Graduate Certificate FAQ

Frequently-asked questions

How long does it take to complete the Certificate?

Four semesters, at a rate of one course per semester.  (Eventually we plan to increase the frequency at which the courses are offered).

How much does it cost?

To enroll in an online course, a student is assessed tuition, a delivery fee and a technology fee.

Please go to

for up-to-date information on tuition and fees.

Are classes taught live, or pre-recorded?

Most classes are offered online in parallel with in person on-campus sections. You can participate live if your schedule permit, or watch the recordings at your convenience.  Class assignments follow the same schedule as for the on-campus section of the course so you have to keep up-to-date.

Is it open to international participation?

Yes, but we are not strongly encouraging international enrollments at this time because of language barriers and time-zone differences. Students who are not native English speakers are required to demonstrate English fluency via a TOEFL or IELTS score. Iowa State University requires a minimum TOEFL or IELTS score for students enrolling in a certificate or degree program, even if it is a distance program.  As per the requirements found here, the minimum required TOEFL is 79 iBT or 550 PBT and the minimum required IELTS is 6.5.  Note that ETS is the testing service that administers tests like the TOEFL or the GRE.  They are the only institution that can submit official scores to ISU’s Office of Admissions.  Scores reported in any other way than directly from ETS are considered unofficial to the Office of Admissions and cannot be used to complete an application.  ETS keeps TOEFL scores for two years.  Any scores achieved before that period can no longer be submitted officially and so the test must be retaken.

Can I enroll in a class before I enroll in the Certificate?

Yes.  Distance students are permitted to take one or two classes as a non-degree graduate student.

I do not hold a Bachelor degree in Engineering or a Physical Science.  Can I still enroll in the Certificate?

Possibly.  The Certificate classes presume a mathematics, physics, and engineering background at the level of a US Bachelor’s degree graduate. This would include calculus-based physics, some exposure to vector calculus, linear algebra, computer programming, and engineering mechanics.  While every student comes in with a different background and substantial pre-existing knowledge of NDE methods can help compensate for gaps in other areas, if you do not have a Bachelor’s degree level background you will likely find the classes difficult or impossible.   You might consider discussing with the course instructor and taking one or two of the graduate courses prior to enrolling in the Certificate.  If you do well in those courses, it is likely that you can be admitted to the Certificate program.  Make sure you satisfy the prerequisite knowlege for those courses.