Graduate students

Academic Plans: Graduate Certificates

Policy Number: 100206

Current Policy

Category: Academic » Definitions




Units Required for Certificate Programs

Graduate certificate programs require a minimum of 12 credit units.

Coursework Requirements

Students must apply to enter a graduate certificate program.

No more than one 400-level NAU course (3 or 4 units) may be used toward a certificate program. No more than 25% of the units required for the certificate program may be transferred from another university.

A minimum grade point average of 3.0 must be achieved to obtain a graduate certificate. No more than three units of course work with a grade of "C" may be used on a certificate program.

A graduate student may pursue a graduate certificate concurrently with a graduate degree. Each graduate degree program must decide which, if any, certificate courses can be counted toward the graduate degree.

Time Limits for Completion

All requirements for graduate certificates must be completed within a six-year period. Graduate courses taken at other institutions and petitioned to transfer to Northern Arizona University, must also be taken within the six-year period. For more information about transfer credit, see the Transfer Credit - Graduate Students policy which includes an explanation of regulations governing transfer credit for Master's Degrees.

One extension of up to one year may be approved to complete degree requirements if there are compelling or extenuating circumstances. Reasons for which an extension may be approved include, but are not limited to, job relocation, military duty, pregnancy, illness, a serious accident, divorce, or other personal tragedies directly impacting the students.

To request an extension of the six-year limit, a Petition for Extension of Time Limit for Master's Degree form must be submitted to the Graduate College. This form, which is available from the Graduate College, must be endorsed by the student’s advisor and department chair. The final decision is made by the dean or associate dean of the Graduate College.


Students who are admitted to a graduate certificate program will be eligible for the official posting of the graduate certificate to their transcripts when all applicable coursework has been successfully completed and approved by the academic unit and the Graduate College by the graduation application deadline set for each semester.

An academic unit will submit the information necessary for the official posting of the graduate certificate to the student’s transcript directly to the Graduate College on the student’s behalf by the graduation application deadline each semester.  Please note that students are ultimately responsible for ensuring official posting of the graduate certificate to their transcript when all applicable coursework for the graduate has been successfully completed.


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