Do you have extensive experience in a regional or functional area before coming to SIPA that you want to pursue? Then a Graduate Certificate may be a great complement to your SIPA studies!

The School of Graduate Arts and Sciences (GSAS) offers a variety of Graduate Certificate programs found here you can pursue with your MA degree at SIPA. There are certificates in:

I’m currently pursuing the Chinese studies certificate through the Weatherhead East Asian Institute. As you can see, the majority of certificates are regional. I saw the Chinese certificate when I read on the SIPA East Asia Specialization page that those with at least 4th year language skills should consider the East Asian Studies certificates.

As an MIA student with a language requirement, I took 4th Year Chinese 1 my first fall to satisfy SIPA and the certificate’s language requirement. As I was interested in a East Asia Regional Specialization, I figured I could do an additional 3-4 classes to get the certificate. Securing a Foreign Language and Area Studies Fellowship (FLAS) for Mandarin my second year confirmed my decision to formally pursue the certificate; FLAS requires you take one area study and one language class per semester, so I would meet the remaining 3-4 classes for the certificate. The FLAS Fellowship is a great way to fund your studies and dive deep into language and cultural studies.

I will warn that certificates can be a big undertaking. They usually average around 7 courses. From a SIPA perspective, that’s like another concentration (5 classes) and specialization (3) classes. Thankfully, many certificates, like the Chinese studies one, permit double counting of courses between the certificate and MA requirements, making it more feasible. Additionally, check to see if certificates permit advanced standing where you can transfer previous graduate coursework taken in graduate or undergraduate studies for your prospective certificate. Two years goes by fast, so plan early with your SIPA advising dean and certificate advisor to craft your academic schedule to meet graduation requirements.

While there are times I think about the more professionally practical coursework I’ve forgone at SIPA for academic humanities coursework, I’ve met really interesting people from various schools and programs through the courses I otherwise would not have known. The courses, though quite reading heavy, serve as a nice foil to SIPA classes as there is little lecture and more discussion of reading, like in undergraduate. Usually, these certificates are like a one-year masters in regional studies, minus a thesis and MA seminar. So if you wanted to really dive into regional studies in addition to your SIPA degree, this would be a great opportunity to explore outside SIPA and take courses in other departments and schools for a truly interdisciplinary education.