Graduate Academic Certificates


A graduate certificate program is a structured sequence of courses and requirements that focuses on a specialty or area of expertise not offered by a regular degree program and has been reviewed and approved by the Graduate Council. There are two formats for graduate certificate programs that make use of regular UC Davis courses:

  1.  University of California Graduate Academic Certificate (GAC) 
  2.  UC Davis Graduate Academic Unit Certificate (GAUC)

See GC2007-01 for a complete description of each certificate format and the process for proposing new graduate certificates. 

Graduate Academic Certificate (GAC)

The GAC certificate program is open to any student who is acceptable for admission into the Graduate Division (SR 735). A GAC is a structured sequence of courses and requirements that focus on a specialty or area of expertise not offered by a regular graduate degree program. A GAC cannot be granted until a student has completed a minimum of three quarters in full-time resident study at the University of California with a grade-point average of at least 3.0. The certificate of completion for a GAC will be issued by the Office of the Registrar with the seal of the University of California, and will bear the signatures of the dean of the school or college, the Dean of the Graduate Division, the Chancellor, and the President.

A list of GACs can be found below. Contact the GAC program for more information on participating.

  • Conservation Management
  • Program Contact: Dr. Mark Schwartz, GAC Chair, Environmental Science and Policy, (530) 752-0671,
    The GAC in Conservation Management provides students with the opportunity to undergo rigorous training in order to demonstrate marketable skills for students desiring a career in conservation management. Students will take courses in conservation decision-making using state-of-the-art protocols used leading conservation organizations (e.g., Open Standards Practices, Miradi, Conservation Evidence). Students will work in small groups in collaboration with conservation organizations on targeted group projects. Students are expected to establish a thesis/dissertation project in collaboration with a conservation partner to answer mission-directed questions of management relevance.
  • Future Undergraduate Science Educators
  • Program Contact: Executive Committee Co-chairs:  Dr. Marina Crowder, (530) 752-9664,  and  Dr. Mona Monfared,  (530) 752-5817, 
    Program Chair: Dr. Mark Winey, Dean of College of Biological Sciences, (530) 752-6778,
    The GAC in Future Undergraduate Science Educators (FUSE) provides training for Ph.D. students in the College of Biological Sciences who are interested in pursuing teaching careers at the undergraduate level. Students are trained in evidence-based teaching practices as well as mentored, authentic teaching experiences. The curriculum is based on Scientific Teaching, a pedagogical framework in which teaching is approached with the same rigor as science and includes active learning strategies and other teaching methods that have been systematically tested and shown to both engage students in the process of science and promote diversity and inclusion. Goals of the program are to make Ph.D. students in the sciences more competitive for teaching positions after they graduate (closing the time gap between graduation and achieving tenure track positions in higher education) and to improve the quality of undergraduate science education. STEM Ph.D. graduate students who are not affiliated with CBS are welcome to apply and would be admitted on a space-available basis. 
  • Health Professions Educator
  • Program Contact: Dr. Elizabeth Rice, GAC Chair, School of Nursing, (916) 734-2145,
    The Nursing Science and Health-Care Leadership Graduate Group hosts the Graduate Academic Certificate as Health Professions Educator. Students enrolled in one of the School of Nursing’s graduate programs are eligible to apply and earn this certificate. Students enrolled in a UC Davis graduate program and with an interest in health professions education may apply and will be admitted on a space available basis. With a looming nursing shortage, an aging faculty workforce with anticipated nursing faculty retirements, and implementation of a pre-licensure nursing education program, preparation of the next generation of educators is an important issue for the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing as well as the larger Sacramento Valley nursing community.  Educators in the health professions, particularly nursing, are in high demand to teach didactic as well as clinical content. In California, approval by the CA BRN is required for faculty interested in teaching pre-licensure nursing programs. Although educators in other health professions may not have the strict requirements of the Board of Registered Nurses, the School of Nursing believes that potential educators who have completed course work in curriculum, instruction, assessment, and educational leadership will be better prepared to meet the needs of students.
  • Industrial Ecology
  • Program Contact: Dr. Alissa Kendall, GAC Committee Chair, (530) 752-5722
    The GAC in Industrial Ecology (IE) is a certificate offered through the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering. The target audience for the GAC is University of California Davis master- and doctoral-level graduate students from a broad range of graduate groups including Human Ecology, Civil and Environmental Engineering, Biological and Agricultural Engineering, Geography, Community Development, Transportation Technology and Policy, and Public Health Sciences. Students will gain expertise in principles and methods of industrial ecology, with an emphasis on life cycle analysis, material flow analysis, green engineering, sustainable manufacturing, and urban metabolism. In addition to completing relevant coursework, students in the IE GAC will have the opportunity to participate in UC Davis Industrial Ecology Team meetings and have access to Industrial Ecology computing resources for research purposes.
  • Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design
  • Program Contact: Dr. David de la Pena, GAC Chair, Human Ecology, (530) 752-3907,
    The GAC in Landscape Architecture and Environmental Design (LAED) offers graduate students an opportunity to complement their graduate degree with analytical and design skills that seek novel, interactive and dynamic processes of problem-solving leading to defensible and sustainable solutions. Landscape architecture and environmental design concern the relationship between people and their environment. The LAED Program at UC Davis focuses on interdisciplinary inquiry related to landscape structure and function, spatial patterns, the built environment, natural systems, landscape meaning and history, and environmental quality. This GAC program will prepare students to: (1) teach and conduct research in academic programs in landscape architecture and environmental planning and design; (2) serve as researchers and analysts in public, private, and non-governmental research institutions; and, (3) assume leadership positions in agencies engaged in issues of planning and design at the local, regional, national, transnational, and international level
  • Second Language Acquisition
  • Program Contact: Dr. Robert Blake, GAC Chair, Spanish, (530) 754-7153,
    The GAC in Second Language Acquisition provides students with both a theoretical and practical knowledge of language acquisition. Choosing the GAC in SLA gives graduate students the opportunity to integrate theory with the methods they use in the classroom and to move beyond being a well-trained teacher, to understanding curricular choices in language education. Similar to the Designated Emphasis in Second Language Acquisition, the only difference in the GAC is that there are no requirements related to a student's dissertation.

Graduate Academic Unit Certificate (GAUC)

A GAUC is administered by a UC Davis academic instructional unit (professional school, department, graduate group or a designated emphasis program). A GAUC consists of a minimum of 12 units of graduate level instruction and may use shared courses/units for another degree program. A GAUC cannot be granted until a student has completed a minimum of three quarters in full-time resident study at the University of California with a grade-point average of at least 3.0. The certificate of completion for a GAUC will bear the seal(s) or letterhead of the particular College(s) or School(s), but not the seal of the University of California, Davis. The certificate will be signed by the dean(s) of the school or college or program chair(s); it will not bear the signatures of the Dean of the Graduate Division, the Chancellor, or the President. GAUC certificates are open to and are taken by currently enrolled UC Davis graduate students, professional students, and postdoctoral scholars.