Graduate Certificate Frequently Asked Questions

How is a graduate certificate different from a graduate program?

A graduate certificate program is one type of graduate program. Graduate certificate programs are different from master’s or doctoral programs in the following ways:

  • Admissions process is usually faster and easier
  • Fewer courses required
  • Lower overall cost
  • No thesis or dissertation requirements

How is a graduate certificate different from an undergraduate program?

The curriculum in a graduate certificate program is usually more intense and more rigorous than what you would get in an undergraduate certificate or bachelor’s degree program. It takes much less time to complete than a bachelor’s degree. Class sizes are often smaller, and students often benefit from closer collaborations and networking with their classmates and professors than they would in undergraduate programs.

How do I know if a graduate certificate is right for me?

Academically, a graduate certificate is right for you if one of the following conditions applies:

  • You need just a few graduate courses to reach your goals, not a full degree, or —
  • You want to add another area of specialization to a graduate degree you are earning

Financially, a graduate certificate is right for you if one of the following conditions applies:

  • You can pay for the cost of the program without loans or assistantship support, or —
  • Your employer will reimburse you for courses after you successfully complete them, or —
  • You enroll in a graduate certificate program that is eligible for federal financial aid, or —
  • You are also enrolled in a master’s or doctoral program, and your financial aid will cover the certificate courses because they also count toward your larger degree program.

How long does getting a graduate certificate take?

Most graduate certificates require at least two semesters of coursework, which takes 7 – 12 months to complete. Students may complete the certificate over a longer period if desired. If you take just 1 course per semester, you can complete a graduate certificate in 2 -3 years.

How much does it cost to get a graduate certificate?

Note: These figures represent the total cost of the program, not the total cost per semester. The amount you pay per semester will depend on how many courses you take. A single course per semester for an in-state student costs approximately $1160. Military students (veteran and active) are eligible for in-state rates regardless of where they currently live.

Tuition + fees for students in Arkansas and states bordering Arkansas:

12 credit-hour certificate: $5340 – $5640

15 credit-hour certificate: $6675 – $7050

18 credit-hour certificate: $8010 – $8460

Tuition + fees for non-resident students (US states not bordering Arkansas, international students)

12 credit-hour certificate: $9200 – $10380

15 credit-hour certificate: $12750 – $12975

18 credit-hour certificate: $15300 – $15570

Students in the UA Little Rock Online grad certificates (7 total programs) are charged a discounted rate for tuition and fees, regardless of where they live:

12 credit-hour certificate: $4596 (or $4140 for military students)

15 credit-hour certificate: $5745 (or $5175 for military students)

18 credit-hour certificate: $6894 (or $6210 for military students)

Are classes for graduate certificates available online? At night? On the weekend?

Each graduate certificate program has its own scheduling options. You should check with your certificate program’s coordinator to learn when the courses you want are offered. Because many UA Little Rock graduate students work full time, many graduate certificate programs have courses available during evening or online.

Do you offer scholarships for graduate certificates?

Scholarships are rarely available for graduate certificate programs. Your certificate program’s coordinator can tell you if scholarship awards are available in your program’s department.

How would a graduate certificate help me in my career?

Graduate certificate programs are a great way to add new knowledge and skills to your resume without having to earn a new undergraduate or graduate degree. They can help you qualify for promotions or new responsibilities in your current organization, help you add an area of specialization that will make you stand out from other job applicants, or help you transition into a new career.

Who do I contact about learning more about graduate certificates?

The best source of information about each graduate certificate program is that program’s coordinator.

To apply to a graduate certificate program, visit

For help with completing the application, contact:

Nicole Godfrey – Enrollment Management Specialist (

Paula Baker – Director of Graduate Admissions (

What is a Graduate Certificate?

Frequently Asked Questions about Graduate Certificates