brown university graduate certificate programs

Many Brown undergraduates complete specialized work or explore an area of interest in depth, in addition to their concentration.

Undergraduate Certificate Programs are pathways developed by one or more academic units and approved by the College Curriculum Council that enable degree-seeking students to pursue an integrated combination of coursework, co-curricular and experiential learning. Together, these experiences contribute to your academic and personal development, deepening your understanding of an area of interest while allowing you to acquire skills that prepare you for life after Brown.

Certificates may complement your existing concentration or may represent an entirely distinct area of interest. However, according to certificate guidelines, your concentration and certificate may not have substantial overlap (each certificate has a list of excluded concentrations). Certificate programs also may not be developed in areas in which a concentration already exists.

Why Brown University Graduate Certificates?

  1. Ivy League Excellence: Brown University is renowned for its rigorous academic standards and world-class faculty. When you pursue a graduate certificate here, you’re joining a tradition of excellence that opens doors and commands respect in your chosen industry.
  2. Specialized Knowledge: Graduate certificate programs at Brown University are designed to provide in-depth knowledge in specific fields. These programs are ideal for individuals looking to augment their expertise or switch careers without committing to a full master’s degree.
  3. Flexibility: Brown University understands that many of its students are working professionals or individuals with busy schedules. That’s why their certificate programs are often available online or through evening classes, making it easier for you to balance work, life, and education.
  4. Networking Opportunities: Brown’s extensive alumni network and connections in various industries can provide you with valuable networking opportunities, which can lead to internships, job offers, or mentorship from experts in your field.

Notable Brown University Graduate Certificate Programs

  1. Data Science: In today’s data-driven world, proficiency in data science is a valuable asset. Brown’s Graduate Certificate in Data Science equips students with the tools and techniques to analyze and interpret data, making them highly sought-after in various industries.
  2. Cybersecurity: With the increasing threat of cyberattacks, experts in cybersecurity are in high demand. Brown’s Graduate Certificate in Cybersecurity prepares students to protect critical information systems and data.
  3. Entrepreneurship: For aspiring business leaders and entrepreneurs, the Graduate Certificate in Entrepreneurship provides the skills and knowledge needed to launch successful ventures.
  4. Environmental Studies: Individuals passionate about sustainability and environmental conservation can pursue the Graduate Certificate in Environmental Studies, enabling them to make a positive impact on the planet.
  5. Healthcare Leadership: The healthcare industry is rapidly evolving. Brown’s Graduate Certificate in Healthcare Leadership equips professionals with the leadership skills needed to navigate the complexities of healthcare management.

Admissions Process

The application process for Brown University’s graduate certificate programs is competitive but manageable. Typically, you’ll need to provide transcripts, letters of recommendation, a statement of purpose, and sometimes standardized test scores, depending on the program. Be sure to check the specific requirements for your desired program on the university’s website.

Key Policies

See the certificate guidelines for additional information

See the certificate guidelines for additional information.

  1. You may declare an Undergraduate Certificate no earlier than the beginning of the fifth* semester, and no later than the last day of classes of the antepenultimate (typically the sixth) semester, in order to facilitate planning for the capstone or other experiential learning opportunity. Certificate advisors must approve submitted declarations by the fourth Tuesday of the student’s penultimate (typically seventh) semester.
    * Students pursuing 5-year combined degree programs such as the Brown|RISD Dual Degree Program should see bullet 5 below for information about the petition process and timeline. 
  2. You must have completed or be enrolled in two courses toward the certificate by the time you declare the certificate.
  3. Your certificate declaration must discuss your rationale for pursuing the certificate and how you see the relationship between the certificate and the concentration you have declared. No more than one course may count toward your concentration and the certificate.
  4. You may not earn more than one certificate. 
  5. If you are completing two or more concentrations (or a concurrent degree), you may not complete a certificate; you are already pursuing the integrative and interdisciplinary work that undergraduate certificates support. Students pursuing five-year combined degrees may petition the Committee on Academic Standing for the option to pursue a certificate and must do so by the certificate deadlines: Brown|RISD Dual Degree students may petition CAS no earlier than the sixth semester and no later than the last day of classes in the antepenultimate semester — typically, their eighth semester.

Once you have completed all requirements for the baccalaureate degree, completion of a certificate will be noted on your transcript and may be independently verified by a third party, such as the National Student Clearinghouse (see the Registrar’s website for additional information).

Canada is renowned for its world-class education system and diverse range of academic offerings. For those seeking to advance their education, certificates, diplomas, and degrees are common options. In this article, we’ll explore the world of graduate certificates in Canada, answering questions like: “Does Brown have certificates? Is a graduate certificate a degree in Canada? What is the difference between a college diploma and a graduate certificate? What is a graduate certificate program? Is a graduate certificate the same as a postgraduate degree? Can I pursue a Master’s with a graduate certificate in Canada?”


  1. Does Brown Have Certificates?

Yes, Brown University, like many other institutions, offers graduate certificate programs. These programs are designed to provide specialized knowledge and skills in a specific field without the time and financial commitment required for a full degree.

  1. Is a Graduate Certificate a Degree in Canada?

No, a graduate certificate is not the same as a degree. In Canada, a degree typically refers to a Bachelor’s, Master’s, or Doctoral program. Graduate certificates are shorter, focused programs that offer specialized training and education in a particular field. They do not carry the same weight as a full degree.

  1. What is the Difference Between a College Diploma and a Graduate Certificate?

A college diploma and a graduate certificate differ in terms of their focus and duration. College diplomas are usually more hands-on and practical, often spanning 1-2 years, whereas graduate certificates are shorter (usually 8-12 months) and more specialized, offering advanced knowledge in a specific field. Graduate certificates are typically offered by universities or colleges, and they can be a great option for those seeking career advancement or a change in their field of study.

  1. What is a Graduate Certificate Program?

A graduate certificate program is a short-term, specialized course of study that provides in-depth knowledge and skills in a specific area. These programs are often designed to meet the needs of the job market and may be highly focused on industry-specific skills. They are an excellent option for individuals looking to enhance their career prospects or change their career direction without committing to a full degree program.

  1. Is a Graduate Certificate the Same as a Postgraduate Degree?

No, a graduate certificate is not the same as a postgraduate degree. A postgraduate degree refers to programs like Master’s or Ph.D. degrees, which require a longer period of study, often spanning one to several years. Graduate certificates are shorter and do not provide the same level of depth or research opportunities as postgraduate degrees.

  1. Can I Pursue a Master’s with a Graduate Certificate in Canada?

Yes, it is possible to pursue a Master’s degree after completing a graduate certificate in Canada. Many universities consider graduate certificates as a valuable qualification for admission to Master’s programs. However, the specific requirements may vary by institution and program. It’s essential to check with the university and program you’re interested in to understand their admission criteria and whether they recognize your graduate certificate.


In Canada, graduate certificates offer an excellent opportunity to gain specialized knowledge and skills without the commitment of a full degree program. While they are not equivalent to degrees, they can open doors to career advancement and may be used as a stepping stone to further education, such as pursuing a Master’s degree. When considering your educational path, it’s important to research and choose the option that aligns best with your goals and aspirations.

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