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Certificates serve as a boost into grad school or job market


Course programs geared toward education after graduation.

Upon earning a bachelor’s degree, students can further their studies by enrolling in specialized graduate certificate programs.

USF St. Petersburg offers graduate certificates to focus a student’s learning and enhance their career options. The certificate programs are open to non-degree seeking students as well as those who want concentrated instruction to supplement a master’s degree.

At USFSP, all graduate certificate programs pair with a graduate degree; for instance, a certificate in infant-family mental health contains courses that are required for the psychology master’s degree program.

Graduate admissions officer Michael Slattery said the graduate certificate programs can be used to boost a student’s chances of getting accepted into graduate school.

“It shows you can complete graduate coursework and transfer 12 hours,” he said.

The programs vary from 9 to 15-credit hours of graduate level courses, and cost the same amount as graduate tuition. Up to 12 of those hours can be transferred to a master’s degree, however, completion of a certificate program does not guarantee admission into a graduate degree program.

USFSP graduate student Karlana June, 40, is pursuing a certificate in food writing and photography alongside her journalism master’s degree. All the certificate courses are required for the degree except for two extra courses, so she would be earning the certificate anyway.

“So I graduate with a master’s degree and a certificate for no extra money,” said June.

USF psychology graduate Olivia Leal, 23, said an infant-family and mental health certificate could have helped her chances into getting into graduate school at USFSP.

“I had better grades and test scores, but she had more experience and a certificate,” said Leal about her friend who was admitted into the psychology master’s program.

However, Leal said she wonders how much a certificate would have helped her chances and isn’t sure how much experience is expected for graduate school admission.

Career Center director Lesa Shouse said the certificate programs are helpful when job searching as the programs target coursework that certain employers might look for.

“Anything that can show an employer that you have the knowledge and skills is beneficial,” said Shouse.

Although the tuition costs are the same and most credits count toward a degree, advisers don’t oversee certificate programs. Students should contact the director of their respective certificate program for specific admission requirements.

Each subject’s program has varying requirements such as a bachelor’s degree in the field of study, an undergraduate GPA of 3.0 or better, and a letter of recommendation.

Undergraduate certificates are also available. A creative writing certificate is open to all students who are hoping to expand their writing skills. An early childhood and family studies certificate is available through the College of Education, however, it has never been pursued.


For More Information:

Food Writing and Photography

15-credit hours

Can be completed entirely online or through a combination of online and face-to-face courses. Credits can be applied to a master’s degree in journalism and media studies or digital journalism and design.

For more information go to foodwriting.usfsp.edu

Geospatial Science

12-credit hours

Must have completed introductory GIS course or workshop within the last five years or equivalent work experience. Admission is based on academic merit and/or relevant work.

For information contact Dr. Barnali Dixon at bdixon@usfsp.edu

Infant-Family Mental Health

12-credit hour includes a 3-credit hour practicum or internship.

Must have a bachelor’s degree in psychology, criminology, human development, early childhood education, nursing or other social science related fields.

For information contact Lisa Negrini at lnegrini@esfsp.edu

Leadership Management

9-credit hours

Can transfer 6-credit hours to the MBA program at the Kate Tiedemann College of Business. Only a B or higher will be considered for transfer into the MBA.

For information contact Dr. Alison Watkins at awatkins@usfsp.edu

Middle Grades Digitally-Enhanced Mathematics Education

15-credit hours

The certificate is comprised of courses designed to provide teachers with mathematical, pedagogical and technological foundation required to prepare middle school students for high school mathematics.

For more information call (727) 873-4646


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