Certificates vs. Minors - What's the Difference?

Both programs offer students an opportunity to pursue a subject they are passionate about and gain skills and training. The chief difference is that a minor is focused on the specific discipline within a particular department whereas a certificate often spans multiple disciplines or departments. Students take five courses to earn a minor, and take six courses to earn a certificate. But both pathways are great ways for students to take courses that relate to each other, and to a specific topic or theme.

All certificate programs listed below are available for Trinity students, although some of these programs are sponsored by the Pratt School of Engineering (*), Nicholas School of the Environment (+), and/or Sanford School of Public Policy (^). 

Certificate Programs

Certificate Description
Architectural Engineering*

The Architectural Engineering Certificate helps undergraduate students learn about the planning, design, construction, and operation of commercial, industrial and institutional structures. Duke's architectural engineering courses get students out of the classroom and on-site at construction work happening on and near the Duke campus.

Aerospace Engineering* The Aerospace Engineering Certificate focuses on the conceptualization, design, analysis, and performance of aerospace systems.Rigorous and in-depth exposure to scientific and engineering fundamentals in the broad set of core disciplines.
Child Policy Research Certificate^ The Child Policy Research Certificate is designed to teach students how to systematically and rigorously analyze the issues facing children, families, and the society responsible for their development; teach the necessary analytical skills to study these issues with empirical rigor and provide a context in which students can engage in research that informs policy and practice.
Decision Science Certificate Program The Decision Sciences Certificate focuses on how humans make decisions in a variety of contexts, including economic, political and social choices. If you are interested in behavioral economics, game theory, machine learning or neuroeconomics, this certificate will provide an interdisciplinary appreciation for how these separate fields approach decision making. This will enable communication and collaboration across disciplinary boundaries and will allow you to engage in research with a broader perspective than that provided by any single major.
Digital Intelligence The Digital Intelligence Certificate equips students to develop foundational knowledge in computational technologies and their relationship to society. Students will gain a foundational understanding of contemporary and emerging computational thinking, which will be customized for different pathways to suit individual students’ interests, and may include topics such as artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, web/mobile technologies, databases and software engineering. They will also study the ethical, legal, social and policy frameworks needed to understand the complex ways in which these technologies impact society.
Documentary Studies The Certificate in Documentary Studies is a program of study involving undergraduate students in community-based research using photography, filmmaking, oral history and other documentary fieldwork methods.
Duke Health Policy Certificate^ Developed jointly by Duke-Margolis and the Sanford School of Public Policy, this thematic certificate will provide undergraduate students with a cohesive program to study the policy foundations of the U.S. health systems and health care. The program will be built on the Center’s strong interdisciplinary approach and include an introductory course on U.S. health care systems, offer a range of health policy electives across campus, will include a large focus on the ability of policy to perpetuate and disrupt health inequities, and culminate in capstone seminar. In addition, two substantial thematic experiences in health policy will be required. Students earning the certificate will gain health policy knowledge to apply in their careers and lived experiences.
East Asian Studies The Asian/Pacific Studies Institute’s undergraduate certificate in East Asian Studies provides students with the opportunity for interdisciplinary, in-depth study of historical and contemporary East Asian societies and cultures.
Energy & Environment+ The Certificate in Energy & Environment is provides an understanding of the breadth of issues that confront our society in its need for clean, affordable and reliable energy.
Ethics & Society Certificate The Ethics & Society Certificate responds to the need felt by many students for a more thoughtful or reflective engagement with the complexity of the world. Offering learning experiences both in the classroom and in the world beyond the campus, the certificate introduces students to the many ways in which values and principles can come into conflict. Students who pursue this certificate will emerge better prepared to recognize, comprehend and negotiate such conflicts in any career path they choose.
Global Development Engineering*

This undergraduate engineering certificate includes courses in technical subjects as well as culture and language, ethics, public policy, and economics.In addition to course work, students get real-world experience, implementing a designed solution in the United States or abroad.

Human Rights Certificate The Human Rights Certificate offers students an in-depth and rigorous interdisciplinary study of human rights history, theory and practice, cultivating lifelong learners and engaged citizens who have a deep and nuanced understanding of human rights.
Information Science + Studies The Information Science + Studies (ISS) Undergraduate Certificate program offers students an interdisciplinary approach to study the nature of information and its impact on art, culture, science, commerce, society and the environment.
Innovation & Entrepreneurship The undergraduate certificate in Innovation and Entrepreneurship (I&E) is designed to provide students with a pathway to pursue a rigorous cross-disciplinary study of innovation and entrepreneurship that will be complementary to any major and will enable students to be innovative and entrepreneurial in their of pursuit of knowledge in service to society. The certificate requires an in-depth course of study examining the theories of innovation and entrepreneurship, coupled with hands-on practice in both areas. Innovation and entrepreneurship are, by their very nature, areas of cross-disciplinary inquiry, so the certificate will draw on theory, contexts and methods from across the disciplines.
Islamic Studies These courses are designed to educate students about Islam and Muslim cultures, beliefs and practices so they are prepared upon graduation to engage Muslim communities knowledgeably and productively in their professional careers or prepared to pursue graduate study.
Jewish Studies The Certificate in Jewish Studies is an interdepartmental program that offers courses in religion, political science, history, cultural anthropology, comparative literature, Hebrew language and literature, women's studies, Germanic languages, and more.
Latin American Studies The Latin American Studies certificate exposes students to the rich artistic and cultural traditions of Latin America and the Caribbean in an effort to develop cross-cultural fluency. It challenges students to develop moral arguments about issues of social justice, and aims to prepare students to become active agents of social change in academics, business, non-governmental organizations and many other careers dealing with Latin America and the Caribbean.
Latino/a Studies in the Global South The Certificate in Latino/a Studies in the Global South provides students with comparative, historical and cultural knowledge of peoples of Latin American descent living in the United States (and moving transnationally); understanding of the concepts of Hispanics/Latino/as, latinidad and hispanidad, and the Global South (and Global North); and the construction and assertion of Latino/a identities, involving convergences and divergences, over space and time.
Markets & Management The Markets & Management Certificate draws on knowledge from a variety of disciplines including sociology, economics, political science, history and business. Each course in the program deals in some way with the impact of different organizational forms on managing human resources, coordinating work, integrating technology, and using business networks in an increasingly competitive global economy.
Materials Science & Engineering*

This certificate helps students learn the scientific and engineering principles related to the fundamental structures, properties and technological applications of materials. Expert faculty teach from multiple disciplines. In addition to technical training, also learn about the role of technology in science, public policy and the economy

Philosophy, Politics & Economics The Philosophy, Politics & Economics Certificate enables students to integrate, synthesize and exploit the most integrated research work in these three disciplines.
Science and the Public The Certificate in Science & the Public allows undergraduate students to build on their science and technology leadership training and hone their expertise in science and technology policy. Its core course and electives enable students to critique and analyze science and its downstream applications while anticipating it implications to society. This training is complimented by approved research experiences and a capstone project.
Sustainability Engagement+ The Certificate in Sustainability Engagement provides students with the unique opportunity to become competent leaders in a world that has long moved past unlimited resources, a safe climate, stable populations, and continued growth. Our world faces grave threats and unprecedented opportunities. Effectively responding to the former, and creatively embracing the latter, requires leaders well versed in the wide-ranging nature of sustainability. The Sustainability Engagement Certificate Program will provide the foundation for this core competency.