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Academic Plans, Graduate Certificates

Type: Definitions
Effective Date: 3/25/2016

Units Required for Certificate Programs

Graduate certificate programs at NAU require a minimum of 12 credit units. Many graduate certificate programs require more than 12 credit units. 

Coursework Requirements

Students must be admitted to a graduate certificate program before completing requirements for the certificate. 

Students must maintain a 3.0 grade point average for all courses taken as a graduate student and all courses required in their academic plan. No more than one 400-level NAU course (3 or 4 units) may be used toward a certificate program and no more than 3 units of “C” grades may count toward a graduate certificate. See the Academic Continuation, Probation, Dismissal, and Readmission - Graduate policy in this catalog for more detailed information.  

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

Students must complete all requirements for their graduate certificate within a six-year period. Additionally, courses applied to the certificate must have been successfully completed within the 6-year time period required for completing the current certificate. 

However, the Graduate College may grant students one extension of time for up to one year to complete certificate requirements, with proper approval from the academic unit or program, if there are compelling extenuating circumstances. The reasons for which the Graduate College may grant an extension include, but are not limited to: job relocation, military duty, pregnancy, illness, a serious accident, divorce, or other life-impacting events within the student's immediate household.   

An exception to the 6-year time limit for courses may be granted by the Graduate College, with proper approval from the academic unit or program, through a request in writing to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. Application of courses beyond the 6-year time limit depend on the nature of the courses, the student’s experience in the workforce, and/or the student’s utilization of their previous coursework. However, faculty within a graduate program/department assume the responsibility to ensure these courses demonstrate the current core learning competencies, expectations, and criteria for the student’s certificate or certificate program. The age of the transfer work under consideration, or the year taken, may be a factor in the decision as to whether or not the coursework is admissible into a graduate student’s program. 

To request an extension of the six-year limit, either for completion of the certificate or applying previously earned graduate credit for courses completed beyond the time limit, students must submit a "Petition for Extension of Time Limit for Graduate Certificate" form to the Graduate College. This form, available on the Graduate College website, must be endorsed by the student's advisor and department chair. The Graduate College Dean or Associate Dean makes the final decision. 

Transfer Credits

If students have been admitted to a graduate program at NAU and have earned resident graduate credit at another institution, they can petition the Graduate College to apply such credit toward a graduate certificate. Please see Transfer Credits – Graduate Students, #100336, for details and procedures. 

Petition eligible: Yes

Graduate students may petition for an exception to any academic, non-grade-related, graduate regulation for which no specific appeal or petition process exists. Petitions should be submitted, in writing, to the Associate Dean of the Graduate College. When applicable, the student’s advisor and department chair may endorse the petition letter. In some specific instances, utilizing the Academic Appeal and University Graduate Committee Hearing Panel is more appropriate.

Students should contact the Associate Dean of the Graduate College for clarification on which process to initiate.

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