Capstone certificates allow students with a bachelor’s degree to obtain additional professional skills and certification. Designed for nontraditional students and working professionals, capstone certificates reflect a focused collection of graduate-level courses approved by the Graduate School. Capstone certificate programs do not lead to the conferral of a degree, but do appear on a student’s UW–Madison transcript. Programs offering capstone certificates monitor all application, academic, and satisfactory progress requirements.

Capstone certificate students fall under the campus category of University Special students as these students are not in degree status. Adult Career and Special Student Services (ACSSS) is the admitting and academic dean's office for all University Special students.  The academic dean is responsible for issues related to student enrollment and the student's official record, including credit limits, eligibility to continue, disciplinary holds, and withdrawal approval.

The ACSSS dean and student services coordinator work closely with each department's capstone certificate coordinator at each step of the process: advising, admissions, enrollment eligibility, and program completion. Eligibility rules for University Special students apply, including a minimum 2.0 GPA and good academic standing.  Each specific capstone certificate has additional criteria for program eligibility, final admission, and progress. Capstone certificates typically follow rules of the Graduate School for tuition, credit limits, and grading (including no Pass/Fail option). 

Once admitted, candidates will receive a formal letter of admission to UW–Madison from Adult Career and Special Student Services along with enrollment instructions and information about tuition and deadlines. The capstone certificate coordinator will send specific information pertaining to enrollment in and completion of the capstone program.  

Adult Career and Special Student Services (ACSSS) is the admitting office for all University Special students. However, the department offering the capstone certificate program makes the final admission decision upon review of all applicant materials.

There are two steps to apply for admission to a capstone certificate program:  

  1. Complete the online University Special student application This application is received and processed by ACSSS with final decision held for approval from the specific capstone certificate coordinator. 
  2. Complete all application materials required by the specific capstone certificate program.

Once admitted, candidates will receive a formal letter of admission to UW–Madison from Adult Career and Special Student Services along with enrollment instructions and information about tuition and deadlines. The capstone certificate coordinator also will send specific information pertaining to enrollment in and completion of the capstone program.