Academic Catalog 2023-2024

Graduate Certificate Programs

Admission Criteria

Admissions Criteria and Procedures for Certificate Programs Carrying Graduate Credit

Concordia College admits students of any race, color, national or ethnic origin, age or gender to its programs and activities. It does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, sex, national and ethnic origin, sexual orientation, or disability in the administration of its educational policies, financial aid program, athletics and all other educational programs and activities. Admission criteria include:

  1. Applicants must possess an earned baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited institution with a GPA of at least 2.5 (on a 4.0 scale). Exceptions to this rule may be granted by the Graduate Programs Committee, in consultation with the Admissions Committee of individual programs.
  2. Applicants shall demonstrate that they possess sufficient academic and/or professional background and experience.
  3. Each program may have additional admissions requirements or may set higher qualifications. Refer to specific certificate program requirements for details.

Admission Deadlines

– see individual program

Admission Procedures

– see individual program

Admission Procedures for International Students

In addition to meeting the previously stated admission requirements, to qualify for admission, all international students must demonstrate proficiency in English, must complete a credentials check through a third party provider, and must provide evidence of adequate financial support for themselves and any dependents for the duration of their certificate program.

Deadline – Programs may have particular deadlines for applications and deposits in order to allow enough time to process the application and complete other requirements for international students. Please see individual programs for specific dates and requirements for admission.

Language Proficiency – English proficiency shall be demonstrated prior to admission by achieving a score on the IELTS (minimum score of 6.5) or TOEFL (minimum score of 80) that meets the specific graduate certificate program requirements. The test date must be within two years of the date of application. Information on these tests can be obtained online ( and Students’ official results must be received directly from the testing service before they may enroll. Concordia’s TOEFL code is 6113; no code is required for IELTS. Individual programs may have additional proficiency requirements.

Validation of Credentials – International students must submit their undergraduate transcript(s) to an approved credential evaluation agency for evaluation. These approved agencies can be found on the NACES website (

Financial Requirements – International students must demonstrate and certify adequate financial support before Concordia can issue an I-20 form. To do so, students must submit the International Student Financial Aid and Certification Form and a certified bank statement.

Medical Insurance – International students are required to carry and show evidence of health insurance valid in the United States while they are enrolled.

Procedures for Transfer of Credit

While a program may elect to set additional requirements for evaluating the credentials of applicants who propose to obtain credit for graduate work completed at other institutions or in other programs, the following standards shall apply for transfer of credits into a graduate certificate program at Concordia College.

  1. Comparability of academic credit. In order to be acceptable for transfer credit, the academic credit earned at other institutions or programs shall be from programs that are at least equivalent to that into which the applicant proposes to transfer. For example, if the Concordia program carries specialized accreditation or meets specific professional standards in order to facilitate licensure or similar recognition, transfer credits need to have been earned in programs with equivalent standards.
  2. Recency of course completion. In order to be eligible for transfer credit, the courses for which the academic credit was earned must have been taken within seven years of application and carry a grade of B or higher.
  3. Level. In order to be eligible for transfer credit, the academic credit must have been earned at a minimum of the graduate level.
  4. Content. In order to be eligible for transfer credit, the academic credit must be at least 75% equivalent to the course established for the Concordia graduate certificate program into which the transfer is proposed.
  5. Limitations and residency. A maximum of 4 graduate transfer credits may be counted toward a Graduate Academic Certificate Program. Individual Graduate Academic Certificate Programs may choose to not allow any transfer credits.
  6. International Transfer Credit. Students requesting transfer of credit for courses taken at universities outside of the United States must have their final transcripts evaluated by an approved credential evaluation agency found on the NACES website (

Action on Applications

All applicants who have provided the required application materials will be notified of action taken on their request for admittance to the graduate certificate program. Admission requires approval by the program director and/or department chair and the Dean of Graduate Studies or their designee.

Admission Status

The following definitions will be applied in making admission decisions for a graduate certificate program at Concordia College:

  1. Accepted. The applicant has satisfied all the criteria for full acceptance into the graduate certificate program and is expected to begin active graduate study with the beginning of the next available term. Students should consult their individual program guidelines, as some programs may accept students to a program on a deferred status basis. An applicant who is accepted has completed the application process in full, including payment of application fee.
  2. Admission denied. Indicates that the applicant did not meet one or more of the criteria for admission to the program. Applicants may also be denied admission because a program’s maximum enrollment has been reached. The applicant shall be advised of whether they may re-apply at a later time.
  3. Applicants not seeking degrees. It is anticipated that certain programs will attract individuals who are pursuing post-baccalaureate level education for purposes other than earning a graduate degree. These individuals may be admitted at the discretion of the program provided that such admission does not displace qualified applicants who desire to pursue degrees. Such non-degree-seeking graduate students are expected to satisfy minimum admission standards including possession of a baccalaureate degree. Non-degree-seeking graduate students are subject to the same retention standards as degree-seeking graduate students, except for the aforementioned course limitation. Financial aid is not available for non-degree-seeking students.

Change in Classification

Students enrolled with non-degree status may subsequently desire to be considered for admission to pursue a graduate certificate or an advanced degree. Such students should consult with the director of the program in which they are interested. Such a change in status may be accomplished for a subsequent term by submitting a complete application to the Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies. Appropriate credit hours earned in the non-degree-seeking status may be used to fulfill graduate degree requirements if approved by the student’s program director. No course taken in the non-degree status for which the grade is less than C will be permitted on a Plan of Study for a graduate certificate. No course taken in the non-degree status for which the grade is less than B will be permitted on a Plan of Study for a graduate degree.

Academic Progress

Minimum Cumulative Grade Point Average

The overall cumulative GPA must be at least 2.5 for all graduate certificate coursework completed. Because a 2.5 cumulative GPA is required for graduation, this is the standard by which academic progress is determined. No courses with grades lower than a C may be counted for graduate credit. Students receiving two grades of C (2.0) or lower in the program, earned after they have been admitted, will have their progress in the program reviewed by the program director. Students falling below the 2.5 cumulative GPA requirements may continue coursework. However, only those students who earn a 2.5 cumulative GPA will be awarded the certificate. Concordia cumulative GPA is the GPA calculated from just the courses attempted at Concordia (not transfer grades).

Academic Suspension and Dismissal

The college reserves the right to suspend or dismiss students who otherwise fail to meet college academic or conduct standards. In the case of academic dismissal, the student is not eligible to be considered for readmission.

Each program may elect to set additional requirements for continuation of study in their certificate program.

Appeal Procedures Related to Admission and Retention in a Graduate Certificate Program

Students have the right to appeal decisions that negatively affect their progress in their graduate certificate program. Graduate students may appeal decisions pertaining to transferability of courses from other institutions or programs, grades awarded, and recommendations against continuation of study in the program.

  1. Admission Decisions: In cases in which applicants disagree with admission decisions or believe that their applications warrant special consideration in light of program and/or college admission guidelines, the following appeal procedures may apply.
    1. Written appeal. The applicant shall file a written appeal with the Graduate Programs Committee within 30 calendar days of the date of the letter notifying the applicant of the admission decision.
    2. Content of the appeal. The appeal letter shall include a complete explanation of the basis of the appeal.
    3. Investigation. The Graduate Programs Committee shall determine appropriate investigative measures and conduct an analysis to resolve the appeal within 30 calendar days of receiving the written appeal. The committee shall consider the record of the decision and appeal in its entirety, applying college and certificate program graduate admission standards as its criteria. The decision of the committee may be appealed to the dean of the college as a final step in the appeals process if desired by the applicant. The decision of the dean is final and not subject to further appeal.
  2. Retention: In the event that graduate students disagree with a decision made concerning their progress in the program once they have been admitted to the program, these appeal procedures may apply.
    1. First level of appeal. In order to be considered a valid appeal, the graduate student shall address the appeal first to the faculty member in case of a course grade or to the department chair or program director for other issues. In order to be considered, the appeal shall be made within 30 business days of notification and in a form acceptable to the sponsoring department or program. In the event that the graduate certificate program director or department chair is the faculty person responsible for the decision to which the student objects, the program will arrange for an appropriate person to hear the appeal at the first level. The program director must advise the student in writing of the decision within seven business days of receiving the appeal.
    2. Second level of appeal. If the student does not agree with the decision made at the first level of appeal, the matter may be submitted to the Graduate Programs Committee for consideration. In order to be considered a valid appeal at the second level, the appeal must be in writing, filed with the Graduate Programs Committee within seven business days of the first level appeal decision, and include a complete description on which the appeal is based. The graduate student filing the appeal must notify the sponsoring program that the appeal is being pursued to the second level by providing a copy of the written appeal at the same time as it is filed with the Graduate Programs Committee. The sponsoring program may file a response to the appeal at this time.
    3. Investigation. The Graduate Programs Committee shall examine the entire record of the appeal, including the response by the sponsoring program, and conduct such investigation as it determines is warranted. The committee shall apply the college and program performance and retention standards in reaching its decision concerning the appeal. The chair of the committee shall notify the student and the program in writing of its decision within seven working days of receipt of the appeal. The decision of the Committee is final.

Background Checks

Background checks may be required by some graduate certificate programs. See individual program for details or additional requirements.

Records Information

The official student file will be maintained by the individual program directors, the Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies, and the Office of the Registrar.

Financial Information

The cost of tuition and fees vary by program. Please contact the individual certificate program for more information.

Price increases during the academic year are not anticipated; however, the college reserves the right to make them should unforeseen circumstances make it necessary.

Financial Arrangements

Application Fee: The nonrefundable application fee varies. See individual program.

Tuition Payments: Tuition and fees for Fall Semester courses are due by August 15th. Tuition and fees for Spring Semester courses are due by January 15th. Tuition and fees for Summer Session courses will be indicated on the billing statement and will be due the 15th of the month following the official statement. When financial aid or other adjustments are expected, those adjustments will be deducted on the tuition statement. Please do not delay payments while waiting for adjustments. Interest will be charged on unpaid balances that are past due. Students should not expect to be registered for the next semester if fees are not paid in full.

Withdrawals, Dropped Courses and Refunds

Refund Policy: To withdraw from Concordia College during a course or term, you must complete the proper withdrawal form. Forms are available in the Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies.

Refund Policy: Concordia offers refunds of tuition and fees through the eighth week of fall or spring semester.

If a tuition refund is granted, a determination will be made if any private loan funds must be returned based on any tuition refund. If private loan funds have not been received at the time of withdrawal, you may not be eligible for pending loan disbursements based on the individual program’s guidelines.

Refunds for Reduced Load: Any graduate class that meets for ten days or less will not have the option of a refund.

If you find it necessary to drop a longer course during the semester, process must be complete by the deadlines on the academic calendar. If your student status changes from overload to full time or from full time to part time, tuition refunds through the eighth week of the Fall and Spring Semester will be granted effective on the date the drop-add form is returned to the Office of the Registrar. If you have a refund of tuition as a result of reducing your course load and you are receiving assistance from private sources, this assistance may be reduced up to the amount of the refund.

Appeals on Refunds: Any questions or problems related to refunds should be directed to the controller, whose office is located in the Business Office.

Terms of Statement: In order to receive any credit balance, complete settlement of your bill must be made.

Financial Aid

Credit-based private loans are the only source of financial aid available to graduate certificate students. The Financial Aid Office maintains a list of private loan lenders, but students are not required to use a lender on the list assuming the graduate certificate program meets the programs requirements. Private loans are credit-based, so fees and rates will vary depending on the creditworthiness of the borrower and may in some cases require a co-signer.

Office of the Registrar

Registration Information

After students have been accepted to a graduate certificate program at Concordia College, they will receive registration instructions from the Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies or the specific graduate certificate program director.

Repeating Courses: Students enrolled in a graduate certificate program at Concordia College may be allowed to repeat one course. See individual program for details. A course may be repeated if the student has earned a grade of C or below, and if space permits. All courses attempted remain on the student’s transcript; only the last grade is computed into the GPA and credit is only earned once.

Pass-Fail Registration Option: Students may elect to take a maximum of 4 credits on a satisfactory/unsatisfactory (S/U) basis, in addition to any transfer credits allowed by the graduate level program as well as courses set up to be graded on a pass-fail basis (capstone projects, internships, research thesis). The grade of S is awarded for C and higher level work. The grade of U is awarded for C-, D, and F level work. A course taken as pass-fail will be counted in the attempted hours but will not affect the Concordia GPA. Individual graduate level programs may appeal to the Graduate Programs Committee for an exception to allow more than 4 credits on an S/U basis. Individual graduate
level programs may also elect to exclude certain courses from pass-fail options or not allow any pass-fail

Departures/Exit Procedures

Withdrawal from Current Term:  If it is necessary to withdraw from the term, the student must obtain the application for withdrawal from the program director. The program director will submit the application to the Business Office, Office of Financial Aid, the Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies, and the Office of the Registrar. If endorsed, the withdrawal becomes effective on the date it is approved and is reflected on the academic record. A “W” is noted on the transcript for each dropped course. Failure to file an application for withdrawal or filing an application late will result in additional charges being assessed. Withdrawal from the term may affect a student’s financial aid.

Students who stop attending classes and who do not withdraw in the prescribed manner will be charged as if they had continued in the classes and may earn failing grades. Students who have completed all coursework and are in the process of completing the research thesis or capstone project will not be allowed to withdraw.

The college reserves the right to withdraw students who discontinue class attendance.

See program information for additional academic policies.

If students engage in behavior that suggests a danger to self or others, or if students’ behavior demonstrates they are emotionally or psychologically incapable of functioning properly in the college setting, the college reserves the right to withdraw students involuntarily.

Military Withdrawal: The college will make every effort to accommodate the needs of students called to active military duty. Students who receive orders to report for active U.S. military duty are instructed to contact the Office of Graduate Studies and Continuing Education. Students in this situation must present their Military Orders to initiate accommodations regarding coursework in progress. An approved plan regarding coursework must be established prior to students’ departure. Generally, there are three approaches that may be taken:

  1. Students may be able to complete coursework prior to leaving.
  2. In some situations, it will be feasible for students to receive an Incomplete in a course. If it is not feasible to receive an Incomplete, the students will be allowed to drop a course or courses with a full refund of tuition and fees associated with the dropped course(s). If students receive an Incomplete but are unable to complete the work due to a change in circumstances, the students may appeal to the Graduate Programs Committee for a retroactive course drop under the same terms outlined above.
  3. In some situations, it may be necessary for students to withdraw from the certificate program to fulfill military obligations. In this circumstance, students will be given a 100-percent refund of tuition and fees.

Concordia College is approved by the Minnesota State Approving Agency for Veteran’s Educational Benefits. To obtain benefits, the veteran must apply for a Certificate of Eligibility. Application forms may be obtained from the Veteran’s Administration Regional Office. This should be done as soon as possible after acceptance so that the Certificate of Eligibility may be obtained before veterans come to campus.


Any student who does not plan to return to Concordia for the next term must meet with the program director to complete an Application for Withdrawal.

See additional information under Withdrawal from Current Term.

Academic Leave: Academic Leave is an option in some, but not all, graduate certificate programs. When allowed, students in good standing may apply for an academic leave, allowing them to take leave from the college for up to two terms without having to apply for readmission. Leaves will only be considered in extreme cases where circumstances prohibit all meaningful progress toward the certificate. During an academic leave, students will not have access to institutional resources such as the library, nor will their instructors be available for consultation. Should the student return at the scheduled time, the requirements for graduate certificate completion will follow the catalog at the time of original admission. Applications for leave will be reviewed by the director of the program. The program director will submit the application for academic leave to the Business Office, Office of Financial Aid, the Office of Graduate and Continuing Studies, and the Office of the Registrar.

Further information and assistance is available from the Office of the Registrar.

Glossary of Terms

The following definitions will help you interpret college regulations and understand academic requirements:

Credit Hour: A credit hour is a unit of measure that gives value to the level of instruction, academic rigor and time requirement for a course taken at an educational institution. See the Federal Credit Hour Policy for more information, including the federal definition of a credit hour.

Grades: Grades are indicated by letters, using the traditional method of describing the quality of work in a course. See the following chart for how letter grades are interpreted in terms of quality and grade points. Policy for assigning grades is at the discretion of the individual instructor.

Grade Points: Grade points are the numerical measure of the quality of work. Each grade received is assigned the value indicated on the chart below. The grade points earned in a single course are determined by multiplying the numerical equivalent of the letter grade by the number of credit hours for the course.

Grades and Grade Points

Grades Interpretation Grade Points
A excellent 4.0
A- 3.7
B+ 3.3
B good 3.0
B- 2.7
C+ 2.3
C satisfactory 2.0
C- 1.7
D+ 1.3
D 1.0
D- minimum passing 0.7
IP in progress 01
NG no grade 01
NR no report 01
F failure 0
I incomplete 01
W withdrawn 01
DR dropped course 01

Grades that do not affect the grade point average

Grade Point Average: GPA is determined by dividing total number of grade points by the number of credit hours attempted. A GPA of 2.0 is the same as a C average, 3.0 as a B average, etc.

Incomplete Credits: A grade of “I” is a temporary indicator that credit may be earned upon satisfactory completion of all course requirements. The grade of “I” is justified only when the student is unable to complete course requirements because of circumstances beyond their control and when arrangements have been made with the professor before the end of the semester. It is the responsibility of the student to consult with the professor and request the grade of “I” and develop a plan to meet the instructor’s requirements. The instructor will indicate course requirements to be completed, date by which requirements will be completed and received by the instructor (no later than the eighth week of the following semester), and the course grade which will be recorded should the student fail to meet all conditions of the agreement.

If an “I” has been automatically converted to an F or another assigned default grade, the student may request to complete the necessary coursework. This may only be permitted at the instructor’s discretion and must be completed within one year, which is in accordance with the grade change policy. The student may not complete coursework after that time.

Selected summer graduate courses are designed to be completed shortly after the end of the term. The deadline for completion of these requirements will be established by the program director.

In Progress: A grade of “IP” is a temporary indicator that credit may be earned upon satisfactory completion of coursework.

No Grade: A grade of “NG” can only be applied to courses where continuing registration is required.

Withdrawn: If a student officially withdraws from a course, he/she will receive a grade of W for the course.

Change of Grade: Once a grade is recorded on a student transcript, it becomes part of the institutional record and can be changed only to correct an error in the original grade computation or in cases where there has been a violation of academic integrity. A grade change cannot be made because required (or additional) coursework has been turned in after the end of the term. A grade change can be made by the instructor of record for a course or be made with approval of the chief academic officer, if the instructor of record is not available. A change of grade may not be made more than one year after the grade was officially recorded in the Registrar’s Office.

A student who wishes to appeal a grade may appeal to the department chair or program director, who, in consultation with the faculty member and one or two other faculty members agreeable to the student, will determine whether the grade should be changed. Appeals must be submitted no later than midsemester following the semester in which the grade was assigned. Students seeking an appeal of the academic department/program decision may bring a petition to the dean of the college or designee.

Policies and Regulation

Course Registration

Current graduate students may register the first day of registration for any term. Students will complete registration online. ALT PIN numbers will be provided by the program director or academic advisor.

Class schedules and descriptions of the registration procedures can be found online from the Office of the Registrar.

Registration must be completed and all tuition and fees must be paid to the Business Office before published deadlines.

Graduate Courses

Courses at the 600 and 700 levels are offered for graduate credit only. Courses offered at the 600 level may be open to graduate students or to undergraduate seniors who meet specific requirements. In some instances, courses included in a graduate certificate program may be cross-listed as both an undergraduate and graduate class. In those instances in which undergraduate and graduate students are taking the same course, it is the expectation of Concordia College that course requirements for graduate students will have added rigor that can be easily discerned through an examination of the course syllabus. While the nature of these expectations may vary from course to course, it is assumed that the following categories will usually be the focus for increased rigor. In all cases, additional expectations for graduate students should be clearly identified on the syllabus.

  • Higher grading expectations
  • Additional assignments, papers and/or projects and/or additional expectations including, but not limited to: more sophisticated topic choices, paper length, number of required sources, expectations for public presentation(s), etc.
  • Increased scholarly reading and more sophisticated research/scholarship expectations

Research Involving Human Subjects

If proposed research or a project involves human subjects, the research plan or project will be reviewed by an approved college procedure to assure the protection and rights of those subjects and the procedure established for obtaining informed consent. No research of this type will be initiated until the Institutional Review Board (IRB) has approved it. Forms are available in Moodle. Allow at least four weeks during the academic year for IRB approval.

Academic Integrity

The Concordia community expects all of our members to act with integrity – to act with honest, uprightness and sincerity. Every member of our academic community is charged with the responsibility of encouraging and maintaining an environment of academic integrity. Please refer to the Master's Degree Program Section for the detailed Academic Integrity Policy.