

Proposals for new graduate certificate programs may be created and submitted by graduate faculty in the same manner as proposals for new graduate degree programs, with the exception that all approvals are made internally at the University of Kansas. The proposal must be approved by the Provost and accompanied by endorsement from the department chairperson(s), graduate division(s) and dean(s) of the College/School(s) in which the contributing course work is administered.

After a proposal has been endorsed by the sponsoring department, graduate division, and School/College, the proposal must go to the Executive Council of Graduate Faculty. If approved the dean of Graduate Studies will forward the approved certificate proposal to the Provost for final approval.

Approval Process — Medical Center Campus

Proposals for new graduate certificate programs may be created and submitted by graduate faculty in the same manner as proposals for new graduate degree programs, with the exception that all approvals are made internally at the University of Kansas. The proposal must be approved by the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and accompanied by endorsement from the department chairperson, and dean of the school in which the contributing course work is administered.

After a proposal has been endorsed by the sponsoring department and school, the proposal must go to the KUMC Graduate Council and, if approved, will be forwarded to the Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs.

Curriculum Criteria

  • All certificate programs must be linked to a specific KU degree program(s), such that they provide a specific set of skills or knowledge base within a defined body of knowledge of the particular discipline. Certificate programs are encouraged where they might provide value-added benefits to students in existing graduate degree programs or provide a needed educational initiative for post-baccalaureate students in an area not currently addressed by a graduate degree program. These programs are not encouraged where they might detract from existing graduate programs.
  • The proposed sequence of course work must offer a clear and appropriate educational objective at the post-baccalaureate level.
  • The proposed certificate program must achieve its educational objective in an efficient and well-defined manner.
  • A statement of the proposed course sequence associated with the certificate, including titles, number of credit hours of courses, and course descriptions both for existing courses and any new courses that may be developed.
  • Graduate certificate programs may be at the post-baccalaureate, the post-master’s or post-doctoral level.
  • Graduate certificate programs must be proposed for current KU graduate students or new KU students seeking a post-baccalaureate certificate.
  • The certificate program must include an appropriate number of credit hours. In general, certificate programs should be no less than 9 credit hours. All proposals must have a maximum time to completion of no more than 4 full academic years.
  • The proposal will identify the extent to which the curriculum overlaps with the curriculum of existing degree programs.
  • The proposal will identify requirements of the program that are supplemented to the course work, including but not limited to laboratories, practicum, internships, and projects.

Faculty Criteria

Instructors in graduate certificate programs must have gained appointment to the Graduate Faculty.

New Certificate Proposal Materials

Proposals for a graduate certificate program at KU must include the following materials:

  • A statement of the educational objectives of the program.
  • A statement of the proposed course sequence associated with the certificate, including titles, number of graduate credit hours, and course descriptions both for existing courses and any new graduate courses that may be developed.
  • A statement identifying the important academic objectives of the proposed certificate program, including the range of skills and knowledge future graduates will possess. Proposals should show how the graduate certificate program complements existing courses and does not detract from existing programs.
  • A statement of how the proposed course sequence associated with the certificate will meet the stated educational objectives.
  • A statement of the need for the proposed program and the basis for such need, supported by either external or internal derived data.
  • The names of the faculty associated with or contributing to the certificate program, either by teaching the courses or advising the students within the program. All faculty associated with the program need to include up-to-date curriculum vitas.
  • The name and curriculum vita of the faculty member who will be designated as the coordinator of the program.
  • A planned date of implementation.

View current policies on new graduate certificate proposals.

For a full explanation of the approval process, see current information on graduate certificate approvals.

View current policies for graduate certificate approval.


This catalog is not itself a source of policy and does not create a contract between the University of Kansas and its students. University policy is the binding agent in the event an inconsistency is noted between the catalog and official University policy. Whenever possible the catalog provides links to the policies referenced.

Contact Info

Office of Graduate Studies, Lawrence Campus

Strong Hall
1450 Jayhawk Blvd., Room 213
Lawrence, KS 66045-7518
Thomas Heilke, Dean of Graduate Studies

Office of Graduate Studies, KU Medical Center

5015 Wescoe Pavilion
Mail Stop 1040, 3901 Rainbow Blvd.
Kansas City, KS 66160
KUMC Graduate Studies site
Allen Rawitch, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of Graduate Studies
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