What Is an Undergraduate Certificate?

Students who would like to pursue shorter undergraduate courses of study than associate's or bachelor's degree programs may be interested in undergraduate certificate programs. Read on to find out more about how these programs work and what you could study.

Certificates Overview

Undergraduate certificate programs are designed to offer students the chance to enroll in a group of related classes. It is important to note how these programs are different from traditional degree programs. For instance, an undergraduate certificate program may pull courses together from a variety of disciplines in order to form a coherent theme, or the program may offer classes that all focus on a specific academic or technical field. Many students choose to pursue undergraduate certificate programs while concurrently working on a traditional undergraduate degree, while others choose certificate programs instead of lengthier undergraduate degree programs. Having undergraduate certificates in a particular field may benefit students when searching for employment. Many of these certificate programs can be completed entirely online.

Technical Preparation

Undergraduate certificate programs are an option for students who wish to become proficient in a technical field without committing to a full-length degree program. Many such programs are offered at two-year and four-year colleges and universities. The undergraduate certificate in technical communication at Minnesota State University, for example, aims to prepare students for a variety of communications-related positions. The program requires students to complete three core courses and then allows them to choose three elective courses that include desktop publishing, online documentation, and proposals.

Interdisciplinary Programs

Most undergraduate certificate programs encourage students to create their own curriculum by choosing courses from many disciplines that will serve a common goal. For example, students who major in neuroscience may choose to complete a related undergraduate certificate program to show that they have studied a wide range of subjects relating to their field. This interdisciplinary aspect is often at the center of undergraduate certificate programs.

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