Montana State University

The Graduate School

Montana State University
P.O. Box 172580
Bozeman, MT 59717-2580

Tel: (406) 994-4145
Toll Free: 1-800-255-7962
Fax: (406) 994-4733
Location: 108 Montana Hall


Dr. Karlene A. Hoo, Dean

The Graduate School - Policies and Procedures

For Certificate Students

General Requirements
Course Limitations
Dual Certificates
Programs of Study
Applications for Advanced Degree
Summary of Procedures

    Graduate Certificate Requirements

    General Credit Requirements for Graduate Certificates

    1. Credit requirements are specific to each graduate certificate program.

    2. The Graduate School requires a Program of Study for all graduate certificate programs, but students will not be required to form a graduate committee.

    3. Graduate certificate students are subject to the same probation and suspension policies as graduate degree candidates.  Please view our Probation & Suspension policies.

    Course Limitations for Graduate Certificates

    1. A maximum of one-third (1/3) of the coursework on a graduate certificate Program of Study may be 4XX level.

    2. 3XX (or lower numbered) courses are not applicable to graduate certificate requirements.

    3. Pass/fail credits are not allowed on a graduate certificate Program of Study.

    4. Challenging courses: graduate certificate students may challenge no more than six (6) credits for application toward a certificate program. (Refer to the section on Petitions, Appeals and Grievances.)

    5. Limit on age of courses: The age of courses at the time of certificate completion may not exceed six (6) years.

    6. Once a course is taken, it cannot be removed from a Program of Study.

    7. Only three (3) credits of coursework on the Program of Study can be transfer work.  Transfer credits are defined as credits coming from an outside institution, credits taken in the non-degree status at MSU, and credits reserved for graduate credit at MSU while pursuing a bachelor's degree.

    8. Students in graduate certificate programs may pursue a master’s or doctoral degree concurrently.

    Limits on Specific Courses

    1. Seminar (594/500), Independent Study (592/570), Internship (598/576) and departmental practicum courses may not comprise more than one-third (1/3) of the minimum required credits for a graduate certificate.

    2. Undergraduate Independent Study (492/470), Professional Development (588) and Graduate Consultation (589) courses or Undergraduate Seminars (494/400) are not allowed on a Program of Study and will not count toward requirements for the certificate.

    3. Graduate Consultation (589): Registration in Graduate Consultation (589) is permitted only for graduate certificate students who need additional faculty or staff time to complete the requirements for the certificate.  Registration in 589 (Graduate Consultation) does not count toward meeting certificate credit requirements.

    4. Special Topics (591/580): This course may be included in the graduate certificate Program of Study.

    Dual Certificates

    See Dual Degree Policy

    Graduate Certificate Programs of Study

    The graduate certificate program and the student jointly develop a proposed Program of Study.  The Program of Study defines the minimum requirements for the certificate.   Other requirements as determined by the student's department may also be listed.
    The Program of Study acts as a contract between the student and the University. It may be amended through the course of the student’s graduate education. Changes to a student’s program of study must be made through the Program Change form and approved by The Graduate School.

    Program approval

    The Program of Study must be approved by the student’s department head. Final approval rests with The Graduate School.

    Filing deadlines

    The Program of Study must be submitted on an official Program of Study form to The Graduate School by the end of the first semester of graduate study.  Students failing to submit a program by this date will have a registration hold placed on their account.  Exceptions to this policy will be granted only for extraordinary reasons. A fee is associated with the filing of this form.

    When filed, attachments to the program must include transcripts of all non-MSU coursework. If the student obtained those required transcripts during the application process, they may be reused for program purposes. Changes in the program must be requested before or during the semester affected. Once a course is taken, it cannot be removed from the program.

    Application for Advanced Degree

    The semester of intended completion, the student must file an Application for Advanced Certificate form with The Graduate School.  Review of program and certificate requirements begins on the 11th class day.  Students can expect to receive email notification from the Graduate Program Officer once the review is complete. A fee is associated witht the filing of this form. Students must also enroll in at least three (3) credits, the semester they intend to complete their certificate.  If a student fails to meet semester deadlines, they must file an Application for Advanced Certificate the next semester in which they expect to graduate.  The deadline for filing the application is

             September 20 for Fall Semester
             February 5 for Spring Semester
             June 10 for Summer Semester.
    One Credit Extension

    If an Application for Advanced Certificate form is submitted after the published deadline and the student is currently registered for three credits, the student may submit the application for completion for the next term and be eligible for a one credit extension the following term (instead of the mandatory three-credit registration the term of completion).  To be eligible for the one-credit extension, the student must complete all certificate requirements before the first day of the subsequent term.  The student will be certified for completion the following term.   If more time is needed beyond the first day of the following term, the student will be required to register for at least three credits to be eligible for completion that term.

    Summary of Procedures for a Graduate Certificate




    1. Application to department and The Graduate School.

    Per departmental and The Graduate School deadlines.

    Apply on-line and consult certificate requirements for any additional documents.

    2. Graduate Program of Study.
    *extra fees apply

    By the end of the first semester of enrollment.

    Consult chair; submit the completed program to The Graduate School.

    3. Application for Advanced Certificate
    *extra fees apply

    The deadline for filing the application is before September 20 for Fall Semester, February 5 for Spring Semester, and June 10 for Summer Semester.  

    Consult chair; submit the completed form to The Graduate School.

    4. Final changes to the Program of Study.

    The deadline for filing changes is before September 20 for Fall Semester, February 5 for Spring Semester, and June 10 for Summer Semester.  

    Consult chair; submit form to The Graduate School.

    5. Completion.

    End of semester.

    See Completion section.


    The certificate will not be awarded until all requirements for the certificate are met and the candidate has been certified for completion by The Graduate School.

Back to Graduate Catalog of Policies and Procedures