Certificate Programs

Current policy reflected below. Changes to Senate Policy 59-00 (Requirements for the Minor) pending implementation. (Note: Policy will be renumbered 59-10 and the title will change to Minors and Certificates.)

The University offers both noncredit and credit certificates. These programs may stand alone or provide a credential for an interest area. Credit certificate programs may supplement a degree program or they may provide a stepping-stone toward a degree or a minor. A student can complete the requirements for a certificate at any campus location if the required courses are available. The Registrar's office provides details on the Certificate Process.

Noncredit Certificate Programs

Information about noncredit programs can be found by entering "noncredit certificate" as keywords in a search on the Penn State website.

Credit Certificate Programs

Information about credit certificates is provided in the Undergraduate Degree Programs Bulletin under Certificate Programs. Certificate programs can also be identified by interest area. Additional information can be obtained from the academic unit responsible for a certificate and/or the point of contact listed in the bulletin description.

Credit and Grade Requirements

Undergraduate credit certificates typically consist of a minimum of 6 credits and a maximum of 30 credits. Certificates are typically flexible to accommodate the breadth of a field of study and the educational needs of the students.

Only Penn State courses can meet certificate course requirements. Credits earned in other ways (e.g., transfer, AP) are not acceptable.

All credit courses for a certificate require a grade of 'C' or higher. All noncredit courses for a certificate require satisfactory completion, as defined by the unit offering the certificate.

Student Action

  1. Learn about the undergraduate certificate programs in the bulletin.
  2. If you identify a certificate of interest, determine if you can complete it: Required courses may be controlled, have prerequisites, or be unavailable at your campus. Before beginning coursework to meet certificate requirements, use the Minor Planning Checklist and Minor Worksheet to determine if the certificate is attainable.
  3. Discuss the certificate that interests you with your adviser to determine how the certificate could be incorporated into your academic plan.
  4. Request enrollment in the certificate program by contacting the person listed in the bulletin under the description of each certificate program.
  5. When you have completed all the requirements for the certificate, request that it be approved and recorded by notifying the person listed in the bulletin description.

If you completed certificate requirements but were not enrolled in the program, you may submit a request for retroactive approval to the academic unit offering the certificate.

Records and Documentation

When a student completes a certificate, a notation is made on his/her transcript that includes the semester of completion and the certificate title, for example:


The notation is made for both noncredit and credit certificates.

Last Update: June 2015

Reference(s): Academic Administrative Policies and Procedures Manual, M-12