Academic certificates are ideal if you want specific, practical knowledge in a particular field. Certificates offer a focused course of study balancing theory and practice with an emphasis on real-world experience. Because completing an academic certificate program can take less time and significantly less money than a graduate degree, it's also an ideal way to quickly improve your professional skills, gain practical training, or explore alternate careers. In addition, most of UCLA Extension's certificate programs offer open enrollment, meaning you will not have to take preliminary standardized tests, compete for enrollment, or have a certain GPA for admission.

Academic certificate programs consist of a sequence of courses of at least 120 credit-bearing hours that provides instruction in a coherent body of knowledge within a specialized field. Successful completion leads to the award of a formal academic testimonial, appearing on the student's transcript and commemorated by a university gold-seal certificate document signed by the dean of UCLA Extension. All certificate program curricula have been approved by the appropriate dean or faculty of a UCLA or UC school, department, or college. Certificate graduates are invited to attend the UCLA Extension graduation ceremony, which occurs at the end of spring quarter every year. All courses offered in both certificate and series programs have been approved by the UCLA Academic Senate. For certificate programs, the full curriculum (in addition to individual courses) also meets University of California guidelines. Typically the academic level of a certificate or specialization is post-baccalaureate.

Specializations are sequences of courses, often with fewer than 120 credit-bearing hours, providing relevant instruction in a particular area. Successful completion leads to documentation appearing on the student's official transcript and commemorated by an award of completion document signed by the Dean of UCLA extension. All courses in specializations have been approved by the UCLA Academic Senate. Students paying specialization fees are eligible for academic counseling services from the department offering the classes.

Employers worldwide recognize the value of ongoing training and up-to-date skills. Academic certificate programs—focused study sequences that combine theory with practical knowledge—are typically very well received by employers and can be a significant consideration for hiring and promotion. In addition, because certificate program curriculum is reviewed at least every 5 years, and frequently developed by accredited professional organizations, state commissions and boards, employers can rest assured of relevant, current topic coverage in the classroom.

Yes, many of our certificate programs are suitable for international students, who can study here while on an F-1 visa. For details, see our International Students section here.

To apply for candidacy, click "Apply Now" on the academic certificate program or specialization page. Once submitted, your certificate program’s advisor will review your submission and process your candidacy or contact you directly with additional information. Please note: application fees are not transferable or refundable.

You can take as many courses as you feel you can handle during a quarter; most students who work full-time take one per quarter. You are free to skip a quarter, as long as you complete the certificate within its defined time frame.

In general, yes. There are some exceptions such as courses and internships reserved exclusively for our certificate candidates; check individual course listings for exceptions.

If you've completed courses at an accredited U.S. college that seem to be equivalent, you can petition to apply your prior coursework towards your certificate. Upon acceptance of your petition, an amount up to a maximum of 25% of the units in your program may be advanced and specific required courses may also be waived. Petitions for advanced standing and course waivers must be made within the first quarter of the certificate program. For specific application to your program, contact your certificate program advisor.

You do not need a college (bachelor's) degree to enroll in a course or program. Most certificate program courses are at the academic level of post-baccalaureate (college/bachelor's degree) or some may be at the level of undergraduate major sequences. While most advanced courses typically have prerequisites, we usually offer introductory courses you can take if you're at a beginning level or need to refresh your knowledge. Typically you can also try a course to see if you're comfortable with the level. Your certificate programs advisor can work with you to plan your curriculum and review any potential transfer or substitution courses, depending on your academic background and professional accomplishments.

Only approved program courses count toward your certificate program. If you are considering a course outside the established curriculum for which you would like credit towards your certificate, discuss it ahead of time and seek pre-approval from your certificate programs advisor.

All courses taken for an academic certificate program must be taken for a letter grade. Exceptions are made for required internships, which may be graded with P/NP or S/U.

In special cases, you may be approved to take concurrent enrollment courses to satisfy your certificate requirements; however, you must obtain approval from your certificate programs advisor prior to enrolling.

We regret we cannot assist you directly with job placement; however, you are encouraged to proactively take advantage of valuable career resources available through UCLA Extension. Visit the Career Services website at (launching in August 2017) for up-to-date information on career events and resources. In addition, our coursework will provide you with opportunities to network with instructors and other students, many of whom are working professionals. Professional associations also frequently advise us on our certificate programs and may hold events or programs such as career fairs.