Certificate Programs

Purpose of Certificate Programs

A certificate program is a coherent set of academic courses that does not lead to a degree but focuses on a substantial area of study that may be practically oriented toward skills and/or occupations. Such a program is designed to meet special needs, especially those with limited time to learn specific subjects, concepts, skills, and competencies. The award of a certificate means the holder has completed the required courses and related work at an acceptable level of academic accomplishment. The certificate indicates to a prospective employer that the University validates the particular program of study.

Acceptance to Certificate Programs:

A student enrolled or eligible to enroll in the University must officially apply to their desired certificate program and complete any prescribed requirements for acceptance to that program. Such requirements and procedures may include a supplementary application, a defined set of prerequisite courses, a designated GPA, written recommendations, etc., as may be appropriate for the program in question.

Guidelines for Acceptance to Undergraduate Certificate Programs

To be accepted to an undergraduate certificate program, a student must have completed 56-semester units of undergraduate coursework with a 2.0 (C) grade point average or better. Exceptions may be permitted upon presentation of special justification to the Dean of Undergraduate Studies or appropriate program administrator for Extended Learning programs.

Students interested in pursuing an undergraduate certificate program should contact the offering department regarding specific program requirements and procedures. For certificate programs offered through Extended Learning, students should contact the program area, as shown in the program description.

Guidelines for Acceptance to Graduate Certificate Programs

Admission to Post-Baccalaureate Status

Admission to a certificate program requires a bachelor’s degree from an accredited institution, with a major in the appropriate field(s) of study, as well as a grade point average of 3.0 or better in the last 60 semester units (90 quarter units) completed. If the major is not in a related field of study, the department offering the certificate may require the student to take additional courses prior to admission.

A student who is interested in pursuing a certificate program may apply to the University as a post-baccalaureate classified student. Note: It is recommended that the student seek admission, if appropriate, to a degree program within the sponsoring department so that graduate units taken may be considered, where permitted, for later application towards a degree. No more than 12 units taken as an unclassified student may be applied toward the requirements for a graduate degree.

Continuing SF State graduate student:

A continuing SF State graduate student wishing to be admitted to a graduate certificate program at San Francisco State University is expected to follow the University requirements and procedures outlined herein and complete the prescribed program requirements of the desired certificate. Such requirements and procedures may include a supplementary application, a defined set of prerequisite courses, a designated GPA, written recommendations, etc., as may be appropriate for the program in question.

Certificate Admissions Application for Continuing SF State Graduate Students

Basic University Certificate Program Requirements

The University requirements listed in the bulletin considered a minimum and the academic department offering the program may impose additional or higher requirements for specific certificate program(s). See the specific presentation in the Academic Programs section of this Bulletin or contact the department offering the certificate for further information.

Advising and Registration

Advising assistance will be provided by the program faculty responsible for offering the program.

Registration for required courses will be accomplished by means of the normal registration process of the University or through Extended Learning registration procedures for Extended Learning certificate programs.

Applying for Award of the Certificate

The Division of Graduate Studies is responsible for evaluating the materials received and authorizing the issuance of both undergraduate and graduate certificates on behalf of the University and the appropriate department or program area. When all the requirements for either an undergraduate or graduate certificate program have been completed, students must take the steps below for the award of the certificate.

  • The student prepares a Certificate Approved Program (CAP) Form and submits the form to the certificate advisor (and/or chair) for an approval signature upon completion of certificate requirements.
  • Please see a complete list of Certificate Approved Program (CAP) forms down below. If your program form is not listed, please use Certificate Approved Program-Generic
  • The student must pay the CAP application fee ($7.00) for the award of the certificate upon CAP form submission online via the Student Center. Instructions to pay online can be found here: https://grad.sfsu.edu/content/pay-graduate-fees-online
  • CAP forms submitted through DocuSign are preferred. Students can attach a receipt of payment to the DocuSign envelope.
  • Forms routed outside of DocuSign must be submitted by the academic department directly to Khaled Ezzat via email.
  • Students who have been awarded a certificate can expect to receive a physical certificate by mail and can request an official transcript as additional confirmation of award of the certificate. Certificates will be mailed to the mailing address on your Student Center (please check and verify).