Graduate Certificate FAQs

Graduate Certificate Frequently Asked Questions

Expand the tabs below to browse answers to frequently asked questions about our Graduate Certificate programs. If your question is not addressed below, please email us at 


Who can apply to Howard’s Graduate Certificate programs?

Any prospective applicant who holds (or will earn before starting at Howard) at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in the United States or for international students, the equivalent of a bachelor's degree from an international college or university, can apply to enroll in a Howard Graduate Certificate program.

Can an international student who requires an F-1 or J-1 visa from Howard University be admitted to a Graduate Certificate program solely?

Due to the nature of our graduate certificate programs, which are non-degree credentials, Howard University cannot support an F-1 or J-1 visa for an international student who enrolls only in a Graduate Certificate program. Therefore, international students who require an F-1 or J-1 visa must apply to a graduate degree program and enroll as full-time students. A Graduate Certificate may be earned in addition to a graduate degree.

How do I apply to a Graduate Certificate as a prospective certificate student?

Applicants not currently enrolled in a Howard University graduate degree program must complete the external online GradCAS Application for the applicable Graduate Certificate program. Begin a new GradCAS application by creating an account.  Applicants can filter by “Institution” [Howard University] and “Program Level” [Certificate]. Currently enrolled Howard graduate students must complete an internal application and should not complete the GradCAS application. 

How do I apply to a Graduate Certificate as a current Howard graduate degree student?

Currently enrolled Howard University graduate degree students must complete the following HU Graduate Certificate Application. Do not apply via the online GradCAS application. Currently enrolled graduate degree students seeking entry into a Graduate Certificate program must be in good academic standing in their current degree program to be admitted into a Graduate Certificate program.

Who benefits from earning a Graduate Certificate?

We’ve designed our Graduate Certificates to give students the flexibility to pace their studies to fit their schedules. College graduates and mid-career working professionals can work full-time while taking classes. Graduate Certificate students take fifteen (15) credits in a dedicated field of study within the Howard University Graduate School. Graduate Certificate students gain specialization within that field, enhancing their marketability and earning potential in their chosen careers. 

What background do students need to qualify for admission to the Graduate Certificate Program?

Applicants must hold (or earn before starting at Howard) at least a bachelor’s degree from an accredited college or university in the United States or for international students, the equivalent of a bachelor's degree from an international college or university. Additionally, applicants seeking entry into the Graduate Certificate in College and University Faculty Preparation must have completed or be currently enrolled in a master's or doctoral degree from an accredited college or university or an equivalent degree from an international college or university. Currently enrolled Howard University graduate students must be in good standing to apply to and be admitted into a Graduate Certificate program.

Can I apply to more than one Graduate Certificate program at Howard?

Yes, students can apply and earn more than one Graduate Certificate.

Can transfer credits from another institution be used for the Graduate Certificate program?

No. Certificate programs provide a stand-alone professional or marketable value based on the approved curriculum and course offerings available.

Can I take a Consortium course to satisfy a course requirement once enrolled in a Graduate Certificate Program?

Yes, classes can be taken at a Consortium member institution.

How long does it take before I receive an admissions decision?

Once the application file has been marked complete, it is sent to the admissions committee for review. The review process may take several weeks. An applicant will then be notified and receive an admissions decision by email.

What is the cost of a Graduate Certificate?

Full-time students not enrolled in a Howard University graduate degree program but enrolled in the Graduate Certificate program pay the per-credit-hour rate for the academic year. The tuition rate per credit hour for the academic year 2023-2024 is noted on the following Cost of Attendance website.

There are no scholarships awarded for the tuition of a non-degree Graduate Certificate. Additionally, Title IV federal financial aid is not available for Graduate Certificate programs unless otherwise noted in writing. If a certificate program is not eligible for Federal Direct Loan funding, students may be able to borrow a private alternative loan with the lender of their choice to help alleviate costs associated with the certificate program.

Where do I send official transcripts and other application documents?

External applicants (applicants who are not currently enrolled in a graduate degree program at Howard) must submit official transcripts from each accredited undergraduate and graduate academic institution attended directly to the online GradCAS application system. Instructions on submitting official transcripts to GradCAS are located here.

GradCAS accepts electronic official transcripts from Parchment and National Student Clearinghouse.  Upon receipt and processing, your transcript status can be viewed via the GradCAS system.

When are the application deadlines for the Graduate Certificate programs?

Applicants for a Graduate Certificate may be considered for fall or spring admission. The completed application including supporting materials for fall admission is due by April 15. The completed application including supporting materials for spring admission is due by November 1. For current Howard graduate students, admissions review occurs on a rolling basis.

Program and Schedule

When can students begin a Graduate Certificate program?

Semesters begin in August (fall) or January (spring). The application deadline for each term of entry is noted above. Admission decisions may be released several weeks after receiving a complete application.

When and where do classes meet?

Graduate classes are offered on the Howard University campus in Washington, D.C. Classes are held once or twice a week, often starting in the late afternoon or early evening, to accommodate a working professional’s schedule. Courses at Howard are taught by Howard Graduate School professors. Your classmates are graduate students.

How many classes are needed to complete a Graduate Certificate?

Fifteen (15) credits are required to complete a Graduate Certificate. Each Graduate Certificate offers a combination of required and elective courses. The Graduate Certificate programs require a field experience that can be satisfied by a capstone project or a professional-level Internship. Classes can be taken at a Consortium member institution.

Can Graduate Certificates be completed entirely online?

At this time, Graduate Certificates cannot be completed entirely online. Although some courses may be taken online for credit.  Howard University Graduate School plans to offer even more online options for graduate certificates in the upcoming academic years.

Do I have to earn a certain grade point average for each semester of Graduate Certificate classes I am enrolled in?

Students must earn a “B” or better in each course.

Some Graduate Certificates require students to submit materials beyond coursework prior to program completion. How do I submit these materials so that I can earn the Certificate?

Please contact the Graduate Certificate program director to submit the required materials. The contact information for program directors is noted below.

Can I complete my Graduate Certificate before I complete my Howard degree program?

Yes, once courses are completed for the certificate or the graduate degree program, the student then applies for graduation. The Graduate Certificate will be awarded if the student has met all requirements for conferral of the credential.

Will my completed Graduate Certificate be noted on my official Howard transcript?

Yes. Once a student is awarded a Graduate Certificate, upon conferral it is placed on the official Howard graduate transcript. Additionally, once a student’s Graduate Certificate requirements are fulfilled, and the Graduate Certificate is conferred, the printed Graduate Certificate will be mailed to the student.

If I have more questions about a Graduate Certificate, who can I contact?

For answers to questions about the application process or admission requirements, contact the following Graduate Certificate program directors. If your question is not addressed below, please email us at