Graduate certificate programs typically involve 12 to 18 hours of graduate course work in a focused area of study, providing specialized training to help expand students’ areas of expertise, teach them about new developments in their fields, augment their professional skills and provide credentials that help advance their careers. The George Washington University’s graduate-level certificate offerings have expanded significantly in recent years to almost 90 programs. For a full list, please use our Graduate Program Finder.
Students should be wary of the word “certificate,” which can simply acknowledge participation in a workshop. Only a graduate or post-master’s certificate signifies the successful completion of graduate-level courses.
Some of GW’s graduate certificate programs are a subset of the courses in a master’s degree program, enabling students to test the waters before deciding to pursue a master’s degree. Students who are later accepted to the master’s program may be allowed to count all of their completed certificate courses toward their degrees. Or a student may pursue the graduate certificate and master’s degree concurrently.
Admission to most graduate-level certificate programs requires a bachelor’s degree and an undergraduate record indicative of readiness for graduate work. Many programs do not require admissions tests such as the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) unless or until a student seeks admission to a related master’s program. GW also offers a few post-master’s certificate programs, which require a relevant master’s degree for admission.