Certificate in Support Services for Online Students in Higher Education

This graduate certificate program offers a unique opportunity for professionals interested in online student support in higher education. Prospective professionals venturing into today’s higher education environment would benefit from an understanding of teaching and learning and student support service theory, research, and effective practice. Successful professionals require many tools to educate, motivate, and support online students, as well as the wisdom to know when and how to apply those tools. This wisdom comes from a critical, reflective understanding of the research and theory behind teaching, learning, and student support. The 15-credit certificate program draws upon current coursework in Adult Education, Higher Education, Education Technology, and Distance Education.

Eligibility and Admission

Applicants must have completed a bachelor’s degree prior to admission, must have a minimum 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average.


  • Students wishing to obtain this certificate must declare their intention by applying to the program office or director.
  • All graduate certificate applicants—even those already enrolled in a UWM graduate program—must apply to the Graduate School via the Panthera Admission Application.
  • Graduate degree and previously admitted graduate non-degree students who decide to pursue a certificate program must submit the Panthera application before completing 6 credits in the certificate sequence.
  • Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree and have a minimum 2.75 cumulative undergraduate grade point average to be admitted in to a certificate program.

Certificate Requirements

Credits and Courses

Five courses are required as indicated below:

Core Course Requirement: 6 credits from the following:
Ad Ldsp 703 (1) Resources for Self-directed Learning
Ad Ldsp 704 (1) Technologies for Online Student Support
Ad Ldsp 706 (1) Professional Development for Online Instruction
Ad Ldsp 707 (3) Using Technology with Adults
Ad Ldsp 708 (3) Online Support Services in Adult, Continuing, and Higher Education

Electives (6 credits)
Courses above that are not taken as part of the six credit core can also be used as electives.

Ad Ldsp 687 (3) Instructional Design & Teaching Strategies
Ad Ldsp 740 (3) Seminar in Innovative Technology for Learning in Education
Ad Ldsp 757 (3) Principles and Foundations of Adult Education
Ad Ldsp 778 (3) Introduction to Student Personnel Services
Ed Psy 640(3) Human Development: Theory and Research
InfoSt 521 (3) Introduction to Reference Services and Resources
InfoSt 734 (3) Library Services and Resources for Adults

Required Practicum (3 credits)

Choose one of the following:
Ad Ldsp 750 (3) Internship in Administrative Leadership
Ad Ldsp 647 (3) Evaluation of Adult and Continuing Education Programs

NOTE: These credits should not be taken before completion of at least 9 credits of coursework.

This practicum would require students to complete an internship in an online student support service unit (a total of 150 hours) by enrolling in Ad Ldsp 750 or an instructor supervised evaluation project of an existing online student support service by enrolling in Ad Ldsp 647.

Descriptions of required and elective courses offered at UWM as part of the Certificate in Support Services for Online Students in Higher Education can be found under the respective curricular areas (see below).

Administrative Leadership (Ad Ldsp )
Educational Psychology (Ed Psy)
Information Studies (Info St)

Grade Point Average Requirement
A minimum cumulative 3.00 grade point average in certificate courses taken at UWM is required.

Transfer Credit
No more than 20% of the required credits may be taken at an institution other than UWM. Courses will be considered for transfer into the certificate program only if the applicant can provide ample, acceptable evidence that the course taken is substantially the same as one of the five courses that constitute the certificate. These courses are subject to Graduate School transfer policy and must be approved by the director of the certificate program.

Articulation with Degree Programs

  1. Credits and courses required for a certificate may double count toward meeting UWM graduate degree requirements subject to the following restrictions:
    • Degree programs must approve the courses from certificates that can double count toward the degree.
    • All credits taken in completion of certificate requirements may count towards a UWM graduate degree as long as they do not contribute more than 90% of the total credits needed to obtain the degree. (Note: Students in Ph.D. programs must still complete the minimum residency requirements)
    • Certificate courses used toward meeting degree requirements must be completed within the time limit for transfer credit.
  2. Courses completed for a degree may be counted toward a subsequent certificate, subject to all certificate policy requirements.
  3. A course may count toward no more than one certificate and one degree.
  4. Students may not earn a certificate subsequent to a concentration in the same area.

Time Limit

Certificate program time limits shall be established as follows:

18 or fewer credits/Three years from initial enrollment in the certificate sequence.

19 or more credits/Four years from initial enrollment in the certificate sequence.

For certificates that are designed as add-ons to degree programs and are awarded concurrent with the degree, the time limit shall be the same as that of the degree program.