Online Graduate Certificate Programs in Public Affairs & Social Sciences

Online Certificate Programs in Public Affairs and Social Sciences often target one topic in a few courses. Public affairs themes span subjects that concern the public in direct ways. This could include disease control, public policy, public administration, and national defense. Social sciences address human behavior in its social and cultural contexts. The social sciences span anthropology, sociology, psychology, political science, and economics.

Online Certificate Programs in Public Affairs Informationwritten by Rana Waxman

Online graduate certificates are available in diverse content areas that branch off both disciplines. For instance, you could study applied behavior analysis, peace studies or nonprofit management. Find a certificate that mirrors your needs and take courses online that may help you gain skills to directly apply to a current career.

Why Consider Online Certificate Programs in Public Affairs and Social Sciences?

Online certificate programs in public affairs and social sciences are often designed for mid-career adults and those who cannot attend residential programs. The format does vary between schools and content areas, but ‘online’ is often synonymous with ‘flexible’ and ‘convenient’. For instance, some programs have multiple start dates year-round. As a result, you might not have to wait too long to begin your courses once you have been admitted.

Access Courses Online

Coursework may be mostly or entirely available through an online course management system, where you get 24/7 access. Study by day or by night. You can usually view videotaped lectures anytime although you need to meet your assignment deadlines. Stay in touch with faculty and classmates through threaded discussions, emails, video conferences or, whatever online tools your school uses.

Maximize Your Time

Many, but not all, online certificate programs in public affairs and social sciences take less

time to complete than a full degree. Because there are usually fewer courses, some full-time students may be able to complete their certificate in less than one year.

Supplement a Graduate Degree

Online graduate certificate programs may help supplement a bachelors or masters degree.

Online post-bachelors certificates can sometimes be an interim step before you enter a graduate program. Credits earned in an online certificate program may be counted towards a masters degree in a related area where schools have this availability. You might also use an online certificate to supplement curriculum in a current masters program.

Online advanced or post-masters certificates may help current professionals learn about new theories, methods and research. This could prove useful on several fronts, whether you need to accrue continued education credits, hope to change careers, boost a resume, or seek career advancement.

Prepare for Licensure

Some online certificate programs in public affairs and social sciences may prepare students to seek licensure. What this typically means is that the programs fulfill the education (credit) requirements that a state board has set out for someone to be eligible to take its licensure exam. It is always up to the student to know what their state requires and whether the online program is approved for that goal.

Explore a Range of Public Affairs & Social Sciences Online Certificate Programs

Which online graduate certificate is perfect for you? Some students look for an area that may help them refine skills and develop more expertise in their field. Other students might seek a way to explore new ground, or fill in some holes in their education – to round it out. Whatever your reasons, we suggest you think of a broad category, then look at some of the topics that branch out of it. When there are multiple choices in your discipline, compare courses to see which ones mirror your interests.

Online Certificate Programs in Applied Research

Students who pursue a post-bachelors certificate in Applied Research could acquire the skills and knowledge to conduct original research projects. Coursework is likely to cover key research and writing methods. Also, classes could discuss the ins and outs of how to perform both quantitative and qualitative research. To fine tune their abilities, students may have to complete a final project. Those who wish to pursue further studies might enroll in a Master of Arts in Communication program, while others might take communication-based electives.

Online Certificate Programs in Conflict and Peace Studies

An online graduate certificate in conflict resolution may explore both theories and methods for the analysis and settlement of different types of conflicts. Required courses are likely to cover the causes and manifestations of conflict as well as how to proceed when in a dispute. Students may also learn some communication dynamics that are relevant to conflicts such as mediation and negotiation. Some programs may consist of 5 courses (15 credits). Students may be able to apply the core credit hours toward a Master of Science or PhD program, if they are accepted and want to continue their studies.


When surveyed, 20% of Federal Mediators reported they had a post-baccalaureate certificate.i

Online Certificate Programs in Counseling Psychology

An online certificate in counseling psychology may enhance the credentials of professionals who help others overcome or manage lifespan issues. By learning new therapeutic skills, you might be able to reach out to new groups. Or, use a different type of therapy to address clients you already counsel.

The Online Horticultural Therapy Graduate Certificate involves the use of plant science and horticulture techniques to improve quality of life. It is a type of therapy that may be used for individuals with physical or mental challenges. Students may take a total of 12 credit hours. Their coursework could be a mix of human issues, clinical skills and a practicum. Some of the subjects discussed are likely to include the therapeutic aspects of fruit and vegetable gardening and current research.

Online Certificate Programs in Economics

You have a Masters in Statistics or Economics and want to expand or refresh your knowledge and stay up to date with advanced forecasting and analysis methods. An online post-masters Certificate in Quantitative Methods in Applied Economics may suit your purposes. In some programs, you may get to choose your courses so they align with areas you hope to build up. Course choices might include topics such as Bayesian econometrics, financial econometrics, real risk and cost-benefit analysis. 

Online Certificate Programs in Gerontology

An online Gerontology graduate certificate explores various aspects of aging and elderly populations. Some certificates may be designed specifically for nurses, while others might have broader appeal.

Online Adult Gerontology Practitioner Certificate is a course of study aimed at professional nurses who may have earned their MSN in Nursing in another practice area. Through courses and clinical practice, nurses may learn how to provide health care to the older adult. Some of the courses might address physiology and pathology, while others could cover pharmacology and health diagnostics.

Online Gerontology Certificate is an applied program where students may discuss some of the social and behavioral contexts of the older population. This type of certificate may entail about 15 credits of required courses and electives. Required courses may cover various points of view about aging, and a class in adult development. Electives might be cover topics such as policy and aging, cognitive health and long-term care.

Online Certificate Programs in International Relations

An online certificate in Advanced International Affairs (CAIA) may help current professionals build or sharpen their resume credentials in key areas such as American Foreign Policy and National Security Policy. Some programs may require students to complete 12 credits, and could allow for highly-focused study in one of four possible areas of emphasis: Diplomacy, Defense Policy and Military Affairs, Intelligence, and Counterterrorism. Students who do choose a concentration may be required to take both core and emphasis-specific courses. Other students may wish to explore possible online courses in subjects such as the global economy, border security, homeland defense or cyber security for managers. 

Online Certificate Programs in Nonprofit Management

An online certificate in Nonprofit Management may provide an overview of the foundations of the vibrant nonprofit sector. Also, it may offer insight into the distinct skills that could be essential for management of nonprofits. Through the completion of about 12 credits, you make take diverse electives or tailor your studies with an area of emphasis. Potential concentrations might include Fundraising and Philanthropy; Financial Management; Leadership and Management; Health and Human Service Policy or NGOs.

Online Certificate Programs in Political Science

An online certificate in Defense Policy and Military Affairs may help students develop their grasp of political violence and terrorism within the international system. Some certificates may entail about 12 credits. Students may have to take a few core courses in American Foreign Policy and National Security Policy. Other courses might expand on issues such as military strategy and the law of war. Programs of this nature often require online discussion several times a week, which may provide a forum to exchange ideas with other professionals.

Online Certificate Programs in Psychology

There are a variety of online graduate certificate programs in psychology to explore. Most of are intended to help students develop a highly-focused set of skills.

Online Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate: Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) is a scientific approach to the study of behavior. It addresses how to describe, explain, predict and change behavior. Some students who already have their masters degree and want to enter the field might enroll in an online ABA certificate to meet education requirements set by the Behavior Analysis Certification Board (BACB). To that end, many applied behavior analyst certificates base their course of study on BACB standards. Courses may cover things like verbal behavior, assessment, ethics, principles and procedures. If your goal is to meet licensure requirements, make sure to choose an appropriate program. 

Online Graduate Certificate in Industrial Organizational Psychology: Industrial organizational psychology examines human behavior in the workplace and how organizations function. Students who are interested in management strategies to help achieve goals within an enterprise might develop this knowledge in an online Graduate Certificate of Completion in Industrial and Organizational Psychology. Some courses may cover professional skills and research methods. Others are likely to address techniques to motivate and improve workplace performance. This might include strategies to resolve conflicts and manage personnel.

Online Graduate Certificate in Coaching: Students who want an alternative to psychotherapy might pursue studies in solution-focused coaching. Some of the topics that might be discussed could include an overview of systems theories, psychopathology and human development. Other courses could discuss coaching methods. Those who want to continue their studies may be able to apply some of the credits to a MS, PhD, or DMFT in Family Therapy, should they be accepted into this type of program. 

Online Graduate Certificate in Child and Adolescent Psychology: Child and adolescent psychology discusses the mental health issues and struggles that younger populations face. Child and Adolescent Psychology Certificate students may take courses that delve into the biological, psychological, and social factors that impact children and adolescents. These could be things like peer pressure, body image, drugs, alcohol and relationships. Coursework is likely to cover psychopathology and behavior disorders, trauma and crisis intervention, and evidence-based programs. 

Online Certificate Programs in Public Affairs

Online certificate programs in public affairs could explore areas such as public health, government relations, corporate and social responsibility, issue management and communications among others.

Online Graduate Certificate in Public Health: This program might allow students to explore current public health and health policy issues. Public health is a multidisciplinary field. It blends public policy, research, and population health sciences, with an eye to promote healthy practices and disease prevention. At the same time, coursework could develop a foundational grasp of key areas. Among these are population health sciences, epidemiology, biostatistics, and environmental health. 

Online Graduate Certificate in Government Analytics: Students who pursue an online certificate in Government Analytics may develop the ability to analyze data related to political, policy and governance challenges. For their required courses, students may discuss political analysis, statistics and quantitative research methods. Electives could cover topics such as statistical analysis, geospatial analysis, political behavior and policy analysis or public management.

Take the Next Step

Many full-time professionals seek a stand-alone credential to potentially add momentum to a current career. And, with the bonus of transferable hours that might count as credit toward a graduate degree. Online learning may make it easier to do just that. 

Explore online certificate programs in public affairs and social sciences to find a certificate that fits your needs. Choose the category, then compare paid programs. Use the on-page form to easily contact schools directly.


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