APU Student Handbook
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Last Revision: January 30, 2024

Certificate and Degree Combinations

Stand Alone Certificate

The certificate review process begins when you submit the online Certificate Completion Application form. Certificates are awarded on the first of each month when processed separately from a degree.

Once you submit your Certificate Application, the following processes are triggered:

  • Academic Audit - An Associate Registrar must review the student record and confirm that all certificate requirements for completion have been met.
  • Finance Audit - The APUS Finance Office must confirm that the Student Account has no outstanding balance or monies owed.
  • Library Audit - The APUS Librarian must confirm all books or materials reserved from the library have been returned to APUS and there are no outstanding fees.
  • Direct Loan Exit Counseling - If you have used federal student aid to cover any portion of your college costs, you may be required to complete Direct Loan Exit Counseling. Our financial aid office will contact you by email to provide the link for exit counseling. Exit counseling provides important information you will need as you prepare to repay your federal student loan(s).

To be eligible for award of your certificate program you must have:

  • Applied for the certificate.
  • Fulfilled all course requirements in your program.
  • A GPA of 2.0 if you are in an undergraduate program, or 3.0 if you are in a master's level program. If the passing courses do not meet the GPA requirement, you may take excessive courses to bring up the GPA; however, these courses would not be covered by TA, FSA or VA.
  • Completed all program requirements within the published program deadline.
  • Fulfilled all course requirements within 150% of courses attempted vs. courses successfully passed.
  • No outstanding balances.

Certificate Awarded before Degree

If you are pursuing a certificate in conjunction with a degree program, you may request to have the certificate awarded prior to the degree conferral. Please note, your certificate courses will be reviewed separately from your program and must meet the minimum 2.0 GPA as an undergraduate student or the minimum 3.0 GPA as a graduate student. If your certificate courses calculated separately do not meet the above GPA minimums, you will need to wait to have your certificate awarded during the degree conferral process. At that time, your degree and certificate courses will be evaluated together to determine your overall GPA, and both can be awarded once conferral requirements have been met.

Certificate Awarded with Degree

Students who wish to have the certificate awarded in conjunction with the degree conferral should not apply for the certificate separately.

For combined certificate and degree programs:

  • The certificate program review will be completed concurrently with the degree program academic review and will follow the same guidelines for the Program Review Process. A combined cumulative GPA for the certificate and degree courses of 2.0 GPA for undergraduate programs and 3.0 GPA for master's level programs are required for award.
  • Only certificate programs that students have officially declared and are listed on the academic plan can be awarded. If the certificate is not showing on the student’s online academic plan in the student portal, students should contact their Academic Advisors immediately.

For more information on combining a certificate with a degree program, please contact [email protected].