Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study Overview
The Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS) in Interdisciplinary Studies is offered by The School of Professional Studies (SPS) to students with a master’s degree. CAGS is designed for those who wish to continue or return to academic study beyond the master level.
Although specialization in an area is required, the interdisciplinary CAGS program encourages a different approach to skill development. The CAGS program aims to foster professional depth as well as breadth beyond a single skill set. Ultimately, students are able to choose courses from two or three different graduate programs.
The self-design component of CAGS and course offerings encourage students to fulfill theoretical, research, and practical needs according to an individualized plan of study. This plan of study is developed immediately after admission into the program, and is usually discussed at some length with the Associate Dean of SPS. SPS graduate seminars meet in the evening. Those interested in the CAGS certificate are invited to review graduate courses listed in the Clark University Academic catalog.
The program is designed especially for but not exclusively for working professionals who wish to pursue the advanced certificate on a part-time basis. Many students work in the fields of public and private organizational management and enroll in the CAGS program to facilitate promotions, professional advancement, intellectual growth and/or certification in an area beyond their original fields. The program enables professionals to develop expertise in disciplines beyond their initial specializations and to engage in specialized skill and management development.
Clark’s CAGS program serves a diverse student body. Professionals in both the public and private sectors who already hold advanced degrees recognize the need for expanding their educational expertise into new areas, such as information and strategic or digital communication, public service, and health or educational leadership.
While a CAGS student may design their study plan, they are encouraged to select courses from the various graduate curricula at SPS. SPS offers specific concentration clusters that address current management areas such as digital media, communication leadership, strategic communication, cyber security, IT leadership, nonprofit leadership, public sector leadership, healthcare administration, and educational leadership.
Earning the Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study:
Seven courses and a capstone tutorial are required for the CAGS. In consultation with the Associate Dean of SPS or an advisor, students write a “Study Plan” that outlines their interests and maps out a series of courses compatible with their interests.
Any course offered for graduate credit at SPS may be selected as an elective. Students may also choose directed readings or directed research as an elective option. Directed readings and directed research are courses that students design and complete one-on-one with an instructor. A formal proposal describing work to be completed, a tentative bibliography and schedule for faculty/student sessions must be submitted at the time of registration. Directed readings/research forms are available at the SPS office. As coursework progresses, a student’s focus may change. Although seven courses and a capstone are required for the degree, students who shift focus or wish to expand their expertise in an area may register for additional electives.
The Capstone Project
The Capstone requirement may be satisfied in two ways:
- By designing and implementing a project of educational or professional importance and reporting the research design and results in a formal project report.
- By designing and implementnig a management consultancy project with a local private or public organization. A final project report is mandatory in writing as well as an oral presentation to the client and a panel from the faculty
The Capstone experience should demonstrate mastery of the chosen area and illuminate unexpected relationships-whether structural, thematic, conceptual or symbolic by using accepted research methods. The Capstone project is critical for defining the chosen area of study. At the beginning of the fourth course, the student should finalize an outline of the complete course of study and define a tentative Capstone advisor.
Upon completion of the Capstone, each student must present research results at an oral defense. The committee consists of faculty who have worked closely with the student on the Capstone and key players from the organization studied in the CAGS.