MBA@UNC Graduate Certificate programs allow working professionals to expand their skills and knowledge in specialized business disciplines. Students will complete three to five courses, totaling 10 credits, and complete the same coursework as students in the full MBA@UNC program. Designed for working professionals seeking to add valuable expertise to their repertoire, certificate programs are available in four subject areas:
Students in Graduate Certificate programs complete the same coursework as students in the full MBA program and are held to the same academic standards. Coursework consists of interactive assignments such as case studies, group projects, video simulations and reading materials that students complete on their own time. Each week, students meet in a webcam-based online classroom to discuss the week's material with their professors and no more than 15 classmates.
If necessary, students may take time off between courses while completing their certificate program; however, all courses must be completed within 18 months. All coursework is completed 100% online, with no in-person requirements.
Admissions and Application Requirements
Applications for certificate programs are accepted and reviewed four times per year, in January, April, July and October. Visit our Admissions page for current deadlines.
To apply for a Graduate Certificate program, the following items are required:
GMAT/GRE test scores (if applicable)
One personal essay
One letter of recommendation
Applicants for certificate programs will follow the same MBA@UNC GMAT/GRE testing requirement that is based on the applicant’s number of years of professional full-time work experience. To request a waiver or learn more about the GMAT/GRE policy, visit our GMAT/GRE Waiver Policy page.
Tuition and Financial Aid
For all graduate certificate programs, tuition is $1,884.02 per credit hour for the 2018–2019 academic year (July 2018–June 2019). Please note that tuition is subject to change each academic year, as approved by the UNC System Board of Governors, and any tuition change is applicable to all enrolled students.
Tuition includes student fees, simulations, assessments, technology platform licensing and support, and some academic materials. Textbooks are not included.
Continuing to an MBA
Before the completion of their Graduate Certificate, students who wish to continue their studies can apply and transfer their earned credits toward the MBA@UNC full MBA degree program. Per University policy, all credits earned prior to completion of the certificate will transfer into the degree seeking program. Students who are part of a certificate program will be required to apply to the MBA program.
In the event that students opt to take time away from their education after completing a certificate program, they may still transfer up to 40 percent of their earned credits if and when they decide to pursue an MBA degree.
Details about transferring certificate credits towards the degree and the policy of pre-completion and post-completion credit transfers will be provided by the MBA@UNC registrar office. For specific questions, please contact your Admissions Counselor.
What is a Graduate Certificate? A Graduate Certificate program is a formal program of courses and other related experiences in a field of specialization. A certificate is akin to a professional credential, which signifies accomplishment, specialization and achievement in the areas of leadership development, data analytics and decision making, entrepreneurship and strategy or finance.
How does a Graduate Certificate differ from an MBA degree? While the MBA degree is designed to help students develop core business skills and to become broadly literate in business, a graduate certificate aims to develop specific skills and knowledge in a shorter period of time.
Who are Graduate Certificates for? Graduate Certificates would be appropriate for professionals across all industries who may have decided an MBA degree is not necessary for professional development. However, they recognize the credibility and value a Graduate Certificate from UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School would lend for potential career advancement by increasing in-depth knowledge of specific business concepts.
What are the requirements for admission? UNC Kenan-Flagler seeks students whose academic backgrounds, professional experience and leadership abilities meet the rigorous demands of our top-ranked programs1. We look for candidates with strong professional and academic backgrounds who can thrive in our collaborative, team-based environment.
Is work experience required? Applicants are required to have a minimum of two years of professional work experience. We value advanced degrees, but they are not a substitute for work experience.
Is an undergraduate degree required? A bachelor's degree is required. International candidates must have a college-level education equivalent to an American undergraduate or baccalaureate degree (the same as a first university degree). This is typically a four-year degree. There are a number of universities around the world that offer three-year undergraduate programs. If you received a bachelor's degree upon completion of one of these three-year undergraduate programs, you are eligible to apply to our program.
Do I have to take the GMAT? The Graduate Certificate program testing requirement is based on the applicant's number of years of professional full-time work experience as a general policy. However, the admissions committee will consider GMAT waiver requests on a case-by-case basis. Please note that no GMAT/GRE waiver is automatic, and an approved waiver request does not guarantee admission to the program. To learn more about requesting a waiver, visit our GMAT/GRE Waiver Policy page.
Is financial aid available? Due to the “non-degree” status of the Graduate Certificate program, federal and state-funded student aid, as well as MBA@UNC fellowships, are not available. For alternate financial aid options, please visit our Tuition & Financial Aid page.
What services and activities are included with a certificate? The Graduate Certificate programs cover all activities included in MBA@UNC courses, such as asynchronous videos, live class sessions, simulations, group projects and access to faculty and student support. Additionally, certificate students will have lifelong access to their entire certificate curriculum and course materials.
What services and activities are not included with a certificate? Graduate Certificate students will not have access to MBA@UNC global immersions, career management services or graduation ceremonies.
Will I receive UNC Kenan-Flagler alumni status? No. UNC Kenan-Flagler alumni status is reserved for graduates of degree programs.
Can I substitute a course that is not listed under each certificate? No. However, there are multiple courses offered for each Graduate Certificate.
Can these courses count toward an MBA degree? Yes. Certificate program credits may be applied to the MBA degree and serve as transfer credits towards degree completion. The number of credits that are transferable into the degree program are determined by the status of the certificate completion. If a certificate program student applies and is accepted into the MBA degree program prior to completion of the certificate program, all credits will transfer into the MBA degree program. If a student completes the certificate requirements and earns the certificate and subsequently decides to apply to the MBA degree program, 40 percent of the completed credits will apply towards the degree. Admissions documents submitted to the Graduate Certificate program can be used toward completion of the application for MBA@UNC.
Do I have to take courses in a specific order? Each certificate program has one core, foundational course that must be taken first upon entering the program. From there, certificate program courses are designed to be taken in the order the student chooses to do so with the exception being that some courses may require prerequisite courses before enrollment. If a certificate program student has questions regarding recommended order of courses they may work with the MBA@UNC Registrar to determine a course path.
Are there prerequisites to enroll in courses that are not part of the certificate program? Yes. Within the Finance certificate program a participating student must take MBA 730 Financial Accounting prior to taking certificate program courses. However, the prerequisite requirement can be waived for those who have taken an equivalent course previously.
The Data Analytics & Decision Making certificate program requires that participating students take MBA 700 Analytical Tools prior to taking certificate program courses. If students choose to take MBA 755 Digital Marketing as part of the certificate, MBA 740 Marketing Strategy, Analysis, and Development is an additional prerequisite course. Similarly, the prerequisite requirements can be waived for those who have taken an equivalent course previously.
The MBA@UNC Registrar office will review and approve prerequisite waiver requests prior to program application. For specific questions, please contact your Admissions Counselor.
1 UNC Kenan-Flagler was ranked No. 19 by U.S. News & World Report in the most recent report published in 2018, and its online MBA program is ranked No. 1 in 2019 (https://www.usnews.com/education/online-education/university-of-north-carolina-at-chapel-hill-199120/rankings). Return to footnote reference