What is a Graduate Certificate?

(From the Graduate College Handbook)

A graduate certificate provides a mechanism for bestowing formal recognition of focused graduate study in a specialized area that is less comprehensive than required for a master’s degree. At Iowa State University, a graduate certificate may be earned either before, after, or concurrently with the master’s or doctoral degree. As such, the standards of admission and the standards to which a certificate student is held are equivalent to those expected of a master’s student.
Candidates for a graduate certificate must be admitted to the desired graduate certificate program in the Graduate College. All courses for a graduate certificate must be acceptable for graduate credit and each graduate certificate must require at least 12 graduate credits. A graduate supervisor will be appointed to oversee the certification for each student.
If a person who receives a graduate certificate decides to continue for a graduate degree, the person needs to seek approval from that degree program. Credits earned for the graduate certificate may also be used to meet degree requirements for the graduate degree if approved by the Program of Study Committee.


The College of Human Sciences offers the following Master of Family and Consumer Sciences certificates online:

Family Financial Planning (FFP) Graduate Certificate program

Financial and Housing Counseling (FHC) Graduate Certificate program

Food Safety and Defense Graduate Certificate (administered by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences)

Gerontology certificate program

Literacy Coaching Certificate (administered by the School of Education)

Youth Development Specialist Graduate Certificate

Youth Program Management and Evaluation Graduate Certificate

  • Contact Information

    MFCS graduate program information

    (Questions about admission, registration, etc.)

    Karen Smidt
    310 MacKay Hall
    2302 Osborn Drive
    Ames, IA 50011-1078
    Phone: 515-294-5397
    Fax: 515-294-5385

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