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Graduate Academic Certificates


Graduate Academic Certificates (GACs) are open to current students enrolled in a graduate degree program. 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. GACs are administered by a UC Davis instructional unit (professional school, department, graduate group or a designated emphasis program), and are an additional sequence of training and expertise for graduate students. GACs consist of a minimum of 12 units of graduate level instruction, and are recognized by transcript notation and an official certificate issued by UC Davis with the gold seal of the University of California. A list of GACs can be found on this page. 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.

Development Practice

Program Contact: Dr. Kate Scow, GAC Chair, International Agricultural Development, (530) 752-4632,

The GAC in Development Practice program positions graduates competitively in the international development community. Students in international agricultural development, engineering, public health, and other areas with a substantial commitment to development practice will be motivated to complete the curriculum. The curriculum is based on the recommendations of the MacArthur Foundation International Commission on Education for Sustainable Development Practice, which requires training across a range of disciplines. These include: health sciences, natural sciences, social sciences and management, and intensive field training experiences. Specific course requirements include agronomy, climate science, economics, energy, management and public health. Participation in two Agricultural Practicum courses is required.

Health Professions Educator

Program Contact: Dr. Debbie Ward, GAC Chair, School of Nursing, (916) 734-2415,

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. Patsy Owens, GAC Chair, Human Ecology, (530) 752-9145,

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.