Certificates

View a list of undergraduate certificates offered by CLAS.

Certificates generally require a curriculum of around 18 to 21 s.h. of coursework.

Certificates may be awarded by CLAS in conjunction with a degree or may be earned without the baccalaureate. In this way, certificates are different from minors which may only be earned with the baccalaureate. Students wanting to enter UI and CLAS for the purpose of earning a certificate without a degree apply to CLAS as a non-degree seeking student.

Certificates may not duplicate an existing major, minor, or other certificate. Please talk to the Associate Dean for Undergraduate Programs and Curriculum before writing the proposal to ensure that the resulting certificate will not be duplicative. Generally, a certificate is seen as duplicative if it has the same or similar title of another program of study or uses courses in similar configurations to those in existing minors, certificates, or majors.

Certificates usually are interdepartmental in nature and are offered by several or more departments or areas, engaging students in a focused study of an interdisciplinary topic that complements other degree work or provides specialized training unavailable from other programs.

Certificates may also concentrate on a specific area or content not yet addressed by existing majors, minors, or certificates.

The College generally does not approve certificates that restrict enrollment by selective or competitive admissions to the program. Students may be asked to complete prerequisite courses before taking those required for the certificate but otherwise CLAS certificates almost never have particular declaration standards or procedures to limit enrollment.

CLAS certificates, regardless of their mode of offering, are all governed by the same CLAS policies. Some certificates use only face-to-face courses and are not available to distance learners. Other certificates use a variety of offering modes but with the primary goal of reaching on-campus students. Some certificates appeal mostly to distance learners with the course work offered only online but with on-campus students welcome to take these courses and to earn the certificate. The mode of offering of a certificate might be in flux, but the policies for CLAS all certificates remain the same.

Likewise, the requirements for any one certificate apply to all students earning it, regardless of the student’s primary UI college or enrollment type. For example, one student may earn the CLAS certificate online while pursuing a degree at a different university; another might earn the certificate at the Des Moines Center while a on-campus student in Iowa City might earn the same certificate by taking the courses online. In other words, although students' enrollment  may differ by location or course mode of offering, the requirements of a certificate are identical for all students. Exceptions are not made by or for particular enrollment types.

When completing the requirements specified for multiple programs of study, such as for a minor, certificate, or major, the double counting of course work is limited to 6 s.h. Note: The General Education Program courses are not included in this policy. There is no restriction on the times a GE course may be counted for different programs of study.

A grade point average of at least 2.00 must be earned in all work attempted as part of the certificate. No course taken Pass/Nonpass may be used as part of a certificate. Courses graded S/F may be used at the discretion of the offering department or program.

The department or program also determines whether transfer course work or credit earned by examination may be used to earn the certificate. The  College recommends that a only very small mount of credit be accepted in the manner, such as 3 s.h.

Students in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences may earn certificates offered by the College and by other colleges in the University. Other academic polices pertaining to students and their academic standing, their grades, and related policies are the same for certificates as for other programs in CLAS. See these policies in the  Academic Policies Handbook.

There are several procedural differences for students earning a certificate as a non-degree seeking student.

  1. Transfer credit is not evaluated by Admissions for students earning only a certificate and not a degree. Instead, departments will evaluate the student's transfer work if so requested by the student and  will decide, within the boundaries of transfer credit allowed, if any should be accepted toward the certificate. The department will then grant the student a waiver for that particular requirement, notifying the Registrar of the exception.
  2. Students completing the certificate but not the degree will need to notify the Registrar of their completion of the requirements so that the certificate may be conferred.

View guidelines for creating or modifying an undergraduate certificate.

See the UI Graduate Manual for information on procedures for approving new graduate programs, including certificates.