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Below, we’ve included answers to the more common questions about Degree Plus. If you don’t see your question, please email us at proed@continue.utah.edu, and we’ll be in touch!

Although originally designed for those with traditional liberal arts degrees, Degree Plus certificates are ideal for a variety of audiences looking for ways to maximize the value of their degree and open pathways to exciting, in-demand careers.

  • Recent graduates just starting their professional journey
  • Experienced professionals wanting to add new skills to their portfolio
  • Students currently finishing a bachelor degree program
  • Professionals wanting to “try-out” new technologies or career areas
  • Individuals planning to pursue a graduate degree

Not at all – your degree is absolutely enough to start a career! In fact, the entire Degree Plus certificate series is based on a wide body of research showing that your liberal arts degree will serve you well; providing a solid foundation that can take you into a variety of career fields. (You can read more about the demand in the labor market for liberal arts majors here.)

Degree Plus isn’t about filling in gaps in your education, it’s about expanding options to career areas that complement your degree. Degrees in social sciences and humanities can be broad. While versatile, adding specific technical skills to a broad foundation is often just the ticket to open doors to career options you may never have considered.

And, Degree Plus isn’t for everyone. For those who have a clear path to their chosen career and the skills to get there, Degree Plus may just be an option for the future when you need to add certain skills to your professional toolbox.

From current research, we know that once you get past an associate’s or bachelor’s degree, it often becomes less about the packaging (a degree) and more about the skills that you can bring to a position. Some fields obviously require an advanced degree (lawyer or doctor for example), but, in today’s fast-changing labor market, having the technical skills to get the job done (“I can run a regression analysis in Excel” for example) is what can help your resume really stand out.

“Companies are increasingly examining non-traditional credentials, like bootcamps or online certifications, when looking to fill certain roles. We know the useful shelf life of professional skills has shrunk to less than five years so there is a critical need for professionals to pursue ongoing learning. As in-demand skills continue to shift, we’re going to see an acceleration in the need for continuous, digital learning to keep pace with today’s environment.” 

Tess Taylor / @HRKnows1 / Jan. 10, 2017 / 

We would also like to point out that many Degree Plus certificates are designed to provide a launching pad into specific career areas.  For those finding a new passion and wanting to advance in their new career field, returning to get an advanced degree (for example, business, economics or instructional design) can be a viable long term plan.  Your career coach can help you identify possible opportunities!

 The certificates do not have any prerequisites. Degree Plus is built on the assumption that these career areas and skills are new to you. The program takes your existing foundation and adds to it to maximize the learning outcomes.
 We understand that most of our students are working, so we hold most of our classes at night, Monday through Thursday. Certificates with significant computer usage, may hold a few Saturday labs too. Due to instructor schedules or the nature of the curriculum, a few classes are taught during the day from 9am – 4pm.  See individual certificate information regarding schedule differences and exceptions.
 No degree is required.  Degree Plus is a great option for those with an AA degree, Bachelor’s degree or those who are in the process of pursuing a degree.

There are a few options for refunds:

  1. Cancel prior to the University of Utah cancellation deadline for classes with non-traditional semester schedules. This is usually anywhere from 5 to 10 days after the beginning of class. Prior to that date, your tuition is refundable. Find out more about cancellation policies here.
  2. Defer if needed – if you’ve passed the refund deadline, you may defer you enrollment to the next time the certificate is held.
None of our certificates require a textbook and instead incorporate a variety of articles or digital materials which are usually available at no charge. Some certificates may require or recommend the purchase of software but when possible, a “student license”  or free version will be used. Please see our Tuition & Financial Aid page for a list of additional purchases for students.
Degree Plus certificates are taught as a continuous, cohort experience with one class building on another, resulting in a final capstone project.

Most courses will use a mix of lectures, guest speakers, projects, activities, case discussions and demonstrations. All courses include a capstone project and numerous opportunities to apply discussions to actual projects.

Instructors will utilize Canvas (a learning management system that creates a student-centric website for the course) to facilitate the learning experience. Students not familiar with Canvas will have plenty of assistance in getting acquainted with this tool.

Some certificates may assign light reading or videos to watch in between classes to maximize learning opportunities. Some certificates may also suggest reading materials prior to the start of the course.

Access to a computer outside of class is highly recommended. Some classes will be scheduled in a computer lab when a group demonstration or project is required.

Content Marketing and Management strongly suggests access to a laptop. These classes will not be held in a computer lab. If you would like to register for this certificate and do not have access to a laptop, please e-mail us at degreeplus@utah.edu.

 
  • Getting your scholarship application in early is one of the best ways to increase your chances for financial assistance. Limited funds are available each semester. Once all funds have been awarded, students will need to pursue private options, installment plans or employer tuition reimbursement programs.
  • Let us know who you are – use your personal statement to let us know more about your goals and motivations.
  • Take advantage of the option to have someone recommend you – recommendations are not required but having someone send us a recommendation does make a difference and can increase your chance of receiving a scholarship.

If you’re a current or recent undergraduate or graduate student,you can also qualify for “instant” discounts. Find out more below.

No application is needed. These are “open enrollment” certificates and open to everyone. Register here.

We recognize there are a lot of educational options for adding skills to your resume. Each one offers different features and benefits, and it’s a good idea to identify the things are that important to you when selecting a program. Degree Plus has several differentiating features that we think have a positive impact on students. Let’s see if you agree.

  1. In person classes that are taught by experts in their field – This increases networking opportunities and provides a platform for more personalized instruction. Most of our certificates feature activities and projects and it can be beneficial to have instructors on-site to help encourage or motivate you.
  2. Credentials that are backed by the University of Utah – Put yourself in the position of hiring someone for an important position in your company. You have an applicant who lists “Excel lesson on YouTube” on their resume and one who lists “Data Analysis Certificate from the University of Utah.” Would you view these differently? With the proliferation of online courses, having a trusted entity like the University of Utah standing behind you can make a real difference.
  3. Personalized Career Coaching – Sure, there are a lot of online career webinars and workshops, but what could be better than having someone sit down with you and talk about your experience and goals? Think about the benefits of having someone help you with your resume or LinkedIn profile versus being told to download a “Resume Best Practices” PDF.  And we go further than that, suggesting job boards and interview strategies specific the each certificate career area. Nothing in Degree Plus is one-size fits all, and we think that’s a pretty big difference to consider.
  4. Curated list of careers and skills with high labor-market demand – Once you decide you want to add a few skills to your resume, the question of which skills can quickly become overwhelming. We’ve consulted with industry executives to find out which targeted skills are in demand and designed a list of certificates around those exact skills. We know your time is valuable, so we’ve done the leg-work for you.

If these benefits are important to you, we hope you’ll investigate a Degree Plus certificate to see what excites you!

We’ve got a solution for you – Our introductory “Try-it” courses allow students to take the first class of a certificate for free. You can meet the instructor, get a feel for the curriculum and ask any additional questions. Learn more here.
Everyone is at a different point in their professional experience, so we want to be flexible with our career coaching services.  While a 90 minute coaching session is included for all students, only a 20 minute conversation is required to complete the certificate requirement. This shorter appointment will provide enough time to share a few basic career resources that we think will be valuable to all our students. Career coaching isn’t meant to be an obstacle, and we’ll do our best to make it a good fit for your needs. 

In general, we try to keep required activities outside the class to a minimum. However, most certificates may assign light reading or videos to watch in between classes to maximize the learning opportunities. Some certificates may suggest reading materials prior to the start of the certificate.

There are no exams.  A completed capstone project is required for all certificates.

Yes!  Students taking more than one Degree Plus certificate get additional certificates at a 50% discount.
We will! This is a new program (starting fall 2017), so we won’t have the data for a few semesters.  However, providing students with this type of data is a top priority for us and we know it’s critical to your decision-making.
Although originally designed for liberal arts majors early in their career, the certificates are open to everyone. Whether you’re coming from a community college with an associates degree or returning to the workplace after an extended break, the skills taught in each certificate are valuable to a wide variety of audiences. Career coaching is adjusted to each individual’s background and we keep classes on the smaller side, so our instructors can provide personalized instruction and assistance. 
See… your curiosity and research skills are already showing. Visit our career page where we post a variety of articles on just this topic!
Last Updated: 8/14/17