2022-2023 Academic Catalog 
    Mar 25, 2023  
2022-2023 Academic Catalog

Certificate of Advanced Graduate Study (CAGS)

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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’s 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 skillset. Ultimately, students are able to choose courses in the SPS graduate portfolio of 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. Students design their plan of study immediately after admission into the program with their academic advisor.  Those interested in the CAGS certificate are invited to review graduate courses listed in the Clark University Academic catalog.

The program is designed especially but not exclusively for working professionals who wish to pursue the advanced certificate on a part-time basis. For those who want to and can take a full courseload may do so.  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 programs 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 inclusive of the capstone are required for the CAGS. In consultation with their academic advisor, students write a “Study Plan” that outlines their interests and maps out a series of courses compatible with their interests before they begin their first semester of studies.  Students may update the plan with their advisor, as needed, as their studies progress. 

Seven Courses

Any course offered for graduate credit at SPS may be selected as an option.  Students may also choose directed research or independent study as an elective option. Directed research or independent study are courses that students design and complete one-on-one with an instructor. A formal proposal describing the work to be completed, a tentative bibliography and schedule for faculty/student sessions must be submitted at the time of course proposal. As coursework progresses, a student’s focus may change. Although seven courses inclusive of the capstone are required for the CAGS, students who shift focus or wish to expand their expertise in an area may register for additional courses upon consultation with and approval from their academic advisor.

The Capstone Project

The Capstone requirement may be satisfied in two ways:

  • Design and implement a research project of educational or professional importance.  Produce a written report of project and present to the supervising faculty and a panel that the faculty forms.

  • Design and implement a management consultancy project with a local private or public organization. Produce a written final project report and present project to the client, supervising faculty, and a panel that the faculty forms.

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