The University of Texas-Pan American is offering students an opportunity to develop skills in a specific area through six graduate certificates that will allow them to meet the demands of the workforce. Four of the certificates were approved Oct. 29 by The University of Texas System.
Students can obtain graduate certificates in Healthcare Leadership Administration, Global Security Studies and Leadership, Advance Business Administration, Mexican American Studies, Media Relations and Strategic Communication and Communication Training and Consulting.
According to Dr. Cynthia Brown, vice provost for graduate studies, graduate certificates are becoming a subset of graduate degrees and the workforce nationwide is demanding employees who have particular skills within their degree.
"These graduate certificates are comprised of graduate academic courses that are a good first step in improving personal skill sets that can be used in the workforce," Brown said. "These certificates will demonstrate to employers the expertise the student holds in a specific area."
The graduate certificates prove to be beneficial for students and the University.
"As businesses and services continue to develop here in the Rio Grande Valley there will be a greater demand for professionalism," said Dr. Timothy Mottet, professor and Henry W. & Margaret Hauser Chair in Communication. "This type of certificate is an added value to a person's education that will enhance professional credentials and help to retain a job."
Mottet believes that the two communication graduate certificates will allow students from any field to gain a unique and specific knowledge in order to diagnose any communication problem within an organization and prescribe a communication solution.
"There are so many communication misconceptions but the graduate certificates will allow students to learn the communication processes and be able to understand messages and their influence," Mottet said.
Mottet also said that the certificates will enhance the accessibility of education at UTPA and help expand the graduate and upper division levels. Brown agrees.
"By exposing students to graduate programs, we hope to increase the number of students who receive a graduate degree from UTPA," Brown said.
To be considered for admission, a student must have a bachelor's degree and a desire to obtain skills in a specific area of study. Any additional admission requirements for graduate certificates are determined by the department.
"Here at the communications department students must apply for admission into our graduate program and admission into the graduate certificate program. GRE tests are no longer required," Mottet said. "We require a GPA of 2.75, a written essay, official transcript and three letters of recommendation."
Brown and Mottet encourage students to take advantage of the graduate certificates, even if they do not wish to seek a graduate degree.
"Our department's graduate program is growing and evolving," Mottet said. "I believe these certificates fulfill a need of the professional work environment and allow students to have specialized knowledge and skills."
"The goals for these certificates are to have students in the workforce who have graduate level skills," Brown said. "Anytime a student increases their education it is beneficial on many different levels as both an individual and a member of the workforce."
For more information on graduate certificates, contact the Office of Academic Affairs Graduate Studies at 956/381-3661.