Signum’s Certificate Program is ideal for those who love to learn, but don’t need a degree.

Signum University understands that there are many people who enjoy learning what they love, but who do not necessarily want or need a graduate degree. For those people, we have created a program that allows them to take our graduate-level courses to earn credit towards a certificate in one of several concentrations.

The courses and course requirements for the certificate program are exactly the same as those taken for M.A. credit. The only difference is that for a certificate program, students will take only five credit classes (15 credit hours) and do not need to complete a thesis.

Certificate Program Options

To receive a certificate, students must complete five courses (15 credit hours) in one of the concentrations listed below.

Tolkien’s legendarium has led to an exciting amount of research in varying disciplines including language, literature, history, politics, economics, gender studies, and more. This concentration grounds students in Tolkien’s life, creative writings, and academic studies.

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Fairy tales, space epics, gothic stories: Imaginative literature comes in myriad forms and knows no boundaries. Explore the ongoing conversation throughout the history of science fiction, and read the fantasy stories that preceded and inspired Tolkien’s work. This concentration examines all types of imaginative literature in its astonishing diversity.

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Language is where literature begins; it gives us a common way of speaking about the worlds without and within us. Germanic Philology emphasizes the relationship between language and literature, and it explores the development of English language and literature from the earliest stories, such as Beowulf, through Chaucer’s work and beyond.

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If one of these concentrations does not suit your learning goals, do not worry – additional concentrations will be added as Signum continues to develop courses in these and other areas.

Certificate Requirements

Students in our certificate program take the same courses as students in our M.A. in Language & Literature. While there are fewer requirements to complete a certificate, these are nonetheless graduate-level courses, and earning a certificate requires a certain level of discipline and diligence.

To receive a certificate from Signum University, students must:

  • Have already earned a Bachelor’s degree
  • Submit an application
  • Complete 15 credit hours dedicated to classes in one of the concentrations listed above

After the completion of 15 credit hours, students will conduct a check-in with an advisor from our Student Support Team. During this check-in, some students may be encouraged to continue their studies to complete a full M.A. in Language and Literature; however, the decision will ultimately be left up to the student.

Upon successfully completing the required courses and conducting a check-in, students who do not wish to continue their studies to pursue an M.A. will be awarded a certificate.

Class Features

Every class in our certificate program features:

  • Live or prerecorded lectures (live lectures are recorded for later downloading)
  • Weekly live discussion groups
  • An interactive student forum
  • Full access to the Signum Library and course-specific materials

Questions & Answers

Answers to some frequently asked questions about Signum’s certificate program are provided below.

If I start a certificate program and then decide to pursue a full M.A. degree, do I have to reapply?

No! We love it when students decide they want to keep learning, and we want to make it as easy as possible for them to do so. If after completing the requirements for a certificate you decide that you want to pursue a full M.A. in Language & Literature, simply speak with your advisor during your program check-in. Your advisor will complete a short form to note your decision, and you can sign up for your next credit class right away.

Can I get more than one certificate?

Absolutely! However, you should note that by the time you complete a second certificate, you will be very close to meeting the requirements for completing a full M.A. in Language & Literature. If you really want to complete two certificate programs, we would advise you to talk with your advisor to see if completing an M.A. is right for you.

I am an M.A. student, but I will not be able to complete the M.A. program fully. Can I get a certificate instead?

We want to support our students in every way possible, and our objective is always to help students meet or exceed the goals they have set for themselves. With that in mind, we will provide as much support as necessary to help students receive the certificate or degree that they set out to earn.

That said, we understand that sometimes life intervenes to thwart even the best-laid plans. Therefore, any graduate student who cannot complete the M.A. program can be considered for a certificate in one of two situations:

  • After completing five courses (15 credit hours), M.A. students will conduct a check-in with an advisor from the Student Support team. If the advisor and student agree that the likelihood of completing an M.A. is unrealistic at that time, and if all the requirements for earning a certificate have been met, a certificate will be issued.
  • If some other life event occurs after the five-course check-in that will prevent the student from completing the M.A., students may contact Signum University to discuss the possibility of receiving a certificate instead of completing the M.A. program.

For additional questions about our certificate program or Signum University in general, see our FAQ page or contact us.

Start Earning Your Certificate Today!

If you’re ready to take the next step toward earning a certificate in one of our concentrations listed above, simply apply and then choose the course(s) you want to take. Our friendly and encouraging Registration Team will be in contact with you shortly!


Have a question or concern that isn’t answered here? See our Frequently Asked Questions, or contact us for more information.