Graduate certificate programs in public affairs and social sciences may help students develop and enhance specific skills within their field of study. Public affairs cover a broad range of activities in government, social justice, business and social services. Social sciences disciplines include economics, sociology, political science, psychology and the behavioral sciences. Certificate programs in public affairs and social sciences range in topics as diverse as applied behavior analysis, epidemiology, coaching, communication, defense policy and social work. In any of these areas, students can look for planned courses of study that typically include a few, highly-focused classes.
written by Rana Waxman
Graduate certificate programs in public affairs and social sciences may answer your needs for a short-term, focused education. In fact, many certificates may only entail about 12 or 15 credit hours. As a result, full-time students may be able to earn their certificate in less than one year. Keep in mind that each school may have a slightly different format.
Some graduate certificate programs in public affairs and social sciences mirror their related masters degree. Students could take classes alongside other grad students – and learn graduate material, without the commitment to a full degree. This might be a great way to explore a topic area, or build on an undergraduate education. As a possible side benefit, credits earned may be transferrable to a masters program. In other words, a graduate certificate might keep the door open to continued education. If this is your goal, you should check with prospective schools to see how to structure your program.
With the rapid pace of technology and new research
that is conducted on many subjects, continued education can be a smart way to stay up-to-date. To that end, post-masters graduate certificate programs in public affairs and social sciences may appeal to current professionals - those who hope to refine their ability to lead, or learn and apply new methods to help solve problems in the workplace. So, whether you seek a potential promotion or career switch, a graduate certificate may be a worthwhile endeavor.
Some graduate certificate programs in public affairs and social sciences are available to students who have earned their bachelors degree. Application and enrollment is bound to vary. Those who are not already enrolled in a graduate program may have to furnish a written statement, experience, GRE scores and transcripts. Other certificate programs may presume students have their masters degree and work experience in the topic covered in the certificate. Contact schools directly for details.
Today’s universities and colleges often provide a choice of format to address the needs of students and professionals with busy lives. You can look for a local grad school where classes may be offered evenings, weekends, or during the day. Alternatively, some graduate certificate programs in public affairs and social sciences may be available either online or in a blended online format for added flexibility and convenience. Blended programs are a hybrid, which means they usually have onsite and online requirements. Read descriptions carefully to determine which format might fit your lifestyle.
DID YOU KNOW?
When surveyed about their education, 4% of Clinical Social Workers said they had a post-bachelors certificate, 4% a post-masters certificate.i
Since public affairs and social sciences covers a lot of ground, you can narrow your choices of graduate certificate programs to match a broad category, say psychology or nonprofit administration. Then, refine by your interest in any associated sub-categories. With so many disciplines, you might look for a graduate certificate that fills gaps in your education, in a way that works for you.
A graduate certificate program in conflict and peace studies may help students and professionals deal with all types of conflicts. In some cases, students may have to take five courses and complete a supervised internship. Coursework is likely to provide an overview of various approaches to conflict, as well as conflict resolution and leadership methods. As a result, students may develop their ability to lead, mediate, and settle conflicts. Whether you are interested in law enforcement or counseling, this may be a certificate of value.
Some graduate certificate programs in counseling psychology may help students complete the education requirements for Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC) in their state. Programs vary, but may entail about eighteen credits. These could be designed specifically for students who are in, or have completed, a CACREP-accredited masters in counseling program. In some schools, the professional counseling courses you take may be electives where you choose topics around a common theme. Addictions counseling, counseling children and adolescents, couples and family counseling are some examples.
Individuals who have earned a masters degree in economics or statistics and want to update their knowledge might turn to a post-masters certificate. Some programs may allow students to choose the courses they want to explore, rather than provide a pre-set curriculum. Potential areas of study could include Bayesian econometrics, real risk or cost-benefit analysis.
You have a masters degree in counseling and now want to obtain a School Counselor Certification in your state. Here is where a post masters graduate certificate may come in handy. You might be able to work with a program coordinator to identify which areas and courses you need to satisfy state educational requirements.
As an emergency management professional, you may seek a less intensive educational experience - one where you might apply what you learn in real time. A graduate certificate in business and organizational continuity might be a helpful way to meet this goal. Coursework is likely to focus narrowly on issues such as organizational continuity, risk assessment and organizational recovery.
Graduate certificate programs in gerontology explore a broad range of issues that older adults experience. Some certificates are multidisciplinary, whereas others may build specific, and career-focused, knowledge.
Gerontology Graduate Certificate: A gerontology graduate certificate may be designed for students who wish to understand how to work directly with the older adult. Others may be involved in education and research that relates to aging issues. Some courses are likely to cover basics like adult development, and the psychosocial aspects of aging. Classes might also discuss specific areas of interest for human service professionals. These include subjects such as elder abuse, neglect, senior housing or retirement.
Adult Gerontology Practitioner Certificate: An Adult-Gerontology Practitioner Certificate may help professional nurses refine their knowledge. Nursing certificates are generally aimed at nurses with their Master of Science in Nursing who earned their degree in another nursing niche and want to branch out. This type of certificate could help them to provide clinical care for the elderly. Courses may be geared to the diagnosis and management of acute and chronic health issues.
A graduate certificate in advanced international affairs may help you expand your grasp of worldwide politics and other relevant topics. Some programs may cover a few core subjects such as American foreign policy and National Security policy. At the same time, you may be able to select electives to tailor your studies and, perhaps boost a resume. For instance, you might study national security law, military strategy and cyber security for managers. As an alternative to multiple electives, you might choose an optional emphasis. In this case, your courses are fixed around a theme. These could be subjects such as diplomacy, defense policy and military affairs, intelligence or counter-terrorism. Some students may find this helps them to develop new expertise or stay abreast of recent theory and research.
A graduate certificate in nonprofit administration may help students develop key communication and managerial skills. Coursework could be broad-based to provide overviews and best practices for the nonprofit and philanthropic sectors. For example, you might study how to manage finances for nonprofits. Or, how to develop a board of volunteers and a successful media strategy.
Graduate certificate programs in psychology span topics in general and applied psychology, applied behavior analysis, coaching and more. Some certificates in psychology may be ‘short and sweet.’ These programs may entail the same number of credits as a concentration area for the Masters in Psychology. As a stand-alone credential, you may develop your interests or get your feet web in a single topic. If you continue your studies, you may have have satisfied the credits for the emphasis and your degree will reflect that. Other programs might entail a bit more than just a few courses. This is especially true if they are meant to prepare students to pursue a career-related certification, so make sure to read descriptions.
Applied Behavior Analysis Certificate: An ABA certificate may help students who have their masters degree acquire specific knowledge. Behavior Analysts work with individuals who have disabilities (e.g. autism, behavioral disorders). Their goal is to understand human behavior and work with their client to modify or learn things that could improve quality of life. An advanced (post-masters) certificate program in Applied Behavior Analysis might entail about 27 credit. Some ABA certificates are aligned with the standards of the Behavior Analyst Certification Board. These programs may help you fulfill the education requirements necessary to be eligible to sit for the Board-Certified Behavior Analyst® (BCBA®) exam.
Industrial Organizational Psychology Certificate: Industrial and Organizational Psychology Generalist Certificate students may build the know-how and expertise needed to address workplace behavior. Core coursework is likely to cover organizational behavior, leadership and how to manage change. Electives give you a chance to tailor your studies. You might learn about team dynamics, training theory, consumer motivation and more.
A graduate certificate in public administration might address any number of single topics from government analytics to public health or public service. Some certificates draw their courses from a Master of Public Administration program. In this case, the certificate might align with the course requirements for a concentration. For instance, 12 credits of courses geared to an overview of the public sector or health policy.
Graduate certificate programs in public health are available as stand-alone certificates or as a set of electives within a Master of Public Health (MPH) degree program. Case in point, a certificate in Epidemiology. This type of program may equip you to apply bio-statistical and research methods to uncover the patterns, causes and effects of disease. Other programs, such as a health communication certificate, may appeal to current professionals who want to expand media skills. Coursework might help develop the confidence to plan health campaigns or market health products.
Social workers who want to develop their niche or need continued education credits might turn to a postgraduate certificate in social work. Most graduate certificate programs in social work are focused on a single topic. For instance, a certificate in palliative and end-of-life care might prepare you to work with the dying and their families. Coursework is likely to draw on theories of bereavement and pain management. By comparison, an addictions certificate could enhance your ability to assess and treat substance abuse disorders. Topics of study could delve into mental health disorders, pharmacology and interview methods. Make sure to take note of any practicum hours that you might have to complete along with your courses.
Educators are social agents who might promote health and resilience to at-risk children and youth. A graduate certificate in sociology might help you develop new insights, intervention tools or ways to educate your students. Themes that might be addressed could include child abuse, children’s rights, childhood poverty, crime and deviance. As part of your course of study, you might take part in lectures, workshops, field study and a symposium.
Take your education forward with a graduate certificate. Explore the directory of public affairs and social sciences certificates to choose a great one for you. It’s easy. Select a subject and program format. Then review programs in that category. Don’t forget to contact the schools on your list directly with the on-page form.