Certificate Programs - FAQs | Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

Certificate Programs - FAQs

Have a question about our Online Graduate Certificate Programs? We've probably already answered it for you below! 

General Questions


Tuition and Payment

Privileges as a Certificate Student

General Questions

How can I get more information about your program?
Descriptions of each certificate program, and the courses offered within each program, are available on our website.

Do you have any information sessions that I can attend?
Yes. Virtual open house information sessions are held approximately every two weeks from January through August. Information about the specific dates/times, and a link to the registration form for these events, can be found on our website.

Is this certificate available via online/distance learning?
The courses available in our graduate certificate program are conducted entirely online, allowing students with full-time careers the flexibility to continue their education without having to leave their job, or move to a new location.

Are there any prerequisites for this program?
Other than having completed a B.S. or B.A. degree, students are not required to take any prerequisite courses before taking many of our current certificate courses.

The only exceptions are the courses offered within the Nutrition Science for Health Professionals certificate program, which require students to have either a degree in the life sciences or to have completed an acceptable semester-long college level course in human physiology

Do I need a BA/BS in science/nutrition to pursue a graduate certificate at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy?
No. Your B.A./B.S. degree does not have to be in science or nutrition to apply to most of our certificate programs (see question above). Our online program is designed to meet the needs of working professionals and others interested in expanding their knowledge, enhancing their skill set, or advancing their career.

Can I take one course?
Yes. Students interested in taking a single course must complete the Special Student Enrollment Application, and provide all required documents. Special student enrollment allows qualified individuals to take one course in the Friedman Graduate Certificate Programs without first being formally admitted.

How long is the program?
1 year (3 semesters) with one course per semester. Each course is offered only once per year. Generally, students begin their program in the Fall semester, and continue on through the Spring and Summer terms. Students have up to 3 years to complete their certificate program.    

How long is each course?
Each course is 14 weeks long, including 13 of new content. During the last week a final exam/paper/project may be due, depending on the course.

Is class held at a specific time every day?
No, students are not required to attend live classes, but must have access to a reliable computer and a reliable internet connection to access their weekly assignments, online discussion forums, pre-recorded lectures, etc.

Are there any special technology requirements?
There are no special requirements other than a reliable computer, a reliable internet connection, and an up to date internet browser, i.e., Firefox or Microsoft Explorer. It would also be helpful to have access to Word and Excel, as well as Adobe Reader (to read pdf documents).

How much time during the week can I expect to set aside for the course?
Specific requirements and activities for each course will vary but, in general, students should expect to spend 8-12 hours per week on their course. This may include time spent on pre-recorded lectures, required readings, videos, written assignments, quizzes, and/or online discussions in which students actively engage with faculty and fellow students.

Will there be participation with other learners in the course?
Absolutely! Students are required to engage in online discussions with their classmates and instructors as part of their coursework.

When do the programs/courses start?
Information about the start/end dates of each course can be found under the ‘Certificate Program Academic Calendar’ link on our website.

Will I get a degree from the certificate program?
The graduate certificate program is NOT a degree program, but students can earn graduate credit for each course. This credit may be applied to a future degree program. Please check with the school and specific degree program to which you plan to apply to see if these credits will be accepted.

Upon the successful completion of three courses students will be granted a certificate of graduate studies. Students will also have access to their official academic transcripts.

Can I advise/counsel patients after completing a certificate program?
Completing this certificate program alone will not qualify students to legally advise patients in most states. However, the credit earned by completing select courses within this certificate program may be applied towards a degree in dietetics. Please check with the school and specific degree program to which you plan to apply to see if these course credits will be accepted.

Will there be any title or certificate granted upon the completion of the program (i.e. 'nutrition counselor', 'health coach')?
No official titles are granted through this certificate program. Upon the successful completion of three courses students will be granted a certification of graduate studies.

What can I do with this certificate?
The purpose of our programs is to help working professionals continue their education, and advance in their careers. Most students use their certificate to enhance their resume, and improve their marketability in a specific field. Many remain in their current positions, but with added responsibilities. Some are promoted within their company while others may use it as an opportunity to apply for a new job at a different organization.

For students seeking a career change, the certificate programs allow you the opportunity to explore a new field, while accumulating graduate credits. After that, students may decide to pursue a graduate degree.


When is the application deadline?
Applications for fall admission into the Friedman Graduate Certificate Programs will be accepted on a rolling basis through July 1, or as space is available. Enrollment is limited. Applicants interested in the Tuition Payment Plan for the fall semester must submit their materials prior to April 1.

Where can I find the application?
The online application is available on our website, under “Application/Tuition.” In addition to the online application, we also require a current resume or CV, official academic transcripts (translated into English) sent directly from every university or institution from which you earned a degree, and a personal statement indicating why you are interested in this program and how it might help your career/future plans.

What should I include in my personal statement?
For the personal statement, we simply want to know your reasons for applying to the program, and how you think it will help you in your career or in the future. It does not have to be particularly long - a couple of paragraphs describing your background, current situation, and future goals will suffice. We are most interested in how this program is likely to help you reach your goals.

My overall grade point average (GPA) from my undergraduate degree is below a 3.0, the minimum required for acceptance into this program. Can I still apply?
Admission to the program requires a bachelor's degree from an accredited university with a minimum GPA of 3.0. Applicants with a GPA below the minimum may apply for a single course as a conditional student, and may become eligible for admission into a certificate program upon completing that course with a minimum grade of B. When applying for the program, please use the personal statement to explain your reasons for the low grades.

Do I need to take the GREs?
No. Graduate Record Examination (GRE) scores are not required for admission to the Friedman Graduate Certificate Program.

Do I have to take the TOEFL/IELTS?

International students who earned their degree from a university in a country where English is not the primary language must submit either official TOEFL or IELTS scores directly to the Friedman School as a part of the online application    

What are the required TOEFL or IELTS scores?
In addition to meeting the standard admission requirements, a minimum TOEFL score of 600 on the paper version, 250 on the computer-generated exam, or 100 on the internet-based exam is required. For the IELTS exam, a minimum score of 6.5 is required. TOEFL or IELTS scores must be sent directly to the Friedman School.

Please use the school code 3913 when requesting your scores.

For more information about the TOEFL, visit their website at www.toeflgoanywhere.org/


For information about the IELTS, visit their website at www.ielts.org/

My TRANSCRIPTS/TOEFL/IELTS will not arrive until after the application deadline. Can I still apply?
If this is the case, please email us an unofficial version of your transcript(s) and/or English language proficiency documentation (TOEFL/IELTS) for the admissions committee to consider while waiting for your official documents to arrive. Our email address is nutritioncertificates@tufts.edu.

When will we be notified of our acceptance status?
Once all of the required documents have been received (i.e., the online application form, CV/resume, personal statement, official transcript[s], and, if required, TOEFL/IELTS scores), your complete application will be reviewed during the next scheduled meeting of our admissions committee. Applicants will be notified of the committee’s decision via email shortly thereafter. Accepted students will be required to send a non-refundable $50 deposit to secure their spot.

Tuition and Payment

What is the tuition?
Tuition for the 2017-18 academic year is $2540 per course ($7620 in total for all three courses), not including the cost of textbooks and related supplies. This tuition rate is less than the per course rate paid by degree students at the Friedman School, and is valid only for certificate courses taken during the fall, spring, and summer semesters of the 2017-18 academic year.

Tuition for each course must be paid in full prior to the start of each semester. This includes students who take advantage of the payment plan.

We encourage students who are working professionals to contact their employer’s human resources (HR) department for their policies and procedures regarding tuition benefits.

How do I apply for Financial Assistance?
Please note that the Friedman School graduate certificate programs are NOT eligible for Title IV Federal Student Aid.

However, the program does qualify for private lending institution student loans, and a payment plan, administered by Sallie Mae, is available through our Bursar’s office. Under this plan you may budget all or a portion of your semester tuition over five monthly installments. For example, for the fall semester, you make payments from May 1st through September 1st, and for the spring semester, you make payments from October 1st through February 1st. The Tuition Payment Plan has a small enrollment fee, but no interest charges. Please contact Student Financial Services at Tufts for more information on billing and payments including payment plans.

Do you have a payment plan?
A payment plan, administered by Sallie Mae, is available through our Bursar’s office. Under this plan you may budget all or a portion of your semester tuition over five monthly installments. For example, for the fall semester, you make payments from May 1st through September 1st, and for the spring semester, you make payments from October 1st through February 1st. The Tuition Payment Plan has a small enrollment fee, but no interest charges. Please contact Student Financial Services at Tufts for more information.

Can I pay with a credit card?
Tufts University does not currently accept credit cards for tuition payments.

My employer is paying for me to attend. Can they pay for me at the end of the semester?
Tuition for each course is due prior to the first day of class. Students can add other “payers” to their online billing list, including employers, spouses, and parents. Most employers require students pay out of pocket and submit a reimbursement form once the course is completed. Please contact your employer’s human resources (HR) department for their specific policies and procedures regarding tuition benefits.

I am a Tufts’ employee. Will tuition remission cover the costs of this program?
Yes, our programs are eligible for the Tufts University tuition remission program. Please follow up with Human Resources to learn more about this fantastic opportunity!

Privileges as a Certificate Student

May I apply for a Student Visa/ I-20 once enrolled?
Since the graduate certificate program is not a degree program, certificate students are not considered matriculated students at Tufts University. For non-matriculated students, there is no assistance with visas, no eligibility for student loans or financial aid, or any of the benefits and privileges typically given to our matriculated students.

As a certificate student, will you provide me with work study or employment opportunities while I am enrolled in the program?
Our certificate program students are typically working professionals and, thus, we do not provide employment opportunities to them. You are welcome to find a job on your own while enrolled in this program. Since the certificate program requires students take only one online course at a time, they should be able to work full time while taking their course.

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