Undergraduate Certificate Policies and Procedures Update

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Undergraduate Certificate Policies and Procedures Update

To: Academic Advisors, Student Support Personnel, and Students


Neel Ghosh, Chair, Undergraduate Council

Abbie Sorg, Assistant Registrar, Academic Catalog and Policy

Subject: Undergraduate Certificate Policies and Procedures Update

Date: December 21, 2020

In October 2020 the Undergraduate Council (UGC) received a proposal from the office of Curricular Affairs to update the Undergraduate Certificate policies and procedures. The updates have the effect of enabling students to use up to 50% of their certificate coursework to satisfy requirements for their major, minor, second certificate or previous degree program. The updates also have the effect of enabling departments that offer undergraduate certificates greater than the minimum of 12 units to make small adjustments to curricular requirements as part of the annual curriculum update process already utilized for undergraduate majors and minors. This policy update was reviewed and approved by the Undergraduate Council, College Academic Administrators Council, and Faculty Senate during the Fall 2020 semester. The full policy can be found online.

The changes to the policies and procedures are effective immediately.

Items Affected by the Grade Replacement Opportunity Policy Update

Certificate Approval and Modification Procedures

  1. Substantial changes to the originally approved certificate shall be approved by Curricular Affairs, Undergraduate Council (UGC), and College Academic Administrators Council (CAAC) prior to implementation. The threshold for substantial change is defined by Curricular Affairs.

Certificate Policies

  1. Minimum number of units:
    1. An undergraduate certificate must consist of at least twelve (12) units of credit, regardless of a student's status when the credits were earned (current degree seeking or prior non-degree seeking).*
    2. At least six (6) units of credit must be upper division UA course work.
    3. No more than 50% of the units of credit used to complete the certificate can also be used for a current degree requirement (i.e., major, minor, or General Education), second certificate, or previously awarded degree program.**

** This double-use policy would not impact students enrolled in previously approved certificates who may be double-dipping more than 50% of units.


  • The Undergraduate Certificate Definition, Procedures, and Policies were originally written with small plans in mind, usually consisting of 12-18 units of credit. Since the policy was initially approved, it has become clear that some undergraduate certificates with a larger number of units may be proposed.
    • The limits on duplication of credit that were originally drafted as 6 units have been updated to 50% of units; for most 12-unit certificates this will have no effect, but it enables larger certificates to be structured appropriately based on the needs of the offering department and the certificate students.
    • The initial requirement for all changes to certificates to be approved through shared governance was drafted with 12-unit certificates in mind; requiring only substantial changes to be approved through shared governance aligns the procedures for certificates with those already in place for majors and minors, and allows departments to more nimbly make regular updates to certificate requirements. 

Questions about the Undergraduate Certificate Policies and Procedures may be addressed to Abbie Sorg, Assistant Registrar, at asorg@arizona.edu.  Students with questions about the double use of certificate coursework should contact their academic advisor for guidance.

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