Creating New Certificates

Yale College offers three types of certificates: Advanced Language Certificates, Skills-Based Certificates, and Interdisciplinary Certificates. A certificate is not a smaller version of a major; instead, it offers opportunities for students to deepen a skill or to bring disparate elements into focus. See Certificates in Yale College

Language certificates

Students seeking to earn the certificate are required to take four courses beyond the L4 level in the target language, at least three of which must be Yale courses designated as L5. All courses must be taken for a letter grade, and students must achieve a grade of B or above. With the approval of the certificate adviser, one advanced non-L5 course, conducted in the target language, such as an independent study course, a graduate seminar, or an advanced seminar may count toward certification requirements.

The certificate adviser may allow one “language across the curriculum” (LxC) course taught in English to count toward the certification requirements provided the course includes at a minimum a weekly discussion section conducted entirely in the target language. The discussion section must enroll a minimum of three students and the course must be designated as LxC in the course description.

The adviser may also approve the substitution of up to two credits earned during study abroad and taught in Italian to count toward the certificate requirements. If the adviser approves courses taken outside of Yale for inclusion in the certificate requirements, students must take the necessary steps to ensure that those courses appear on their transcripts.

*Some language certificates have slightly different requirements. Refer to the department page for each advanced language certificate in the Yale College Programs of Study.

skills-based certificates

There are currently three skills-based certificates: Data Science, Ethnography, and Programming. The requirements are specific to each of these certificates.

The Certificate in Data Science is designed for students majoring in disciplines other than Statistics & Data Science to acquire the knowledge to promote mature use of data analysis throughout society. Students gain the necessary knowledge base and useful skills to tackle real-world data analysis challenges. 

The Ethnography Certificate studies both a set of qualitative research methods employed in the humanities and social sciences and a mode of presenting that researchin books and articles, in film and video, in embodied performance, and, increasingly, in digital formats and multiple media. 

The Certificate in Programming prepares students to program computers in support of work in any area of study. While the certificate does not provide the grounding in theory and systems that the computer science majors do, it does provide a short path to programming literacy that can be completed in a span of four terms. 

interdisciplinary certificates

Proposals originate with faculty, are reviewed by the Committee on Majors, and are subsequently recommended to the Yale College faculty at the monthly meetings for their approval. Successful proposals require:

  • A Certificate Advisory Committee of at least 6 faculty members
  • A designated Certificate Director
  • A Mission statement or abstract, and a name, different from any existing major
  • A list of at least 12 existing courses that are likely to be offered regularly and that fit the scope of the Certificate. A list of possible talks, workshops, seminars, performances, etc that could be part of the requirements of the Certificate.

Curricular Structure:

  • ​Five, and no more than six required course credits.
  • A maximum 2-course credit overlap with the student's major.
  • A maximum of 4 course credits originating in one department (for interdisciplinary certificates).
  • Related graduate and professional school courses may count.

Interested faculty groups should contact the Secretary of the Committee on Majors.

Student Declaration of Candidacy

Students should submit a Declaration of Candidacy for a Certificate form, found on the University Registrar’s Office website. The form should be submitted early, but at the latest, before the start of the student’s last semester at Yale. Once submitted, the form goes to both the Certificate Director and the Registrar's Office. Submission of the form, and approval from the Certificate Director, is necessary to ensure that the earned Certificate appears on student transcripts.