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Definition: Graduate Certificate

A graduate certificate is a stand-alone credential that typically consists of 12-15 credit hours of graduate coursework in a focused area of study.  The graduate certificate or post-master’s graduate certificate may provide individuals with specialized training in a particular academic and/or occupational area, as well as augment professional skills to help advance their careers. 

Many of UNC Charlotte’s graduate certificate programs consist of a subset of courses required for a master’s degree, so they enable individuals to quickly gain admission and begin a program of study before committing to a master’s degree.  Credit hours earned in a certificate program may be applied to a master’s or doctoral program pursued either in conjunction with or after the certificate has been awarded.  Note that credits earned in a certificate program may not be used to satisfy the requirements of a second certificate program.

Visit the Graduate Admissions website to search for Certificate programs and areas that may interest you.  There, you can learn about the admissions process, and begin your application.

Look - listen - learn

Hear what UNC Charlotte graduate certificate students and faculty have to say about advancing their career and personal knowledge by completing a graduate certificate.

Jon Shea
Bioinformatics Technology

Kristen Reynolds
Africana Studies

Dr. Ertunga C. Ozelkan
Systems Analytics

Dr. Ertunga C. Ozelkan
Graduate Certificates in Engineering


"I was an employee of UNC Charlotte when I decided to consider the field of Gerontology.  I began with a course called the Sociology of Aging and found myself intrigued by a field I knew nothing about.  Shortly after graduating with a graduate certificate in Gerontology, I was accepted to the master’s program where I learned about the different careers in aging.  Having my master’s has certainly paved the way to my career growth in senior living.  My first position was a Memory Care Program Director for Emeritus and after 3 months of being in that role, I was promoted to the Community Relations Director.  I now work for Brookdale Senior Living, the largest senior living company in the nation where I was recently promoted to Director of Business Development.  Being a student in UNC Charlotte’s Gerontology program, networking, participating in internships, being a member of Sigma Phi Omega and trusting in God has helped me to be where I am today.  It may seem like an unknown field but once you are involved in senior living and healthcare, a world of opportunities open.  I am so blessed to have chosen this career."

Chanel Jackson

"I chose UNC Charlotte because it’s the only distance education program in the state that has an Autism specialty and the Adapted Curriculum for helping children who have significant needs.  Having this program that is so unique and tailored specifically to the needs of people who have Autism means that there will be more educators.  There will be more social workers.  There will be more professionals in the State of North Carolina who are able to meet the unique needs for the range of children and adults with different types of Autism."  Hear more from Kelcey.

Kelcey Allen
Autism Spectrum Disorders
Special Education – Adapted Curriculum

"Thanks to the Health Informatics graduate certificate program at UNC Charlotte, I am very well prepared and ready to tackle a job in the IT industry, particularly in a field related to clinical software. I believe Health Informatics is important because by utilizing technology, you can spend more of your time taking care of your patient at the bedside and less time all mired up in the logistics of how to document and plan that care."

Andy Craig
Health Informatics

"The program opportunities at UNC Charlotte were appealing because they allowed me the opportunity to interweave my learning experiences to create a more interdisciplinary approach towards my master’s degree in English.  I chose to enroll in the Gender, Sexuality, and Women’s Studies Graduate Certificate program to further develop and articulate my research interests in Children’s Literature and to complement my current studies in Rhetoric and Composition. Not only did the Certificate complement my current work, but I could earn it in half the time! Because much of my English coursework includes women’s writing and gender studies, my hours have the potential to double-count. Earning a Graduate Certificate is helping me to build a foundation on which I can continue in Gender and Women’s Studies, opening up possibilities for future study and for jobs."

Hannah Mayfield
Gender, Sexuality, and Women's Studies