Graduate Certificates offered by the University of Missouri verify the successful completion of a specified group of graduate courses designed to provide proficiency in a given discipline or a set of related disciplines. The didactic material for a graduate certificate may represent a more practice-oriented subset of an existing graduate discipline. Graduate Certificate programs are developed by MU faculty experts within the academic disciplines and each certificate must adhere to the MU Graduate Faculty Senate’s requirements; 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.
Graduate certificate programs may be created as
(1) part of one or more graduate degree programs or
(2) a stand-alone graduate certificate program independent of a degree program or
(3) both of the above.
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 exceeed the minimum admission requirements set by the Graduate School.
Availability of Student Financial Aid Differs by Certificate Type
Degree-dependent graduate certificate programs are federal financial-aid-eligible. Students only enrolled in stand-alone graduate certificates are potentially eligible for federal financial aid. Students enrolled only in a stand-alone graduate certificates are not eligible for scholarships, fellowships, assistantships, tuition waivers, etc. from the Graduate School or University of Missouri.
Federal Disclosure Requirements for Stand Alone Certificates
Since 2011 all stand alone certificates have been classified as “programs that lead to Gainful Employment” and as such, are subject to federal mandates. All “GE Programs” are required to disclose accurate and pertinent information to prospective students about the costs and benefits of the GE programs, such as tuition, time-to-completion, and placement rates. Further, the University is required to notify the US Department of Education when a proposed GE Program desires to be listed as a Title IV eligible program.
To remain in compliance, all stand alone graduate certificate program proposals must include the completed GE Reporting and Disclosure form.
Review, Approval and Notification
MU’s Graduate Faculty Senate, in conjunction with the Associate Vice Chancellor, completes the initial review of all Graduate Certificates. Once approved by Graduate Faculty Senate, Graduate Certificates are reviewed by the highest levels of MU’s academic administration - the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Chancellor. 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.
Since Graduate Certificates are derived from currently offered degree programs and received appropriate approval from the Missouri Department of Higher Education, it is our understanding from our communication with Dr. Karen Solomon at the Higher Learning Commission (HLC) that “if the certificates are derived from currently offered degree programs then there does not to be a Commission review.” Hence, the letter provided from the HLC in June 2008 concerning Certificates still applies and is included.