Certificate Requirements

The Graduate School at Northwestern University offers approved Graduate Certificates that enable students to gain competencies in or across fields. Some Graduate Certificates may be pursued in conjunction with a degree program while others may be pursued independent of a degree. Graduate Certificates are typically available to students currently enrolled in The Graduate School in a PhD or master’s program. Certain Graduate Certificates are available to students who are not pursuing a PhD or master’s degree and require admission into a non-degree TGS program. For a list of available certificates and links to specific certificate requirements, visit the Cluster and Certificate section of The Graduate School's website.

Students currently enrolled in a PhD or master’s program in TGS and who wish to pursue a Graduate Certificate may only do so when the Graduate Certificate goes beyond the degree program requirements and is an extension of the student’s expertise into a different field.


  • Students must complete at least five quality letter-graded course units (ABC, not P/NP or S/U) authorized for graduate credit. Individual Graduate Certificates may require additional courses or specific course requirements. See the descriptions for additional information. Students must have a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.0 for the courses counting toward the Graduate Certificate.
  • The Graduate School allows students to count courses towards both the Graduate Certificate and degree. Graduate Certificate programs may have stricter requirements. PhD and master’s students are encouraged to inquire with the Graduate Certificate Program Director about which courses may count towards both the Graduate Certificate and degree requirements.
  • Students who wish to pursue multiple Graduate Certificates may not count the same coursework for more than one certificate.

Certificate Awarding

  • In order to petition to have a Graduate Certificate awarded and appear on the transcript, students must submit the Application for a Graduate Certificate once all Graduate Certificate requirements have been completed, but no later than the time that the student files for graduation (in the final quarter of study). Each course counting toward the Graduate Certificate must be listed. The Application for Graduate Certificate requires approval by the Certificate Program Director and The Graduate School.
  • In the event that a student pursuing a PhD or master’s degree wishes to depart the University prior to completing the degree, but after having completed the requirements for the Graduate Certificate, the Graduate Certificate may still be awarded.
  • Graduate Certificates will be noted on the student’s transcript.
  • Questions should be directed to gradservices@northwestern.edu.