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General Guidelines for Certificate Programs

1.  Certificate programs will not require fewer than 15 credits or greater than 18 credits.

2.  Each certificate program must require a capstone course, for a minimum of three credits.  A capstone course may be a clinic, an externship, a seminar, or a directed research project, or the equivalent.

3.  In addition to credit requirements, certificate programs may also include non-credit requirements when appropriate including, without limitation, extra-curricular competitions, field work and pro bono work.

4.  Certificate programs may not include first-year courses to meet the number of credits required for the certificates.

5.  A certificate will not be awarded unless a student has an overall cumulative GPA of 2.7 or higher.

6.  A certificate will not be awarded unless a student has a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher for the courses required for a certificate.

7.  If a student takes more than the minimum number of elective courses required for the certificate, the cumulative GPA will be calculated based on the student’s highest grades among the minimum number of eligible courses required in order to be awarded the certificate.  Required courses must be included in the cumulative GPA.  GPAs will not be rounded up in determining qualification.

8.  If a student earns a certificate, it will appear as an official comment on the J.D. transcript, and students who have that official comment may indicate their certificate status on their resumes and biographies.

9.  Students must complete the ninety (90) semester hours required for the Juris Doctor degree and must satisfy all J.D. requirements in order to be eligible for a certificate.

10.  Students must apply for a certificate by submitting an application with their application for graduation.  Students using courses from their final semester to satisfy requirements for the certificate must supplement their initial applications within three (3) business days of receiving their final grades in those classes. 

11.  A student may not earn more than one certificate.  The limitation on the number of certificates a student can earn does not include interdisciplinary certificates offered jointly by the College of Law and the Graduate School.

12.  The creation of each certificate program will include the designation of a supervising faculty member.  The supervising faculty member will determine whether courses such as externships, seminars and directed research projects are sufficiently related to the subject matter of the certificate to meet certificate requirements.

13.  Each academic year, the Associate Dean, in consultation with the supervising faculty members, will review the College of Law course offerings and may recommend changes to the list of capstone courses, elective courses, and additional activities and competitions that qualify for certificate eligibility.  The recommendations will be submitted to the Curriculum Committee, which will review and approve them using procedures similar to those employed for experimental courses. 

14.  Each semester during the academic year, the Associate Dean will post the current year’s requirements for an NIU-COL certificate on the NIU-COL web site, including the effective date of such requirements.  The Associate Dean will also adopt and publish application forms to be submitted by students in accordance with paragraph 10 of these guidelines.

15.  If a required basic course for any certificate program is not offered during any academic year, a student may substitute another course approved in advance by the supervising faculty member, provided that no course may be counted twice toward the certificate program requirements.

16.  Students may qualify for a certificate by meeting the requirements in effect at the beginning of any semester they are enrolled as an upper-level student at the College of Law.

17.  A student may apply up to a total of six credit hours of courses from another NIU department or college or from another ABA-accredited law school to meet the requirements for any certificate program, provided that a petition for transfer of those credits to the College of Law has first been approved by an associate dean, and the faculty supervisor for the program has determined in advance that the courses meet the objectives of the program.

18.  Applications for certificates submitted in accordance with these guidelines will be approved by the supervising faculty member and the Associate Dean.

The above guidelines are from the College of Law Resolution adopted by the faculty on May 15, 2014.

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