An undergraduate certificate, a formal award showing the satisfactory completion of a postsecondary educational curriculum, is designed primarily for students who are typically beyond the compulsory age for high school.
Certificates are awarded in academic, vocational, and continuing professional education. Penn State does not offer certificates for avocational and adult basic education. Certificates are not certifications. Certifications are awarded by governmental and professional agencies.
Certificates reflect emerging academic areas, necessary professional development requirements, or requirements that do not constitute a degree program. They may be supplements or enhancements to existing degree programs or may be stand-alone. For credit, certificates often provide "step-up" opportunities to degree programs allowing for milestones of progress.
Credit or noncredit certificates are offered. A certificate consists of a group of courses, typically 9-15 credits, developed, supervised, and evaluated by the offering academic unit(s). At least two-thirds (2/3) of the credits used to complete a certificate must be earned at Penn State. In exceptional circumstances, a certificate may have fewer than 9 credits or more than 15 credits, provided adequate justification is given to explain why. Credit courses offered for a certificate require a grade of C or higher. Noncredit courses require satisfactory completion, as defined by the unit offering the certificate.
Requirements for a certificate may be completed at any campus location offering the specified courses for the certificate. All students who enroll in certificates must be defined as Penn State students.
For more information, see policy M-12 at: http://www.psu.edu/oue/aappm