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Certificates

The certificate curricula at Penn are designed by faculty members to guide students in a thorough exploration of a particular topic. Students have the opportunity to earn certificates in a variety of subjects. Each certificate program has been created to direct and recognize students’ learning and discovery in the interdisciplinary subject areas listed below.

You may choose to participate in a certificate program for several reasons. First, the program offers a roadmap for study, indicating which courses to take to gain more expertise on the topic in which you are interested. Second, the certificate appears on your transcript, and clearly announces your academic interest and expertise in this topic for potential employers or educational institutions. Finally, when pursuing a certificate, you are allowed to take up to five courses in a single department. If you do not participate in a certificate program, you are only allowed four courses within any one department while completing your MLA.  

You can earn a certificate in a topic different from your MLA concentration. Both your MLA concentration and your certificate will be listed on your transcript.

Certificate Programs

The African Studies certificate is designed to meet the academic interests of:

  • Those wishing to supplement preparation in a particular discipline with multidisciplinary, graduate-level training in African Studies
  • Recent college graduates who wish to work in fields in which knowledge of Africa is significant
  • Educators who wish to add African subjects to their classroom teaching
  • Those working in professions who have interests in international careers in business, health, development, human rights and other policy fields

Program requirements

  • Two courses in an African language
  • An MLA Proseminar
  • Two Africa-focused courses
  • Three elective courses from the MLA curriculum
  • The African Studies Seminar, AFST 710 (in which students will complete a capstone project)

The African-American Studies certificate is designed to provide students with knowledge to understand and critically evaluate the human, cultural, social and economic factors that have helped to create and shape the African-American and other African Diaspora experiences throughout the world. 

Program requirements

  • Five courses with content relevant to African-American issues
  • A capstone project that addresses aspects of African-American culture, completed as one of the five-course unit
  • An MLA Proseminar
  • Three electives from the MLA curriculum

The Ancient Studies certificate is designed to meet the academic interests of:

  • Students seeking greater familiarity with the civilizations and cultures of the Ancient World
  • Educators who wish to add Ancient Studies subject matter to their classroom teaching
  • Students interested in the relationship between ancient and modern cultures

Program requirements

  • One MLA Proseminar
  • Five courses with significant Ancient Studies content
  • A capstone project on an Ancient Studies topic
  • Two MLA seminar electives

The Cinema Studies certificate is designed to meet the academic interests of:

  • Students interested in graduate-level study of cinema
  • Professionals whose career involves the use and understanding of the medium of film
  • Educators who wish to add the study of film to their classroom teaching

Program requirements

  • One MLA Proseminar focusing on cinema
  • Four courses with content relating to cinema studies
  • A capstone project on a topic in cinema studies
  • Three MLA electives

Read about Jeremy Quattlebaum, a Cinema Studies Certificate recipient.

The Cultural Heritage Management certificate has several interrelated goals, which are to:

  • Provide students with a graduate-level understanding of the central issues in cultural heritage management in a global context
  • Equip students with skills such as economic analysis, fund-raising and non-profit management, which are essential to successful careers in heritage management organizations
  • Help educators integrate cultural heritage management content into their curriculum

Program requirements

  • One MLA Proseminar
  • Five courses focusing on Cultural Heritage Management including three from the following:
    • Cultural Heritage in Global Perspective (ANTH 593)
    • Cultural Heritage and Conflict (ANTH 527)
    • Media, Culture and Society (SOCI 595/940)
    • Ethics, Archaeology and Cultural heritage (ANTH 511)
    • The Economics of Heritage (ANTH 598)
  • Two MLA seminar electives
  • A capstone project on a Cultural Heritage Management topic

The East Asian certificate is designed to meet the academic interests of:

  • Students seeking greater familiarity with the civilizations and cultures of China, Korea and Japan
  • Educators who wish to add East Asian subject matter to their classroom teaching
  • Professionals whose careers involve them with East Asia in trade, commercial or legal matters
  • Administrators of non-profit agencies whose activities are affected by East Asian public policy and governmental activity

Program requirements

  • At least two East Asian language courses (Chinese, Japanese or Korean)
  • Program Requirements
  • One MLA Proseminar focusing on East Asia
  • Three courses focusing on East Asia
  • Three courses with significant East Asian content
  • A capstone project on an East Asian topic, completed as one of the six courses in East Asian studies
  • Two MLA seminar electives

With the Environmental Studies Certificate concentration, students may explore particular interests within multidisciplinary, graduate-level training in Environmental Studies.

Program requirements

  • Five courses with content related to the environment
  • A capstone project that integrates environmental issues, completed as one of the five course units
  • An MLA Proseminar
  • Three electives from the MLA curriculum

The Folklore Studies certificate allows students to draw on critical, social and literary theory to understand the poetics and politics of ordinary life.

Program requirements

  • Five courses with content related to Folklore Studies
  • A capstone project that draws on ethnographic methods, completed as one of the five course units
  • An MLA Proseminar
  • Three electives from the MLA curriculum

Students pursuing the Gender and Sexuality Studies certificate will examine how social and cultural notions about gender affect the lives and relationships of men and women and will analyze the ways in which gender, as well as other basic organizing principles such as race, class and sexual orientation, affect the distribution of power and access to opportunity. 

Program requirements

  • Five courses officially listed or cross-listed as GSWS, or courses with a strong gender or sexuality studies component. (Please consult with Dr. Demie Kurz or the Gender and Sexuality Studies Faculty Director, as well as an MLA advisor, about which courses will be acceptable.)
  • A capstone project that addresses issues relating to women, gender or sexuality, to be completed as one of the five course units
  • An MLA Proseminar
  • Three electives from the MLA curriculum

The Global Studies certificate is designed to meet the academic interests of:

  • Students seeking greater familiarity with the global issues
  • Students interested in graduate-level research in Global Studies
  • Professionals whose careers require in-depth knowledge of globalization and cross-cultural communication
  • Students interested in preparing themselves for work in the global marketplace or in international non-profits
  • Educators who wish to add Global Studies subject matter to their classroom teaching

Program requirements

  • One MLA Proseminar focusing on Global Studies
  • Five courses focusing on Global Studies
  • A capstone project on a Global Studies topic
  • Two MLA seminar electives

Read about Stanley Pang, a Global Studies Certificate recipient.

Through the Jewish Studies certificate, students may explore Jewish history, culture and literature, as routes to understanding the Jewish experience, both past and present.

Program requirements

  • Two courses in Jewish history, culture or civilization that, individually or in combination, survey both pre-modern and modern Jewish history
  • Two courses in Jewish literature from two of three periods (biblical, Rabbinic-medieval, modern)
  • An MLA Proseminar
  • Three courses from the MLA curriculum
  • One course within which students will complete their capstone projects related to Jewish Studies
  • Successful completion of either a written or oral examination in Jewish history (may be done in the context of a course)
  • Students wishing to combine Jewish Studies with a concentration in Hebrew or Yiddish must meet the same requirements, except that two of the above courses must involve the study of subject matter in the appropriate language beyond the elementary or intermediate level

Latin American Studies certificate students explore topics that have been developed and disputed in Latin America, including the relations of the people to the land; the intersections of natural and supernatural worlds; class-based societies and movements for social change; and social definitions of race, ethnicity and sexuality.

Program requirements

  • Five courses with content related to Latin American Studies
  • A capstone project on a topic pertaining to Latin American Studies, completed as one of the five course units
  • An MLA Proseminar
  • Three electives from the MLA curriculum

The Public Culture certificate is designed to meet the academic interests of:

  • Mid-career and senior non-profit administrators who seek an intellectually challenging course of study that enables them to reflect on their areas of expertise and to engage the aesthetic, philosophical, social, political and organizational aspects of their work
  • Students who seek practical training in institutional management and leadership in addition to courses focusing on cultural theory and philosophy
  • Students who do not currently work for a non-profit organization but who are interested in exploring public institutions and human actions with reference to issues of cultural agency, display, globalization, privacy and self-determination, among others

Program requirements

  • One MLA Proseminar in Public Culture
  • Three courses related to Public Culture issues
  • One independent study course, which can be linked to an internship
  • Three elective courses from the MLA curriculum
  • A capstone project completed in a topic related to Public Culture (MLA 699)

Students who pursue a certificate in Religion in Public Life design a program around an area of primary interest, selecting graduate seminars offered in the School of Arts and Sciences by the departments of Religious Studies, Folklore and Folklife, History, English, Anthropology, and Asian and Middle Eastern Studies.

Program requirements

  • The MLA Proseminar Religion in Public Life
  • At least one seminar dealing directly with church/state issues
  • Three additional courses dealing with Religion in Public Life issues
  • Three elective courses from the MLA curriculum
  • One course in which a capstone project related to the Religion in Public Life certificate is successfully completed

The Urban Studies certificate is for students seeking to think about cities in an informed, disciplined and integrated way, and to construct an intellectual understanding of the challenges and virtues of urban life.

Program requirements

  • Five courses listed or cross-listed as Urban Studies courses, from among the following themes: History of Cities, Comparative and Theoretical Dimensions, the Built Environment, Urban Economics and Finance, Public Policy and Government.
  • A capstone project on a topic pertaining to Urban Studies, completed as one of the five course units
  • An MLA Proseminar
  • Three electives from the MLA curriculum

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