Earning a Digital Assets Certificate as a Master’s Student

iStudent Blog

Published: May 4, 2021 by Leslie Parry

If you’re enrolled in the MLIS or MARA program at San José State University, you have the opportunity to earn an Advanced Certificate in Strategic Management of Digital Assets and Services in addition to your master’s degree. Best of all, you can complete the coursework at no additional cost and without extending your time in graduate school. Three different certificate pathways are available, and the nine required units can all be drawn from Special Session electives. 

At the inaugural Student Services Lunch and Learn Workshop, School of Information professors and pathway advisors joined Sheila Gurtu of the Student Services team to talk about this unique and exciting opportunity.

What are the pathways to earning a certificate?

Students can choose from one of three pathways:

All nine units applied to the certificate must be taken within a single pathway.

Which pathway should I choose?

It depends on your interests. As Dr. Sue Alman advises, “Start to look at job ads and see which ones appeal to you and what their requirements are. When you know that, it can help you to select which certificate you want.” While students pursuing career pathways in Data Science, Digital Curation, Digital Services, and Emerging Technologies may be familiar with some of the coursework, the certificate micro-pathways are open to all MLIS and MARA students, regardless of intended career. Even if you don’t have a strong tech background, says Dr. Darra Hofman, “You absolutely can learn these skills.”

How do I complete a certificate?

If you’re already a MLIS or MARA student, you do not have to apply separately or formally declare your intent. You must complete nine units within a single pathway by graduation. (These are not add-on courses; they are taken as part of the 43-unit MLIS or the 42-unit MARA.) At the end of your graduate program, you will submit an Advanced Certificate Audit Form once your coursework is complete.

All pathway courses are available to Special Session students. (Some classes may be taken in Regular Session, but a switch to Special Session is likely necessary to ensure all requirements are met.) To help you plan your coursework, use the course selection tools available through the iSchool Advising Toolkit

Non-master’s students have the opportunity to earn a digital assets certificate as well. The same requirements apply: nine units in a chosen pathway must be successfully completed. To demonstrate competency, certificate-only students are asked to build and submit a digital portfolio at the end of the program. Admission requirements for non-master’s students can be found here.

Why complete a certificate?

Having an advanced certificate in addition to your degree will help you distinguish yourself in the job market. “It’s a big boost to your resume, your credentials, having a certificate. But it’s not absolutely vital if you want to be a more generalist,” says Dr. Alman. Faculty advisors agree that it’s important for students to graduate with a mix of hard and soft skills, and a digital assets certificate builds competencies in both. By the time students complete the program, they will have enhanced their facility with emerging technologies and gained leadership and project management experience. They also might be able to cast a wider net in their job search.

Want to learn more?

View the entire webcast on the SJSU YouTube channel.

Read more about the certificate program for current students here.

Check out the Digital Assets Certificate FAQs.

Familiarize yourself with the program learning outcomes.

See what other students have done with the certificate on the Community Profiles page.