UCLA Extension

Academic Requirements: Certificate Programs

Required Units

Credit-bearing courses carry a unit value. You must enroll in at least 12 academic units in your program by the first day of each quarter to maintain your student visa status. At least 8 units must be in the classroom and no more than one online class.

We recommend you enroll early.  Many courses fill quickly and if you are unable to get into the required minimum of 12 units, you may jeopardize your F1 visa status. You can take advantage of the “early bird” discount if you enroll in the course at least 30 days before the start date.

Advanced Standing and Course Waivers

In your first quarter, you can petition to have required or elective courses waived if you have completed the coursework elsewhere. You must submit certified academic transcripts to your academic advisor. If a waiver is granted, you will be credited with units of advanced standing allowing you to finish your program sooner.

Required Grades — Grade Point Average (GPA)

For students beginning certificate programs in Summer 2016 or later, you must pass all required courses and maintain a minimum GPA as required by your certificate program.  The minimum GPA varies for each program.  Contact your certificate program advisor for the GPA you need to maintain in your program.

Earned F grades do not count toward your GPA so you must re-take any course in which you get a grade of F.  Your allotted time for study remains the same. So, you may have to skip a vacation quarter to complete your program on time and bring your GPA up to the required minimum.

Supplemental English Courses

International students whose test scores are below 100 on the TOEFL iBT, or 7.0 on IELTS, or 5.1 on iTEP Academic will be required to take one or two ESL courses based on the following:

Test Score Range ESL Course(s)
TOEFL iBT 83-90 ESL 433B & 433C
IELTS Overall 6.5 & 6 or below in writing
iTEP Academic 4.5
TOEFL iBT 91-99 ESL 433C
IELTS Overall 6.5 & 6.5 or above in writing
iTEP Academic 5.0
TOEFL iBT 100 or higher Do not need to take any ESL course.
IELTS Overall 7.0 or higher
iTEP Academic > 5.0


Each English course counts toward the 12 units required to maintain F-1 visa status. You should enroll the supplemental English course(s) starting in the first quarter along with other certificate program courses. To be granted the award of certificate, you must pass all required supplemental English course(s) prior to complete the certificate program. For further inquiry about supplemental English courses, you can contact Jennifer Polutan in the Department of Humanities and Sciences by email at jpolutan@uclaextension.edu.

Exceptions allowed to the 12- units-per-quarter requirement:
  • In your first quarter, if you experience academic difficulty with the English language or American teaching methods or improper course placement.
  • In any quarter, if you are ill or have a medical condition with written documentation from a doctor.
  • If you enroll in 16 units or more, you can take up to two 4-unit online classes.
  • In your final quarter, if you can complete your program with a reduced load, you won’t have to enroll in 12 units.