8 Things to Know About Graduate Certificates

In today’s competitive job market, specialized knowledge and skills are at a premium—the more you know and the more you can do, the more attractive you are to an employer.

But what if you don’t have the time or money for a master’s degree? Or you don’t know which advanced degree is right for you? In these cases, a graduate certificate might be the perfect option.

Here are eight questions to help you consider whether a certificate program is right for you.

What Is a Graduate Certificate and Why Is It Valuable?

Graduate certificates are short courses of study designed to meet the supplemental education needs of professionals. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, certificates are the fastest-growing form of post-secondary credentials in the United States. The Washington Post reports that a graduate certificate can boost your earnings by up to 25 percent.

What Kinds of Graduate Certificates Does Northeastern Offer?

Northeastern offers approximately 50 certificate programs in fast-growing industries like data analytics, global studies and international relations, digital media management, engineering leadership, and technological entrepreneurship to keep you current and competitive.

Who Is a Good Fit for a Graduate Certificate?

  • People with undergraduate degrees who want to gain specialized knowledge in an area of professional importance or personal interest
  • Those who need to quickly gain a specific professional credential in order to advance in their career
  • Professionals who are considering a master’s degree but don’t want to commit until they know which area of study is right for them
  • People who want to gain new skill sets to change careers

How Long Will It Take Me to Finish a Graduate Certificate?

Each of our certificates require 12 to 18 credits and about one year to complete. You can also use your certificate credits as a stepping stone: Should you wish to continue your studies at Northeastern, you can easily apply your certificate coursework toward a master’s degree.

Will I Be Able to Quickly Apply What I Learn to the Workplace?

Absolutely. Because these programs are designed for working professionals and taught by faculty with deep industry expertise and real-world experience, you have the potential to advance your career from the day you enroll.

How Might I Benefit from a Graduate Certificate?

Each of Northeastern’s certificate programs are made up of four to six graduate-level courses focused on a specific concentration within a field of study. Depending on your needs and career goals, these specialized programs can:

  • Enhance your skills and professional expertise
  • Boost your career advancement potential
  • Facilitate the development of new skills
  • Serve as a gateway to a master’s degree program
  • Extend your pursuit of life-long learning

Our classes are available online or in a mix of online and on-campus learning. Both formats give you the flexibility and convenience to pursue your professional goals—without sacrificing personal responsibilities.

When Can I Enroll?

You can apply to, and enroll, in our programs year-round—essentially, as soon as you’re ready or your career requires it. Most programs offer entry for the fall, winter, spring, or summer terms. 

Will a Certificate Help Me Grow My Professional Network?

When you enroll in one of our graduate certificate programs, you become part of Northeastern’s global network. That means you join a vibrant community of more than 3,000 employer partners and 230,000 alumni who can help open the right doors during every phase of your career.