Excerpted from the Berkeley Compendium: Policies and Procedures for the Creation, Revision, Discontinuation, and Disestablishment of Academic Programs and Units(Office of Planning & Analysis)


A certificate program is a structured sequence of courses and requirements which focuses on a specialty/area of expertise not offered by a regular degree program and which has been reviewed and approved as specified in this document.

Types of Certificate Programs

In addition to certificate programs offered through University Extension, the Berkeley campus offers four distinct types of certificate programs: one undergraduate and two graduate academic certificate programs, as well as a continuing education/specialized professional certificate programs. All four types of certificate programs are administered by a Berkeley school, college, or other instructional unit1.

Any new courses required for an academic certificate program must be reviewed and approved by the Divisional Committee on Courses of Instruction.

Graduate Academic Certificate Programs – Two Options:

Option I Certificate:

University Certificate, conforming to Senate Regulation 735, “Certificate of Graduate Curriculum”

  1. Does not share courses/units for another degree program.
  2. Uses regular Berkeley courses.
  3. Conforms to Senate Regulation (SR) 735 Requirements:
    1. The student has completed a minimum of three quarters (or two semesters) in full-time resident study at the University of California with a grade-point average of at least 3.0. (Am 9 Mar 83)
    2. The student has during this residence taken regular upper division (100) and/or graduate (200) courses under regularly appointed faculty.
    3. The student entered the program with a bachelor’s degree or its equivalent, or with a higher degree.
    4. At the time of entry, the student was acceptable for admission to the Graduate Division.
    5. The student has completed a program approved by the Divisional Graduate Council and the Coordinating Committee on Graduate Affairs in accordance with their regular reviewing procedures for approval of higher degrees.
    6. The student’s studies are not covered by a diploma or other certificate.
  4. Proposal review requires the approval of the Graduate Council, the Divisional Council, the Vice Provost for the Faculty, and Coordinating Committee on Graduate Affairs.
  5. The certificate shall be in the following form: University Of California/Certificate of a Graduate Curriculum in (program name)/By authority of the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate/ (student’s name)/has been awarded the/Certificate of Completion of the Graduate Curriculum in/ (program name)/ upon the recommendation of the faculty of the curriculum to the Graduate Council at Berkeley/ Dated/ (signed byDean of the Graduate Division/ Dean of the School of (name) OR Chair of (Department name)/Chancellor at Berkeley/President of the University. (For precise format, see SR 735.)
  6. Requirement verification for the award of the certificate is conducted by the Graduate Division. Following approvals by the Committee on Courses of Instruction (COCI) for the Berkeley Division of the Academic Senate and the Chancellor, the certificate itself is issued by the Office of the Registrar, in accordance with the format specified in SR 735, and posted to the student’s transcript.
  7. The certificate is produced and issued by the Office of the Registrar with the seal of the University, and bearing the signatures of the dean of the school or college, the Dean of the Graduate Division, the Chancellor, and the President.

Option 2 Certificate:

Berkeley Academic Unit/s (College, School, or Department) Certificate, not conforming to SR 735 (i.e., certificate units may duplicate degree course work)

  1. may use shared courses/units for another degree program;
  2. uses regular Berkeley courses;
  3. Academic requirements:
    1. registration and enrollment in a graduate degree program at Berkeley;
    2. a program of study consisting of a minimum of three graduate-level courses and/or ninety hours of instruction (equivalent to 6 units), the content of which is reviewed and favorably supported following the administering unit’s normal process for review of new course and program proposals; each of these courses must be completed with a B grade or higher;
    3. inclusion of a required course that synthesizes aspects of the subject(s) of the program;
    4. no more than two Incomplete grades on the student’s graduate record.
  4. Proposal review requires the approval of the Graduate Council, the Divisional Council, and the Vice Provost for the Faculty.
  5. Requirement verification for the award of the certificate is undertaken by the academic unit(s), and the certificate is produced and issued by the academic unit(s).
  6. Certificate nomenclature: “College (School, or other academic unit) of X, University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Certificate in Z” issued by the academic unit(s). The seal(s) or letterhead of the particular College(s) or School(s) can be used, but not the seal of the University of California, Berkeley. The certificate will be signed by the dean(s) of the school or college or program chair(s); it will not bear the signatures of the Dean of the Graduate Division, the Chancellor, or the President. For a joint certificate program, the designation will comport with the following example: “College of X and School of Y, University of California, Berkeley, Graduate Certificate in Z.” A sample of the proposed hard copy certificate to be awarded will be required as part of the certificate proposal. The academic unit or units involved are responsible for producing and issuing the certificate.
  7. The Option 2 academic unit(s) certificate is recorded on student transcripts by the Registrar’s Office after the administrative authority designated by the academic unit(s) awarding the certificate directly provides to the Registrar (Academic Records) the names of students who have completed all requirements.

Review Process and Proposal Formats

The review processes for establishment of an academic or CESP certificate program can be found on the Office of Planning & Analysis website (PDF). A proposal to establish a certificate program should include the information specified on the format outline for the type of certificate:

Following establishment, academic certificate programs are reviewed when the administering instructional unit undergoes a standard academic program review. Such review will include student evaluation data of the certificate program.

1 Research units [including ORUs] are not instructional units and must therefore partner with a school, college, or other instructional unit in order to offer a certificate program.