How to Earn a Certificate

Certificate programs are for students preparing for entry-level employment or upgrading in a specific occupation.

To earn a UAF certificate, three sets of requirements must be satisfied: general university requirements; certificate requirements; and program (major) requirements. These requirements are all described in this section of the catalog. Requirements for each program major are found in the Certificate Programs section.

If a degree program is delivered collaboratively within the UA system (e.g., information technology specialist, early childhood education, human services, rural human services), then the credits earned from each UA institution will be counted toward fulfillment of the degree requirements and fulfillment of the minimum institutional residency requirements. Institutional residency requirements are the minimum number of credits that must be earned from the campus where the degree is earned.

Catalog Year and Time Limits

UAF defines catalog year as beginning in the fall and ending at the conclusion of the summer semester. For example, the 2023-2024 catalog year includes fall 2023, spring 2024 and summer 2024.

The certificate must be completed within five years from the term admitted. A student may change their catalog year if they were an enrolled student in a degree-seeking program during the academic year selected. If a student is not enrolled for a semester or more, or if enrolled through the non-degree student registration process, a student isn’t considered enrolled as a degree student during that time.


A certificate major is declared when upon admittance. 

Students enrolled in a certificate program who want to declare a bachelor’s degree major must apply for admission to a degree program following the standard admission process for bachelor’s degree programs. For more information on admission requirements visit How to Earn a Bachelor’s Degree.

  • Changing a Major
    Undergraduate students may change majors by completing a change of major form available from the Office of the Registrar forms page. A change of major becomes effective the semester it is submitted. Students who wish to change majors from one level to another level (e.g., from a certificate to a bachelor’s degree) must apply for admission to the degree program following the standard admission process.


An area of emphasis, including the major core courses within a student’s certificate program, is termed a concentration. Some programs at UAF require a concentration, others do not. A student may only earn one certificate or degree in a specific discipline once. Using different concentrations within a certificate or degree program to count as different degrees is not allowed.

Second Certificate

To receive an additional certificate, the requirements for each certificate must be completed. It is not required to complete any additional credits beyond the requirements for each certificate.

Exceptions to Certificate Requirements

Occasionally an undergraduate student may request an exception to an academic requirement, policy or regulation. Requests for an academic exception must be approved by petition. If a student submits a petition on the basis of a disability, the coordinator of Disability Services will be consulted. Undergraduate petition forms are available on the Office of the Registrar's forms page. Forms must be returned to the Office of the Registrar with the required approval signatures. The Office of the Registrar will note the completed petition in DegreeWorks once the appropriate person or committee has made a decision. Academic petitions fall into three categories, and each involves different processes:

  • General Education Requirement Petitions
    If a petition deals with baccalaureate general education requirements or the Associate of Arts or Science library science requirement, the advisor and the head of the department of the academic area involved must grant approval. Submit the signed petition to the Office of the Registrar. It will then be forwarded to the chair of the Faculty Senate General Education Requirement Committee for consideration.
  • Major or Minor Degree Requirement Petitions
    If the goal is to waive or substitute courses within a major or a minor's requirements, approval signatures from the advisor and the department or program head of the major or minor area. Submit the signed petition to the Office of the Registrar.
  • Petitions for Other Requirements
    If the petition deals with general university and/or specific requirements for the certificate, degree or other academic policies, approval is needed from the advisor and the dean or director of the college or school in which the major is located. Submit the signed petition to the Office of the Registrar. It will then be forwarded to the provost for consideration.

Residence Credit

Residence credit is course credit earned through any unit of UAF. Formal classroom instruction, correspondence study, distance-delivered courses, individual study or research at UAF are all considered residence credit.

Transfer credit, advanced placement credit, credit for prior learning, military service credit and credit granted through nationally prepared examinations are not considered residence credit. None of these types of credit can be applied to UAF residency requirements.

UAF residence credit takes precedence over any nonresident credit. For example, if a student has AP credit for a course, but takes the same courses at UAF, the AP credit will be excluded and the UAF course will be applied to the degree requirements.

Residency Requirement

Most universities have residency requirements that call for a certain number of credits toward a certificate or degree to be earned at the degree-granting school. At UAF, the residency requirement for certificates is 15 resident credits.

Alaska Native-themed Requirements

The Alaska Native-themed requirement is a degree requirement for all baccalaureate, associate of arts and associate of science degrees. The requirement may be met by taking a designated Alaska Native-themed course anywhere in the student's course of study, including general education requirements, major requirements, minor requirements and electives.


  • Responsibility
    It is the student's responsibility to meet all requirements for graduation. Students are encouraged to work with their advisor and use DegreeWorks throughout their college career to ensure they are on track to graduate.
  • Application for Graduation
    A formal application and non-refundable fee for graduation are required to be filed with the Office of the Registrar. Application prior to the semester planned for graduation is encouraged. If the application is filed by the published deadline the graduation application fee is $50. Late application for graduation is available by the published late graduation deadline for the semester. The fee for a late application is $80. Applications for graduation filed after the late deadline are processed for graduation the following semester. Students who apply for graduation and who do not complete degree requirements by the end of the semester must reapply for graduation and repay the fee.
  • Diplomas and Commencement
    UAF issues diplomas to graduates three times a year: in September following summer sessions, in February at the end of the fall semester and in June at the end of the spring semester. Students who complete degree requirements for UA Board of Regents-approved academic programs during the academic year are invited to participate in the annual commencement ceremony at the end of the spring semester.
    Names of students receiving degrees/certificates appear in the commencement program and are released to the media unless a written request to withhold is submitted to the Office of the Registrar. Graduates are responsible for ordering caps and gowns through the UAF bookstore in early spring.

General University Requirements for Certificates

At least 30 semester credits for a certificate, including transfer credits, must be earned at the 100-level or above. At least 15 semester credits applicable to any certificate must be earned at UAF. A minimum cumulative GPA of 2.0 is required in all work as well as in the major field. A C- grade or higher must be earned in all courses required for a degree unless otherwise specified by the program major (major, minor, general education requirements and degree requirements). Some majors require higher GPAs for major coursework.

Unless otherwise specified by the appropriate academic unit, a course may be taken more than once toward completing a degree, certificate or major requirements. However, credit hours for such courses count only once toward the total credits required for the degree or certificate.

Requirement Certificate
Minimum number of credits required 30 credits
Credits that must be earned at UAF (residence credit) 15 credits
Grade point average required 2.0 cumulative and in major
Minimum grades required for major No grade lower than C- in courses required for major. Some departments have higher requirements
Catalog year that can be used to meet requirements May use any catalog in effect when enrolled as a degree-seeking student, regardless of major; five-year limit on catalog year

Certificate Requirements

Certificate programs vary in length; however, a student can usually complete them in one year. Certificates are awarded in specific occupational fields with an emphasis on entering the job market. These certificates can serve as the basis for additional education and are the first step toward an Associate of Applied Science degree. For specific major requirements, refer to the Certificate Programs section.

If a student's degree program is delivered collaboratively within the UA system, credits earned from each UA institution will be counted toward the fulfillment of the degree requirements and fulfillment of the minimum institutional residency requirements.

A student may enroll in any course for which they are eligible. To earn a certificate, a student must formally be admitted to a certificate program and must earn at least 30 credits, including transfer credit. Fifteen semester hours must be residence credits.

A student must have a cumulative GPA of at least 2.0 in the major and overall. A minimum C- grade or higher is required in all courses required for the degree (major, minor, general education requirements and degree requirements) unless otherwise specified by the major. Some majors require higher GPAs for major coursework.

Programs of study for which certificates are granted must contain a recognizable body of instruction in the program-related areas of communication, computation and human relations. Where indicated the communication, computation and human relations requirements may be embedded within the program curriculum or taught in blocks of specialized instruction. Each approach, however, will have clearly identified content that is pertinent to the general program of study.

Note: Students planning to go on to an associate's or bachelor’s degree need to work closely with their advisors and are encouraged to select courses meeting general education requirements and courses designated within majors and minors. Courses with an X designator count toward the baccalaureate general education requirements.

Certificate Requirements

Complete one of the following:
Business English
Business Communications
Introduction to Interpersonal Communication
Fundamentals of Oral Communication: Group Context
Fundamentals of Oral Communication: Public Context
University Communications
Academic Reading for College
Writing Across Contexts
Writing and the Humanities
Writing and the Professions
Writing and the Sciences
Arguing Across Contexts
Other program-approved discipline-based communication course or discipline-based courses with embedded communication content.
Complete one of the following:
Any course at the F100-level or above in mathematical sciences (computer science, math or statistics).
Business Math
Practical Math Skills
Mathematics in Health Care
Practical Math Skills
Intermediate Algebra
Mathematics for the Trades
Other program-approved discipline-based computation course or discipline-based courses with embedded computation content.
Human Relations2-3
Complete one of the following:
Human Relations
Teaching Methods for Alaska Native Languages
Individual, Society and Culture
Child Development I: Prenatal, Infants and Toddlers
Child Development II: The Preschool and Primary Years
Child Development
Human Behavior in Health Care
Cultural Diversity in Human Services
Cross-cultural Bridging Skills
and Issues of Personal Development
Introduction to Sociology
Other program-approved discipline-based human relations or discipline-based courses with embedded human relations content.
Major Specialty
At least 21 hours of major specialty courses21
Electives to Total30