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Graduate School


Graduate Certificate Programs

The goal of Graduate Certificate (GC) programs at NDSU is to provide didactic course experiences that form a distinct knowledge or skill set identified as a named certificate. Origination and planning of each GC will occur within Graduate Certificate program committees hosted by an academic program. Interdisciplinary programs are encouraged, and in such cases, primary contributors will be listed as host programs.


Applicant must

  1. Have a baccalaureate degree from an educational institution of recognized standing.
  2. Provide official transcripts documenting any and all degrees.
  3. Be approved for admission by the program administrator hosting the graduate certificate program and by the Dean of the Graduate School.
  4. Have an academic adviser assigned by the program administrator of the respective Graduate Certificate program before being admitted by the Graduate School.
  5. If English is not the applicant's first language, have a TOEFL or IELTS score equivalent to that needed for GM or GD programs in the unit or provide sufficient documentation of adequate or better English language proficiency.
  6. Admission into a Graduate Certificate program does not guarantee admission into a graduate degree program nor imply the waiver of any requirements for admission into a graduate degree program.


  1. Only grades of C or higher will satisfy requirements for course completion. Cumulative GPA on all credits taken at NDSU since admission as a GC, GM, or GD student must be 3.0 or better.
  2. Candidates apply for certificate issuance using a form provided by the Graduate School.
  3. The Dean of the Graduate School, using official NDSU transcripts, will verify course completion and issue a certificate. Upon issuance of the certificate, the dean will notify the program administrator hosting the GC program.
  4. Courses used to satisfy the Graduate Certificate program requirements cannot be older than seven years at the time the certificate completion is verified.
  5. There might be a public recognition of individuals who complete Graduate Certificate programs.
  6. Transcripts will list Graduate Certificate program and the names(s) of the completed certificate program(s).


The Graduate School will administer GC programs.

  1. Each GC program will be determined by a committee. Each committee will be comprised of three to five graduate faculty members. The committee must determine the program outcome(s) and designate the courses that meet that outcome. Graduate Faculty committee members must indicate their approval by signing the final program description. The host program administrator(s) must also sign in approval. Committee chairs must be full members of the NDSU Graduate Faculty and be selected by the committee. The chair will reconvene the committee at least annually, and whenever program changes are appropriate, to review the program.
  2. Committees will provide outcome or descriptive information to the Graduate School that will establish and maintain a Web site to advertise and explain NDSU graduate certificate programs to potential candidates. The site will list courses for each certificate, admission requirements, past completers (with permission), etc. The Graduate School must be sure that the site is updated at least annually.
  3. Graduate Certificate program candidates who do not have active Graduate Master's (GM) or Graduate Doctorate (GD) classifications will be classified as GC.
  4. Since GC is not a degree track, federal Title IV student financial assistance and tuition waivers will not be available for students classified as GC.
  5. Students classified as GM or GD may pursue Graduate Certificate programs.
  6. Program administrators will monitor and report GC completions in program reviews, annual reports, and other summative documents. Faculty should be given credit for GC participation in merit/tenure considerations.

Approval Process for Graduate Certificate Programs

The approval process will be the same as that of degree programs. The usual supporting documentation is outlined:

Signatures are required from

  1. Program administrator(s) of the host academic program(s)
  2. College Curriculum Committee
  3. Academic Dean
  4. Graduate Council and Dean of the Graduate School
  5. University Academic Affairs Committee
  6. University Senate
  7. State Board of Higher Education

Curriculum Development

  1. Committees will develop programs with a minimum of 8* credits in specific graduate-level didactic courses which can be completed preferably within one year but no more than three years.
    * Different certificates may have higher credit requirements.
  2. No more than 3 transfer credits may be applied towards the certificate. Any transfer credits must be approved by the GC program committee.

Review and Maintenance

  1. The Graduate School will ask the University Senate Program Review Committee to include Graduate Certificate programs as a separate section of its review of programs.
  2. The Graduate School will request that the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs ask the State Board of Higher Education to drop a Graduate Certificate program at any such time as 1) there have been no certificates issued in any three-year period or 2) following the recommendation of a Graduate Certificate committee that its program be dropped.
  3. The Graduate School will provide a yearly report on the state of NDSU Graduate Certificate programs to the Graduate Council, the University Senate Academic Affairs Committee, the Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, each academic dean, and the Director of Distance and Continuing Education.
  4. The Dean of the Graduate School or a designee will interview (in person or by phone) each person completing a Graduate Certificate program.
  5. The Dean of the Graduate School or designee will obtain evaluative information about NDSU Graduate Certificate programs from the employers of certificate program completers who give the Dean of the Graduate School permission to obtain such evaluative information and from other sources such as professional associations.

The purpose of this bulletin is to provide information about the graduate programs of North Dakota State University. It should not be considered an offer or a contract. While every effort has been made to make this information as complete and accurate as possible, it should be noted that changes may occur at any time in the requirements, course offerings, fees, etc. listed in this bulletin. However, students are allowed to meet the degree requirements in effect at the time of first enrollment as a degree-seeking student, provided the student is able to complete the degree requirements reflected in the appropriate bulletin within the stated time frame and the student has maintained continuous enrollment status.

It is the responsibility of the student to be familiar with and complete the requirements for the degree being sought.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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NDSU Graduate School
Phone: +1 (701) 231-7033
Campus address:  106 Putnam Hall
Physical/delivery address:  NDSU Graduate School/106 Putnam Hall/1349 12th Avenue Northwest/Fargo, ND 58102
Mailing address:  NDSU Dept. 2820/PO Box 6050/Fargo, ND 58108
Page manager: NDSU Graduate School

Last Updated: Friday, March 07, 2014 4:02:46 PM