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Undergraduate Certificates

Flowers are shown in front of a building on the Michigan State University campus.


MSU has introduced a policy that allows units to create undergraduate certificates, or UGCs, leveraging existing resources from across campus to provide a credential that students can take with them after graduation. Defined as a set of programmatic or thematically linked curricular and co-curricular activities that serves as a micro-credential, UGCs are distinct from majors and minors. They serve to broaden participants’ work across disciplines, deepen their abilities within a discipline, and/or make their individualized academic work more distinctive and apparent on their academic record. UGC offerings align with goals that advance MSU’s mission and support strategic planning efforts.


Specifically, the UGC initiative seeks to:


  • Strengthen MSU’s ability to attract and meet the needs, goals and aspirations of undergraduate students

  • Increase the number and diversity of learners MSU serves through targeted programs and proactive engagement with underserved communities

  • Strengthen students’ educational experience to eliminate opportunity gaps and support success through graduation and beyond

  • Develop new strategies to recruit and retain highly talented, diverse students across all disciplines

  • Ensure students and stakeholders have access to MSU and its resources to address current and emerging issues affecting Michigan and the world


Undergraduate certificates will have varying structures based on a typology, with some UGCs being aimed at specific majors or Colleges, some serving non-MSU guest students, and some being open to all undergraduates, but they must all adhere to the UGC basic requirements:

  • Include 9 to 12 credit-hours, the equivalent in contact time, or mixture of the two

  • State learning outcomes and assessment process for all aspects of the program

  • State admission criteria and application process

  • Have transparent policies on acceptance of transfer or credits taken before admission, as well as standards for double-counting and unique credits

  • Have a sponsoring academic unit (e.g., Undergrad Ed, College, Department, or School)


Undergraduate certificates are an opportunity to provide structured learning experiences that respond to student need. It can focus on specific skills, on a career path or on soft skills needed for life’s journey. Students will carry these lessons forward through their undergraduate careers and beyond.


For support with learning outcomes, certificate development, or partnerships with Undergrad Ed, please contact the Assistant Dean for Global Education and Curriculum Jim Lucas.


For support related to submitted transcriptable certificates through the MSU curriculum process, UCC, and related academic policies, please contact the University Curriculum Administrator Joy Speas.