Proficiency and certificate programs (e.g., Ph.D. Teaching Proficiency Program, Business for Bioscientists Certificate Program) were developed to provide transferable skills and to stimulate career exploration for students engaged in graduate studies at UNMC. This document is intended to provide uniform guidelines for student participation in these programs.
For the purpose of this document: “Advisor” denotes the student’s Supervisory Committee Chair (a.k.a. Supervisor, mentor, or PI); “Program Director” denotes the chair of the Graduate Committee overseeing the program or subplan in which the student is enrolled; and the term “Certificate program” encompasses academic programs typically requiring 12-15 credit hours for completion and appearing on a student’s graduate transcript, as well as structured proficiency programs consisting of activities having time commitment, performance and productivity expectations similar to standard academic courses.
These guidelines address participation of degree-seeking graduate students supported by full-time (0.33-0.49 FTE) assistantships. Certificate programs required for licensure or career development of health care professionals are not covered by these guidelines. Career development workshops, boot camps, internships, and career mentoring activities are not covered by these guidelines.
Certificate programs are not required components of graduate degree programs at UNMC. Therefore, coursework completed in these programs cannot be used to satisfy curricular requirements for a graduate degree unless the course is already part of degree requirements or approved as such by the student’s Supervisory Committee. Failure to successfully complete a certificate or proficiency program will not prevent awarding of a graduate degree in programs offered by UNMC, unless poor grades in certificate coursework result in a cumulative graduate GPA < 3.00 or a grade of Incomplete in certificate coursework remains on the student’s graduate transcript.
Criteria for participation. All graduate students (domestic and international) in good academic standing are eligible to participate in certificate programs. Good academic standing requires meeting the minimum standards for academic performance and expected progress toward the degree as set by the UNMC Graduate Council.
Individual graduate programs may establish other specific criteria by which students become eligible to participate in certificate programs. These criteria should be clearly stated in the curriculum description for the program provided online or in the program’s student handbook.
Enrollment in a certificate program is prohibited if participation will interfere with timely completion of core curriculum requirements, or will delay completion of the comprehensive exam or final oral exam (thesis or dissertation defense).
- Prior to applying to a certificate program. At least three months before the application deadline for the certificate program, the student must submit to the Office of Graduate Studies the Approval Form for Graduate Assistant Participation in Certificate Programs. All fields on the form must be completed, including the following:
- Identification of the source(s) of funds to cover tuition and fees. Limited funding (typically ≤ 50% of the cost) may be available on a competitive basis from the Office of Graduate Studies. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for information about current funding availability.
- Signatures of the student’s Advisor and the Program Director, testifying to the student’s satisfactory academic performance and progress. This certification must be based on review of transcripts, assessment of progress toward the degree, and the research Advisor’s point of view.
- Recurring recertification. After enrolling in a certificate program, permission for continued participation is based upon the student’s satisfactory academic performance and progress toward degree, as assessed every 6 months at the student’s Supervisory Committee meeting. Based on this evaluation, written recertification by the student’s Advisor and Program Director must be provided in writing to the Office of Graduate Studies prior to registering for certificate courses each semester.
- Participation in a certificate program is “on the student’s own time” and time dedicated to such activities during normal working hours must be “made up” in the evenings or on weekends. Participants who fail to maintain satisfactory progress toward the degree or who reduce research effort may be required to withdraw from the certificate program and may lose the privilege to participate in the future.