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Guidelines for Doctoral Certificate Proposals

Proposals pertain to certificates for currently enrolled doctoral students.

Academic units may propose clusters of three to five courses which enable Ph.D. candidates to acquire interdisciplinary training extending beyond the doctoral program in which they are enrolled. Such proposals will be reviewed and approved by the Graduate Council. Students’ enrollment in such programs and their progress in meeting requirements will be overseen by the academic unit. Successful completion of this coursework (and any associated capstone or other required learning component) will be recognized on the transcript with a notation indicating the field of advanced study. Although approved programs may be informally described as “certificates,” no separate document will be awarded by the Registrar.

Graduate certificates offer opportunities to address interdisciplinary or specialized educational goals and to respond quickly to emerging scholarly and professional areas. Students must be doctoral students currently enrolled in a Brown degree program.

Proposals for doctoral certificates originate at the academic unit and are submitted to the Graduate Council for consideration. Doctoral certificate programs requiring significant new resources may have to be approved by the Academic Priorities Committee.

Doctoral certificate programs must meet the following guidelines:

  • Consist of a minimum of three and a maximum of five approved graduate-level courses.
  • May incorporate a writing, teaching, practicum, field work, internship, or similar learning component. Such additional components will be expected for those doctoral certificates at the three-course minimum.
  • Administered by one department, program, center or institute, but can be interdisciplinary in nature.
  • Constitute an integrated curriculum with coherent learning goals and outcome measures.
  • Designed to enhance the education of doctoral students and have demonstrated value to students.
  • Be clearly distinct from a master’s degree.

The Graduate School has prepared a template to assist academic units in preparing proposals for doctoral certificates. For additional guidance, please contact Associate Dean Thomas A. Lewis.