Graduate Certificate Programs

Graduate Specializations

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources Graduate Certificates

CANR offers three Graduate Certificates in departmental programs.  Links to more information about these certificates are listed below.

Certificate in Community Engagement

Michigan State University’s Graduate Certificate in Community Engagement prepares students for academic careers that integrate scholarship with community engagement. The program is designed to help students organize and reflect on their community engagement experiences. It is tailored in cooperation with the student’s graduate advisor and University Outreach and Engagement, and includes both instruction and a mentored experience in community engagement.

Find out more at the MSU Graduate Certificate in Community Engagement website.

Certificate in College Teaching Program

If your goal is to stay in the realm of higher education as an educator, the Graduate Teaching Certificate Program is for you. The Michigan State University (MSU) Certification in College Teaching Program (CCTP) is an initiative of the Graduate School in partnership with the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR).

The program includes course work, attendance to workshops and seminars, mentored teaching experience and the creation of a teaching portfolio to showcase your teaching philosophy and pedagogical growth.

College of Agriculture and Natural Resources CCTP Information

Benefits of Participation in the CCTP

The communication of ideas is crucial to many agriculture and natural resource-based fields, especially academic positions.The CCTP was developed in response to students who wanted to gain teaching experience and graduate better qualified for academic positions.


To be eligible, students must be in an M.S. or Ph.D.program in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and have a commitment to developing their teaching competence.


1. Application to the Program

Interested students should consult with their College CCTP coordinator (.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address); Room 121 Morrill Hall of Agriculture) about certification requirements. Applicants must:

  1. Complete the Application Form.
  2. Write a Statement of Interest, expressing a commitment to the program (see Application Form).
  3. Obtain a letter of support from the student’s graduate research advisor/major professor.

Submit these materials electronically to CANR.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

2. Course Work

CCTP participants must complete either ANR 886 (3credits, fall of odd years) or SME 870 (2 credits, spring of every year) with a grade of 3.0 or higher. Required and optional courses are described below:

Required Course: Option 1:

Course:           ANR 886 Teaching and Learningin Applied Sciences (Interim New)
Instructor:       Rique Campa
Semester:        Fall of odd years
Credits:           Total Credits: 3 Lecture/Recitation/Discussion hours: 2, Lab hours: 2 3 (2-2)
Description:     Applications of pedagogical techniques to applied sciences through discussions, presentations and activities.

Required Course: Option 2:

Course:           SME 870 Teaching College Science
Instructor:       Joyce Parker
Semester:      Spring of every year
Credits:          Total Credits: 2
Recommended Background:   One year of graduate study in a biological or physical science.
Restrictions:   Approval of college.
Description:    Philosophies of education. Ethnic, gender and cultural issues. Designing a laboratory course. Problems of class size. Instructional technologies. Assessment and evaluation.
Alias:              NSC 870

Optional Courses:

Course:           FW 893 Preparing Natural Resource Managers to be Educators in Agencies and the Academy
Instructor:        Rique Campa
Semester:       Every four years, last taught Spring 2006
Credits:           Total Credits: 1

Course:          EPD654 Teaching Science and Engineering
                      Through the University of Wisconsin, Madison & CIC Traveling Scholars Program
Instructor:       Sandy Courter
Semester:       Currently taught Fall 2006
Credits:          2 credits
Description:    Online pilot course with CIRTL* institutions.The course provides an online forum in which to discuss issues of learning, teaching and assessment through the lens of teaching-as-research, learning-through-diversity and learning community.

*CIRTL is the Center for the Integration of Research,Teaching and Learning, and an NSF-funded program.

Course:           NSC830 Nature and Practice of Science
Instructor:       Jim Miller
Semester:        Fall of every year, spring of every year
Credits:           Total Credits: 1
Description:     Foundations of scientific inquiry. Recommended scientific best practices including principles and practices of research integrity and professionalism. Evaluation of scientific quality and productivity.

Course:          CEP917  Knowledge Media Design / Design of Media for Learning
Instructor:       Punya Mishra
Semester:       Spring of even years 
Credits:          Total Credits: 3, Lecture/Recitation/Discussion Hours: 3
Restrictions:    Open to doctoral students.
Description:     Design knowledge as it intersects education, psychology, communications, engineering, media theory, art and aesthetics. Research methodologies for understanding design. Design of educational media.

3. Core Area Competencies

The CCTP program was assembled around five core competency areas:

1. Adult Students as Learners – Creating Learning Environments

  • Learning styles
  • Diversity
  • Motivation
  • Communication skills
  • Active learning
  • Effective strategies for classroom management

2. Teaching Strategies in Agriculture and Natural Resources

  • Designing and facilitating learning of content specific to agriculture and natural resources
  • Instructional design (plan a course, objective)
  • Contexts: discussion, small groups, lecture recitations, individual tutoring

3. Assessment of Learning

  • Testing
  • Grading
  • Classroom assessment
  • Portfolio assessment

4. Technology in the Classroom

  • Uses of e-mail, Internet and multimedia
  • Distance learning (optional)

5. Professional Development – Understanding the Academy

  • Understanding of 2-and 4-year colleges
  • Universities
  • Rights, roles and responsibilities of faculty

Competency in these five core areas is a requirement of the CCTP. Participation in workshops, seminars, specific courses, course-specific TA training programs and professional meetings may count toward completion of the core areas. A minimum of one workshop, seminar,etc., (hereafter activities) is required to fulfill each of the five core areas; however, participation in additional activities is strongly encouraged.

4. Mentored Teaching Experience

CCTP participants are required to conduct one semester of Mentored Teaching Experience. Participation in multiple semesters of teaching experience is encouraged, but not required. The mentored teaching experience is designed to bring together graduate students with faculty in their disciplines that have similar pedagogical interests. Academic advisors may serve as the participants’ teaching mentors; however, a participant may choose to work with another faculty member within or outside his or her department or school. The mentored teaching experience requires the completion of a teaching project (UCRIHS approval may be necessary for some teaching projects) and a minimum of one reflection paper on experiences while teaching. Graduate students and faculty mentors should have active discussions about teaching and learning, and explore innovative teaching practices. Note: the requirements of the mentored teaching experience are flexible. The requirement may be fulfilled in many ways, including online instruction, hosting workshops or teaching seminar courses. The faculty mentor and CCTP participant should decide on a mentored teaching experience appropriate for the participant’s future goals.

5. Teaching Portfolio

The teaching portfolio will demonstrate and document the participant’s accomplishments and growth during the CCTP. The portfolio should contain Reflection Papers on teaching philosophies and the five core competency areas, as well as curricular development materials, faculty observations, student evaluations and other supporting activities from the core competency areas. The CCTP program coordinator will review and evaluate the portfolio, initiating discussions of the contents with the program participant where appropriate. The completed portfolio should be a high quality, professional document that may be used by the participant as evidence of teaching experience during future interviews for academic positions.

Completion of Program

The CCTP participant must complete and illustrate competency in the above requirements to earn the Certification in College Teaching. The student must complete the certification form and include a copy in the teaching portfolio. The CCTP program coordinator, along with the faculty mentor, will consult with the participant to develop a program appropriate for the student. The CCTP program coordinator will determine when the participant has met all the CCTP requirements. Completion of the program is expected to take approximately two years. Upon completion of the program, the participant will receive a certificate from the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources and Michigan State University indicating the participant’s knowledge about and experience in teaching at the college level. Note: the participant will not receive a degree or state certification in teaching. Participation in the CCTP program will also result in a notation on the participant’s transcript.