Graduate certificate programs are developed by MU faculty and each certificate must adhere to the Graduate Faculty Senate’s requirements. All certificate proposals are required to demonstrate a need for such a program (e.g., market and educational needs) and offer a clear and appropriate educational objective.
A post-baccalaureate, non-degree seeking student may enroll in a stand alone certificate program as long as the admission standards for the certificate are met. Graduate certificate programs’ admission requirements may exceed the minimum admission requirements set by the Graduate Faculty Senate and verified by the Graduate School.
If approved by these two offices, graduate certificates are subject to review by the University of Missouri System’s Office of the Vice President for Academic Affairs. If approved by the UM System’s Vice President for Academic Affairs, graduate certificates are subjected to the final review of the Missouri Department of Higher Education. If approved by the Missouri Department of Higher Education, graduate certificates are submitted individually to the U.S. Department of Education for approval of federal financial aid eligibility.
Because graduate certificates are derived from currently offered degree programs and received appropriate approval from the Missouri Department of Higher Education, MU’s regional accrediting body, the Higher Learning Commission (HLC), indicated that “if the certificates are derived from currently offered degree programs then there does not to be a Commission review” (K. Solomon, 2008, personal communication).
Each proposal must explain a demonstrated need for such a certificate program. This provision may be defined in terms of either external markets (i.e., external demand for the skill associated with such a certificate) or internal academic needs (i.e., the need for a critical mass of students in a given discipline or specialization). Proposals must also address the question of the impact of the graduate certificate program on any related degree program at MU.
The proposed sequence of course work must offer a clear and appropriate educational objective at the graduate level. Proposals must include (1) a list of all courses approved for the certificate program, (2) the number of semesters required to complete the certificate, (3) a demonstration that the courses will be offered when graduate certificate program participants will need to enroll in them, and (4) a sample plan of study.
A graduate certificate program requires a minimum of 12 hours of graduate credit at the 7000, 8000 and/or 9000* level. Certificates can be no more than 30 credit hours (N.B., 30 hours is the minimum for a master’s degree). However, the majority of graduate certificates require 12 or 15 hours. Courses must be chosen from a list of core courses approved for each particular graduate certificate program. Research hours are not applicable to graduate certificate programs, nor are courses numbered 1000-6999.
Each proposal shall include a clear indication of the management structure for the proposed graduate certificate program, including (1) a designated director, who will provide administrative oversight, including but not limited to, accepting participants, maintaining participants’ files, and assessing participants’ progress toward completion of the certificate program; (2) an advisory committee, which may include representation from the professional, business, or government sectors that the program is designed to serve; and (3) a current listing of participating faculty members.
Each proposal must include a description of (1) the graduate certificate program’s capacity for adequate advising of students; (2) the measures and procedures to be used to annually evaluate the program; and (3) the resources (e.g., faculty, space, and equipment) available to successfully implement and maintain the graduate certificate program.
Send the requested documents in c/o of Anita Cowan, Graduate School, 210 Jesse Hall and e-mail an electronic copy of the approved proposal (firstname.lastname@example.org).
*Amended and Approved at the January 29, 2002 and October 28, 2008 Graduate Faculty Senate Meeting
To accommodate specific student needs, occasional single-course substitutions to the certificate Plan of Study do not require this approval process be utilized. However, routine course substitutions indicate the necessity for updating the certificate, and the process should be initiated by the Certificate Director, as soon as such a need is identified.
Minor changes to graduate certificate programs (e.g., addition or deletion of one or two courses, changes to the capstone) must include a new Plan of Study and are reviewed and approved by the Graduate School. Major changes must be reviewed and approved by the unit and college curriculum processes and the Graduate Faculty Senate, in conjunction with the Dean of the Graduate School. Once approved by Graduate Faculty Senate, graduate certificates are reviewed by the highest levels of MU’s academic administration – the Offices of the Provost and the Chancellor.