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

We understand that there are many people who enjoy learning what they love, but who do not necessarily want or need a full Master of Arts degree.

For those people, we have created a program that allows them to take our graduate-level courses to earn credit towards a diploma in one of several concentrations.

The courses students may choose for the diploma program are exactly the same as those taken for M.A. credit. The only difference is that for a graduate diploma, students will take only five credit classes (15 credit hours), do not need to meet specific language and literature requirements, and do not need to complete a thesis.

The Graduate Diploma Program

To receive a Graduate Diploma in Language and Literature, students must complete five for-credit courses (15 credit hours) from our MA-level offerings.

Students may take any five courses offered during their tenure in order to receive a Graduate Diploma in Language and Literature. Interested students who elect to take four or more classes in one of Signum’s established concentrations (Tolkien Studies; Imaginative Literature; Germanic Philology; or Classical, Medieval, and Renaissance Literature) will have this concentration noted (e.g. Graduate Diploma in Language and Literature with a concentration in Germanic Philology).

Interested students may also choose to complete an optional Capstone Project at the end of their coursework.

Graduate Diploma Program Outcomes

Our Graduate Diploma student outcomes are specifically distinct from the expected outcomes for our MA program, who complete twice as many courses and also write and defend a scholarly MA thesis.

  • Community. Recipients will be able to contribute meaningfully to discussions and debates in their specific areas of interest.
  • Textual Analysis: Support. Recipients will be able to develop evidence-based arguments about literary texts and/or literary translations.
  • Textual Analysis: Synthesis. Recipients will be able to compose written arguments or translations that synthesize primary and secondary texts.

An additional program outcome is expected for students who complete a Capstone Project.

  • Writing. Recipients will be able to design and produce an extended scholarly or original creative work that identifies and appropriately speaks to a specific genre, audience, and form.

Diploma Requirements

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

To receive a graduate diploma from Signum University, students must:

  • Have already earned a Bachelor’s degree
  • Submit an application
  • Complete 15 credit hours. After the completion of 15 credit hours, students will conduct a check-in with an advisor from our Student Support Team. Students who have completed 15 credit hours may continue on to complete the Capstone project or may be encouraged to continue their studies to complete a full M.A. in Language and Literature. The decision to add on a capstone or to transfer into the MA program ultimately belongs exclusively to the student.

Upon successfully completing the required courses and conducting a check-in, students who do not wish to continue their studies will be awarded a graduate diploma.

Class Features

Every class in our diploma program features:

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

Questions & Answers

If I start the diploma 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 diploma 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 diploma?

Absolutely! However, you should note that by the time you complete a second diploma, 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 diploma 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 diploma 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 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 diploma in one of two situations:

  • After completing five courses (15 credit hours), each M.A. student will conduct a check-in with his or her Signum Advisor. 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 diploma have been met, a diploma 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 their advisors to discuss the possibility of receiving a diploma instead of completing the M.A. program.

Start Earning Your Diploma Today!

If you’re ready to take the next step toward earning a diploma, 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!

  Apply Now  

  Browse Courses  


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