Certificate of Graduate Study and Specialist Requirements

Certificate Programs

The Certificate of Graduate Study is a program of a minimum of 12 semester hours of graduate course work. The University of South Carolina currently offers the following certificate programs.

  • Accounting and Audit Analytics, Certificate

  • Adult Gerontology-Acute Care Nurse Practitioner, Certificate

  • Aging, Certificate

  • Applied Statistics, Certificate

  • Artificial Intelligence, Certificate

  • Business Analytics, Certificate

  • Cost Management, Certificate

  • Counselor Education, Certificate (Career Development Facilitator)

  • Cybersecurity Management, Certificate

  • Cyber Security Studies, Certificate

  • Data and Communication, Certificate

  • Drug and Addiction Studies, Certificate

  • Enterprise Resource Planning Systems, Certificate

  • Environmental Nanoscience and Rise, Certificate

  • Family Nurse Practitioner, Certificate

  • Global Health, Certificate

  • Global Strategy, Certificate

  • Healthcare Leadership, Certificate

  • Health Communication, Certificate

  • Higher Education Leadership, Certificate

  • Historical Archaeology and Cultural Resource Management, Certificate

  • Human Resources, Certificate

  • Information Security and Cyber Leadership, Certificate

  • International Finance, Certificate

  • International Market Development, Certificate

  • Interscholastic Athletic Administration, Certificate

  • Maternal and Child Health, Certificate

  • Museum Management, Certificate

  • Music Performance, Certificate

  • Nursing Informatics, Certificate

  • Play Therapy, Certificate

  • Psychiatric Mental Health Nurse Practitioner, Certificate

  • Psychiatric Rehabilitation, Certificate

  • Qualitative Research, Certificate

  • Railway Engineering, Certificate

  • Social and Behavioral Health with Military Members, Veterans, and Military Families, Certificate

  • Specialized Study in Information Science, Certificate

  • Teaching English to Speaking of Other Languages, Certificate

  • Women's and Gender Studies, Certificate

Certificate Degree Requirements

At least half of the program course work must consist of required courses although all hours may be prescribed; at least half the total hours in the program of study must be in courses at the 700 level or above; and at least half of the hours required for a certificate must be University of South Carolina credits. There is no residency requirement, but all courses must be completed within six years of enrollment. 

Certificate Program of Study

A program of study is a list of courses that satisfy the requirements for the certificate. Every degree-seeking student, including students enrolled in a certificate program, must complete a program of study (POS) form approved and signed by student’s academic advisor, and approved by the graduate director of the program that administers the certificate and the dean of the Graduate School. The signed POS is sent to the Graduate School and placed in the student’s file. This formal agreement serves a number of purposes that benefit both the student and the University. It causes the student and advisor to engage in early planning with a specific goal in mind; it provides information on program requirements and for the planning of course offerings; it facilitates subsequent advisement; and it protects the student in the event of unexpected curriculum or faculty changes. The student must file a completed POS form prior to graduation. If necessary, an approved program of study can be modified with a Request for Program Adjustment (G-RPA) form.

Transfer Credit

Course work not part of a completed certificate program or graduate degree from USC or another institution may be transferred for credit toward a Certificate of Graduate Study or Specialist Degree. No more than 6 hours of credit may be transferred into graduate programs of 12 to 17 hours; no more than 9 hours of credit may be transferred into graduate programs of 18 or more hours. Only credits with grades of B or better (equivalent to 3.0 on a 4.0 grading scale) may be transferred from another institution into a Certificate or Specialist program

Course work transferred for credit toward a Certificate of Graduate Study or Specialist Program must be from an accredited institution and must be no more than six years old at the time of graduation.

Course work transferred from another institution for credit toward a graduate certificate or specialist program must be relevant to the program and have course content and a level of instruction equivalent to that offered by the University’s own graduate programs. Approval for acceptance of transfer credit to a student’s program of study must be approved and justified by the student’s academic department and submitted to the dean of the Graduate School for final approval on the request for transfer of academic credit (G-RTC) form.

Transient Enrollment Privilege

A USC graduate student in a certificate program seeking transient enrollment privilege at another institution should complete and submit the Special Enrollment Request (AS-30) form available on the Office of the Registrar’s website to the dean of The Graduate School for approval. Before enrolling in graduate courses at another institution, students should contact the graduate director of the certificate program for permission to enroll and to ensure that the credits from the other institution will be approved for inclusion on the student’s certificate program of study.

Revalidation of Out-of-Date Courses

Students enrolled in a certificate program may, with permission of the academic department administering the certificate, request revalidation of USC graduate courses over six years old for inclusion in the certificate program of study. Each academic program will determine whether a course is appropriate for revalidation. The Permit for Revalidation Examination (PRE) form must be completed and submitted to the dean of The Graduate School for approval prior to revalidation. Proof of payment of required fees must be submitted with the Permit for Revalidation Examination form. Complete revalidation instructions available: http://gradschool.sc.edu/forms/pre.pdf.

Note: Coursework taken at other institutions may not be revalidated.

Application for Graduation and Degree Audit

All students enrolled in a certificate or specialist program must file the application for degree/graduation available on the website of the Office of the University Registrar with the Graduate School within 5 class days of the start of the fall or spring semester in which the degree is to be awarded, or within the first 10 class days of Summer Session if the degree is to be awarded at the end of the summer. Although some departments do not require students to provide the academic program with copies of the application for graduation, the Graduate School recommends that students do provide a copy to the academic program to facilitate assessment of degree requirements. Applicants are encouraged to consult with the academic program to confirm that all requirements for graduation have been met. Students must be enrolled in at least 1 graduate credit during the term of graduation.

The Graduate School forwards the application for degree/graduation to the Office of the University Registrar to start the degree audit process. At the end of the semester, the degree program and the Graduate School both assess for degree audit whether all requirements have been completed, and then forward a recommendation to the Registrar to approve or disapprove awarding of the degree.

At the time of graduation, the student’s cumulative grade point average (GPA) must be at least 3.00. Additionally, the student’s average on all grades recorded on the program of study for courses numbered 700 or above must be at least 3.00 and all courses listed on the program of study must be at least 3.00 on (a) all USC graduate coursework, (b) all courses listed on the program of study, and (c) all courses numbered 700 and above listed on the program of study.

Degree Conferral

Upon confirmation of a clear degree audit, the degree will be posted by the Office of the University Registrar to the student’s official academic record. The degree award is posted to the student’s transcript within 6 weeks after the commencement ceremony.  Diplomas will be mailed to the address recorded on the application for graduation via first class mail to U.S. addresses and via registered airmail to international addresses. Graduates may expect to receive the diploma within three months after the commencement exercises.

Note: Degrees cannot be awarded retroactively.

To pursue further graduate study after completion of a graduate degree, a student must submit a new application to The Graduate School.

Academic Regalia

Attendance at graduation ceremonies is optional. Academic regalia worn for graduation is sold by the University Bookstore in the Russell House located on Greene Street in Columbia. To place an order for academic regalia to wear for graduation, please telephone the University Bookstore at 803-777-4160 or visit the website at https://sc.bncollege.com/shop/sc/home. You may also order academic regalia from the Bookstore at https://usc.shopoakhalli.com/purchasewizard/Welcome

Specialist Programs

The Specialist Program is generally considered a post-master’s program of 30-36 hours leading to a degree as a specialist in a certain discipline, but specialist programs guided by professional licensure may be defined differently to meet licensure requirements. The University of South Carolina has the following specialist programs:

  • Library and Information Science, S.L.I.S
  • Education Administration, Ed.S.
  • Counselor Education, Ed.S.

Students enrolled in specialist programs must follow the admission, academic and graduation policies and requirements of The Graduate School. Contact the program administering a particular specialist program for admission and degree requirements.