Frequently Asked Questions

Still have questions? We're here to help!

Answers to those questions asked most frequently by our prospective students can be found here.

When you're exploring our certificates and degrees, you'll also find FAQs specific for those programs.  

If you don't find what you're looking for, please don't hesitate to contact us. 


General

What does noncredit mean and how does it differ from credit courses/programs?

Noncredit courses, unlike credit courses, do not carry academic credit that may transfer into a certificate or degree program. Noncredit courses will not transfer to another institution. Noncredit programs are designed for individuals interested in substantive intellectual activities, but who do not require additional credit or degree study. 

What’s it like to take an online class?

Our goal is to deliver an exceptional student experience, whether you're learning in one of our classrooms or learning online from where you live and work. When you enroll in an online course, you’ll experience a collaborative environment where you’ll interact with your instructor and other students who live not only in Virginia, but also in other parts of the country or around the globe.  Watch our short videos and hear from students and faculty about their experiences with online learning.  

Which programs are offered online?

The School delivers several of its programs online, including certificates and the Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management. Additionally, many of the courses in the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies are offered online. View the complete list of online options.  

Do you offer courses that are just for personal enrichment or professional development? I’m not interested in earning a degree or certificate.

SCPS offers a portfolio of credit and noncredit courses, many of which are offered online, for individuals to explore personal and professional interests. Individuals in Charlottesville may register for on-Grounds classes as a Community Scholar to explore personal and professional interests. Individuals with a minimum of a high school diploma may register in no more than two courses each fall and spring, along with any dependent laboratory or discussion sessions, for a maximum of 11.5 credits.   

What are the qualifications of the faculty who teach through SCPS?

Several of the faculty who teach for SCPS are the same resident faculty who teach in other schools and colleges at the University. SCPS also employs full-time and part-time faculty dedicated to teaching adult students. They are typically seasoned practitioners, experts in their field, and scholars experienced in teaching adult students. Meet the faculty.

What is the process for simply auditing a course? I am not interested in earning academic credit.

Students who wish to audit a course (enroll in credit courses without earning academic credit) may do so on a space available basis, with the permission of the instructor and program director. Credit or audit status must be indicated at the time of registration. Admission requirements are the same for auditing students as for students enrolled for credit. An AU (audit) cannot be changed to a letter grade. Auditing a class does not relieve the student of the responsibility for meeting the standards established for the course. A grade of W is recorded for any student who discontinues the audit after the drop deadline or who fails to meet the instructor’s standards. Students who audit courses are responsible for full payment of approved tuition and fees.

Are the courses and programs offered through SCPS accredited?

Yes. The University of Virginia is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

Are the credits earned from SCPS the same as those earned from the University of Virginia?

When you earn a certificate or degree, or even just take a class from the School of Continuing and Professional Studies you are earning UVa credit.  You are getting the same high quality education as you would if you attended the University as a traditional student. 


Certificates

Can I transfer credits into a certificate program?

Individuals can transfer one course for academic credit from a regionally accredited college or university. The transfer course will count towards one elective course in the certificate program, and must have been taken within the last three years. Transfer courses are not accepted for required courses in the certificate. (Exceptions are made for the certificates in Accounting and Federal Acquisition.) Official transcripts and course syllabus are required for an analysis of the content, level, and comparability of the transfer course, as well as the quality of the student’s performance with a grade of B- or better.  Official transcripts with a request for transfer of credits can be sent to SCPSadmissions@virginia.edu or School of Continuing and Professional Studies, 104 Midmont Lane, PO Box 400764, Charlottesville, VA 22904-4764 Attn: Admission Services

How long does it take to complete a certificate?

Most of our certificates can be completed in 12-18 months, by taking one or two classes per term, including summer. However, the rate at which you finish is up to you and how many courses you can reasonably manage each term. Students have up to two years to complete the coursework in a noncredit certificate; three years to complete the coursework in a certificate with 18 or less credits; and five years to complete the coursework in a certificate with 19 or more credits.  

What is the difference between earning a certificate and gaining certification?

Earning a certificate is a way for you to earn credits in a structured discipline-specific way. A certificate can prepare you to advance in your career, or to gain the extra knowledge needed to stay competitive and up-to-date in your field. There are many fields, however, that have professional certifications that may be recommended or required (teaching, project management, accounting). A certificate program does not lead to a professional certification. Yes, the courses you take in a certificate program could help you prepare to earn a professional field-specific certification, but earning a certificate is not the same as becoming certified.

What exactly does it mean to earn a certificate?

Certificates offer discipline-specific courses that can help you acquire new skills for professional advancement or for a career transition. Several of our certificates are offered online, making them accessible from anywhere. Completion of the certificate demonstrates evidence of specialized education achievement. It is recognized on a University of Virginia transcript.

Will the credits from a certificate program transfer to another college or university?

Certificate programs are designed to be stand-alone programs. Select courses, however, may be eligible for transfer. Colleges and universities may recognize these courses for transfer, but these decisions are made independently by the receiving institution.

What is the advantage to earning a certificate vs. a degree?

Students like to earn certificates because they are affordable, they take less time to complete than a full-fledged degree, and they are practical. Often the knowledge gained in the classroom can be put to use the very next day. In the competitive job market, a certificate can provide the crucial margin needed for individuals to change careers, qualify for a promotion, or qualify for professional accreditation.


Degrees

What degree will I earn?

The School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers two undergraduate degrees: a Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies and a Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management.  These degrees are awarded by the University of Virginia, and graduates of these programs are entitled to the same privileges and opportunities available to all students who have earned an undergraduate degree from the University of Virginia.

Will I fit in with the other degree students?

There is no "typical" degree student. They come in all ages and live in Charlottesville, Richmond, the Shenandoah Valley, the Tidewater area, Northern Virginia, and surrounding counties. They are just as likely to be married with children, as to be single. A large number of our students are working professionals. Our students find support from their faculty and peers as they meet the challenges of balancing the demands of family, work, and school. The one thing they have in common: to earn a UVa degree.  

How large are classes in your degree programs?

The School of Continuing and Professional Studies is committed to maintaining classes small enough for students to consult with faculty about class work on an individual basis and to participate fully in class discussions and presentations. Many classes have fewer than 20 students.

How long does it take to complete a degree?

Students have up to seven years to complete the degree. However, the rate at which you finish is up to you and how many courses you can reasonably manage each year. On average, our students take two courses each term (fall, spring, and summer) or a total of six courses per year. At that rate, a student would complete the degree in a little more than three years. At a minimum, students are expected to take one course every term after entering the program. Those who wish to take a heavier than normal load are subject to requisite academic standing and advisor approval.

What sort of support is available to degree students? I haven’t been in a classroom for years. I know I'll need support.

Our degree programs are designed to meet the needs of the adult learner. Each student is assigned a program or faculty advisor who meets with the student before spring, summer, and fall registration to discuss course selection for the upcoming terms. Students also are encouraged to contact their advisors at any other time for assistance with their academic program.  In addition to supportive staff and faculty, our students have access to many of the resources at UVa including extensive audio-visual library collections, career counseling, and job search support, as well as technical support.


Post-Bac Pre-Med Program

What is a Post-Bac Pre-Med Program?

The Post-Bac Pre-Med Program is a full-time, one-year, residential program designed for individuals with exceptional academic records who have not fulfilled the pre-med prerequisites as an undergraduate and seek the science background necessary for application to medical school and a future career in medicine. The program is not remedial. It is intended for those with strong undergraduate academic records who lack the required science courses for medical school admission.

Will successful program completion guarantee that I will be accepted into medical school?

Admission into medical school cannot be guaranteed. However, it is anticipated that students who have done well in the Post-Bac Pre-Med Program and on the MCAT will achieve success in applying to medical school. Our program has a 95 percent acceptance rate to medical school. 

What is the “glide year” and will I receive any assistance during this period?

The glide year is the period of time following the completion of the program and prior to your entry into medical school. During the glide year, Post-Bac Pre-Med faculty and staff are available to assist you in completing your medical school application and secondaries. Learn more

Will I enjoy similar privileges as degree seeking students at the University?

You will enjoy the privileges of degree-seeking undergraduate and graduate students, including access to exercise facilities and the Medical School's library.

What sort of faculty support or guidance can I expect to receive?  I really want to succeed.

Advisement is an important element of the program. Program faculty and staff continuously support you as a student. University offices and services have been aligned to advise you regarding every aspect of medical careers and admission to medical school. In addition, the Post-Bac Pre-Med program immerses you into the practices of medicine through volunteer work, shadowing, mentoring,  and also provides a course on the U.S. HealthCare System.

What can I expect the curriculum to be like?

The curriculum consists of the pre-med science courses needed for medical school admission. Specific courses include biology, chemistry, organic chemistry, biochemistry, physics and all associated labs.

Can I start this program at any time? How long does it take to complete this program?

This program has one defined start date. The program is approximately 12 months in length starting each June with summer classes and labs.

What is the typical class size for this program?

Class size ranges from 25 to 35 each year.


Tuition & Financial Aid

Are military/veteran educational benefits accepted?

Yes. We regularly work with veterans and active military members. The School also offers a reduced tuition rate for active duty military personnel enrolled in online undergraduate courses offered through SCPS.  For addition details, please visit our Active Duty Military & Veterans web page.

Do you offer a payment plan to help pay tuition and fees?

The University of Virginia offers a monthly payment plan for degree students and those enrolled in the Post-Bac Pre-Med Program to help distribute the costs of education over a period of time. Payment plans can be set up by semester to pay for tuition and fees. Visit the University Student Financial Services web site to learn more.

I am an employee at the University of Virginia. Can I use my education benefit to pay for classes?

If you are a benefits-eligible employee, you may be able to use your education benefit to pay for classes at SCPS. Learn more

Are SCPS students eligible for financial aid?

Financial aid, including AccessUVa,  is available to students enrolled in the School's degree programs. Federal Stafford loans may be available to students enrolled in the Post-Bac Pre-Med Program who demonstrate financial need. Learn more

Do you offer any scholarships?

Several scholarships are available to students enrolled in the School's degree programs and the Post-Bac Pre-Med Program. Learn more.

Does UVA have any options to help me pay for education?

Yes, however, not all of these options are applicable to all programs. It is important to familiarize yourself with your specific program and the options available to you.  Learn more

My employer offers tuition assistance or reimbursement. How do I start the process?

Many of our students use employer / sponsor assistance to pay for their tuition.   Learn more 


Applying

Can I receive an application fee waiver?

Applicants who believe they may qualify for an application fee waiver should first review the Application Fee Waiver Information, and then if eligible, submit an Application Fee Waiver Request.

Can I apply to more than one program at SCPS?

Yes, you can. The University uses the ApplyYourself online application. This system requires each application to be associated with a unique email address. If you apply for more than one program, you must create separate credentials using a different email address for each application.

The application requires me to send in transcripts, where should I send them?

 If you are seeking admission to the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree, the Bachelor of Professional Studies in Health Sciences Management, or one of our certificate programs, you will need to submit official transcripts from all colleges and universities you have attended.

If you are seeking admission to the Post-Bac Pre-Med Program, you will need to apply for admission through PostBacCAS, an online common application service which opens in August 2017.  Applicants for the PBPM program should not send any application materials directly to the University of Virginia. 

Official digital transcripts may be sent by your institution or its clearinghouse to centralscpsadmission@virginia.edu.

Official transcripts can also be sent directly to the following:

For US Postal Delivery: University of Virginia, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, Admissions, PO Box 401105, Charlottesville, VA 22904

For Courier Service Delivery:  Central Admission Office, School of Continuing and Professional Studies, 1001 North Emmet St., Room 209B, Carruthers Hall, Charlottesville, VA 22903

If you should happen to receive your official transcripts, do not open them. They are only considered official when received directly from the colleges and universities you've attended, and opened by the Central Admission Office.