Most people know what a university degree is, but what exactly is a certificate? Since this term can refer to a number of things, we think it’s important to explain what a certificate is in the context of a university education. We’ll discuss this below and then review some of The University of Texas Permian Basin’s undergraduate certificate programs.

Certificate vs. Degree

Certificate and degree programs share the same aim—to enlighten and to provide valuable credentials. In terms of tuition, per-credit-hour rates for undergraduate certificate programs generally track with undergraduate degree tuition. Certificate courses are also frequently included as part of related degree programs and are often taught by the same renowned faculty. But a certificate program differs from a degree program in several key ways:


A certificate program provides focused skills in a specific discipline, enabling you to optimize your performance in a related job and add a valued credential to your resume. By contrast, an undergraduate degree often provides a broad interdisciplinary education through a general education component.

Time to Completion

Certificate programs are usually far shorter than degree programs, requiring fewer credits and less time to complete. Some certificate programs take as little as one semester to complete, while bachelor’s degree programs generally take around four years. Certificate programs are designed to equip you with valuable professional skills and knowledge in a condensed timeframe.


Undergraduate certificate programs may cost as little as a few thousand dollars, while a bachelor’s degree may cost tens of thousands of dollars.

Financial Aid Availability

Only select certificate programs are eligible for federal financial aid, while most degree programs qualify. There are other types of financial aid available for either kind of program as well. For more information on financial aid options, contact our financial aid office.

Undergraduate and Graduate Options

Certificate programs offer instruction from the foundational level (undergraduate) to the advanced (graduate). These programs often have many of the same admission requirements as their degree counterparts, though some specifics differ. Some certificate programs even allow you to enroll with a non-degree seeking status.

It’s important to remember that certificate and degree programs are not equivalent, even when offered by an accredited university like UT Permian Basin. It’s critical to have at least a bachelor’s degree for many careers. Some employers consider a degree a minimum requirement for employment and may also offer employees with advanced degrees more advancement opportunities. Certificate programs provide supplemental, up-to-date knowledge and skills that can help you build your resume and enhance your proficiency in the workplace. You will get the maximum value from a certificate program by taking it after, alongside, or as a lead-up to a degree program.

UT Permian Basin Undergraduate Certificates

UT Permian Basin has introduced online undergraduate certificate programs in several in-demand fields, and we plan to continue adding more on an ongoing basis. As a University, we identify professional needs and skill gaps, and we develop new programs to address them. Our current programs include:

Certificate in Spanish for First Responders

Our 9-credit online program addresses the pressing need for Spanish-speaking first responders in the United States through an exploration of topics such as:

  • Advanced Grammar and Syntax
  • Hispanic Civilization
  • Spanish for Health Professionals

Undergraduate Certificate in Digital Commerce

Our 12-credit online program can be added to any of our online BBA programs and helps students grasp the rising importance of the digital space in sales and marketing through an exploration of topics such as:

  • Advertising
  • Branding
  • Analytics
  • Social Media

Undergraduate Cyber Security Certificate

Our 14-credit online program enables students to identify cyber security threats in a world where such attacks are becoming increasingly prevalent through an exploration of topics such as:

  • Computer Science
  • Information Systems Design
  • Computer Security

The Unmatched Convenience of Online Learning

All of our undergraduate certificate programs are delivered in an online, asynchronous format that offers you unparalleled flexibility and convenience. These programs put you in charge of your own schedule, empowering you to complete your coursework at your own pace from practically any location on the planet—from Texas to Tasmania. This is especially beneficial if you have ongoing professional and/or personal commitments.

No campus visits are required for any of these programs. What’s more, you have access to an extensive network of online support services that allows you to get the help you need even though you’re not enrolled in a campus-based degree program. We do everything we can to ensure your online certificate experience is as hassle-free as possible.

Experience the many advantages of an online undergraduate certificate from UT Permian Basin!