Certificates Frequently Asked Question

How do I get my certificate or specialization?

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You’ve selected the certificate or specialization program you want to pursue...What's next?

Step 1 – Create a UCSCSV student account

Creating an account with us is free and easy.

A student account allows you to:

  • Enroll in courses.
  • Receive updates regarding your program and upcoming courses.
  • Once you've completed your first course, you may establish candidacy in that program.

Already have an account? You can log in here.

To create a new student account, please go to the Create a New Customer Account page.

If you encounter any issues creating your account, you can contact our Student Services Department.

text: Certificate Program. Bioinformatics. Enroll in Certificate.

Step 2 – Complete your first course.


Step 3 – Establish candidacy

Your next step is to establish candidacy. On every certificate and specialization page, there is a green Establish Candicacy button appearing on the image at the top of the webpage of your selected program and near the lefthand pop-out menu of that page.

Click on the green button and follow the instructions.

Why establish candidacy in a certificate or specialization?

While establishing candidacy in a program doesn't require any cost or subsequent action, it does support your ultimate successful completion.

  • Sets Expectations—Locks in curriculum requirements for the certificate or specialization. This ensures that any curriculum changes subsequent to receipt of your decision to establish candidacy will not affect your course requirements.
  • News, Updates & Events—Allows you to receive tailored notifications, updates, and special opportunities related to your selected program.
  • Job Opportunities—Grants you access to tailored announcements about job opportunities from partner companies.
  • Guidance—Provides you easy access to your progress toward completion.
  • Candidacy—Establishes your candidacy so you can lock in the requirements for your certificate or specialization.
UCSC Silicon Valley Extension Certificate for Specialization

Step 4 – Complete your program

You must complete all the necessary units in a certificate within a four-year window (three years for a specialization program). The clock begins on the first day of your first course in the program. For example, if you started a course on Sept. 5, 2023, you would have to finish by Sept. 4, 2027.

Note: Declaring candidacy does not trigger the beginning of the four-year window. It begins the first day of the first course in your chosen certificate program. The Certificate Completion Review process does not have to occur within the four-year timeframe.

Exceptions to the four-year requirement
  • If you declare candidacy before Jan. 1, 2024, you will have five years to complete a program.
  • Students participating in a special program, such as workforce, international, or our curriculum partner programs, such as the Legal Studies courses taught by CLS by Barbri and sales and business courses taught by Ziplines Education, have shorter completion requirements.

Step 4 – Receive your certificate and digital badge

Once you have met all your curriculum requirements for your certificate or specialization, there are a few more steps to complete the process.

  1. Be sure you have met all the requirements for your certificate/specialization that were in place at the time you established your candidacy. You can review our archived quarterly catalogs for the exact requirements that were in place at the time.
  2. Enroll in the completion fee for your certificate or specialization program. Note: if you haven't established candidacy in the certificate or specialization, it may not be issued.
  3. Pay the processing fee.
  4. Make sure that your mailing address and contact information are current in your student account.

Please allow up to four weeks for your certificate or specialization to be processed and mailed out. Your digital badge will be issued once your certificate or specialization is processed.

Optional steps

  1. Celebrate all your hard work.
  2. Post your digital badge to your social media and let potential employers see your new skills.
  3. Check our Career Services page for job search tips and events.
  4. Start networking with UCSC alumni.
  5. Let us know about your new job! Really. We'd love to share your story with our students. extension@ucsc.edu