ACE: Certificate Program FAQ

How long will it take me to complete a noncredit certificate?

Your availability and the availability of the courses being offered will impact your progress. Courses are scheduled based on demand, and not all requirements are offered every term.

Requirements can be completed in one year at a rate of two courses per semester. Taking more than two courses per semester is not recommended.

Do I need to take the required courses in a certain order?

Some courses are meant to be taken in sequence and have a prerequisite course or other requirement deemed necessary to ensure the greatest likelihood for student success. It is your responsibility to be aware of and meet any course prerequisite(s) prior to registration.

If you do not meet the prerequisite(s) for a specific course but feel that you are academically prepared to take the course, you can request permission from the Adult Continuing Education program.

You may not enroll a course and its prerequisite(s) in the same semester.

If the course(s) I need to complete my certificate are not being offered this semester, can I still complete my certificate?

All certificate program requirements will be offered at least once each academic year in fall, spring, or summer. Many are offered in two or more semesters. Visit and select Noncredit Courses to peruse current and future semester offerings, or contact Continuing Studies for suggestions on organizing your course sequence.

All 30-hour Adult Continuing Education courses are eligible electives for all certificate programs.

Are scholarships or financial aid available for Adult Continuing Education noncredit courses and certificates?

Financial assistance is available in the form of the need- and merit-based Madeleine Stanley-Jossem scholarship and remission for employees, Art Education student teacher supervisors, and Art Therapy fieldwork supervisors. Scholarships and remission are awarded for individual courses and not certificate programs. For more information, visit and select Noncredit Courses, then Tuition and Financial Assistance.

What is a portfolio, and what is the purpose of the required portfolio review?

A portfolio is a living document that changes over time. It is a collection of ideas, work, and other materials that represent you as a creative thinker and maker; tangible evidence of skills and abilities that support credentials on your resume; and a useful tool in marketing yourself to clients and employers, colleges and universities, funders and galleries.

The portfolio review is an opportunity for you to reflect on your artistic development, obtain substantive feedback, and exchange information about you and your practice to inform the next steps in your evolution as an artist, designer, and scholar. It is also a requirement for the completion of all ACE noncredit certificates. 

How do I apply?

To apply for a noncredit certificate program:

  • NEW: Register online 
  • Select ACE Certificates at the bottom of the left-hand, dark grey sidebar, then Add to Cart
  • Add desired courses to cart 
  • Select Cart, then Checkout; create a new account and confirm student and certificate information
  • Checkout and pay the non-refundable $80 fee due at the time of application

If you are unable to apply online, please contact us at or 312.629.6170.

Applications are accepted and processed during the open registration period and prior to the start of the semester.

Note: Students need not be enrolled in a certificate program to register for Adult Continuing Education classes.