CIRTL Practitioner / Scholar Graduate Certificate

UAB offers two CIRTL graduate certificates designed to provide you with opportunities to improve your teaching. Graduate students, postdoctoral fellows, faculty, employees, and community members are welcome to take one or more CIRTL courses. CIRTL@UAB is part of the Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) Network. Built around the core values of Learning through Diversity, Teaching as Research, and Interdisciplinary Learning Communities, CIRTL is dedicated to preparing the next generation of college faculty. UAB offers two CIRTL certificates:

  1. CIRTL Practitioner (15 credits) requires courses to help you gain teaching skills to prepare learners to develop, deliver, and assess learning opportunities for diverse populations.
  2. CIRTL Scholar (21 credits) builds on the Practitioner certificate and guides participants in developing and implementing a Teaching-As-Research (TAR) project to enhance teaching effectiveness. If you choose to complete the CIRTL Scholar certificate, you will also be awarded the CIRTL Practitioner certificate.

Why CIRTL?

CIRTL is a nationally recognized credential for teaching in higher education settings. In addition to gaining skills to prepare you to be effective teachers, earning a CIRTL certificate provides you with a credential that is nationally recognized as a measure of excellence in college teaching. You will also gain experience teaching at a world-class institution.

Who Will Benefit from Completing the Program?

  • Current college faculty and instructors who want to enhance their teaching effectiveness.
  • Aspiring college faculty and instructors who want to be prepared when they begin their teaching career.
  • Future faculty and instructors who want to have “an edge” on other candidates as you apply positions in the next step of your career.
  • Anyone interested in gaining transferable skills that will help you teach others by facilitating intentional learning activities.

Course Details

Still in development.

Faculty & Contacts

Most courses are taught by instructors within the Office of Professional Studies and Experiential Learning. While faculty in other academic units facilitate some elective courses, the primary instructors for CIRTL are:

  • Nancy G. Abney (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
  • Dr. Julia Austin (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Application Checklist

Requirements: Successful applicants will have earned an undergraduate degree or higher from a regionally accredited institution with an overall GPA of 3.0. Or they must be currently enrolled UAB graduate students, postdocs, or faculty.

  • Current UAB graduate students
  • Postdoctoral Trainees & Postdoctoral Scholars
    • Complete the online application
    • Contact the Office of Postdoctoral Education to seek Educational Assistance (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
  • New students
    • Request official copies of all your academic transcripts to be sent to UAB graduate admissions (more details in the application)
    • Complete the online application
    • Pay the application fee

You're Admitted - Next Steps

  • New students: Visit the New Students to UAB page.
  • Current students: Review the course requirements, choose your courses, and enroll. If you are not sure which courses to take, reach out to Nancy Abney at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
  • Questions: Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the benefits of CIRTL training?

  • Prepare for faculty teaching responsibilities and increase your marketable skills
  • Learn to design engaging, evidence-based learning experience
  • Get hands-on classroom teaching experience
  • Craft a teaching statement for the job search
  • Document evidence of teaching experience
  • Learn to conduct classroom- based research to improve teaching and learning
  • Balance teaching and research experience for a well-rounded CV

Can I earn a CIRTL certificate fully online? How are the Hybrid and Online tracks different?

Yes, all required courses are delivered in the fully online format. You may choose to complete your certificate by taking only online courses, or by taking some courses in the face-to-face format. If you have questions regarding your personal academic plan for CIRTL, please reach out to Nancy Abney at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Are there prerequisites? Can I take the courses in any order?

A few courses do have prerequisites and must be taken in that order. The recommended course sequence:

  1. GRD 705/752 – take one of these first
  2. GRD 750 CIRTL Seminar on Teaching & Learning
  3. GRD 751 CIRTL Seminar on Teaching as Research
  4. GRD 755 CIRTL Practicum (prereq. GRD 705/752 and GRD 750)
  5. GRD 716 Developing a Teaching Portfolio (prereq. GRD 705/752and 750)

I see that these courses are Pass/No Pass. Will they still count toward my degree?

Yes, when you complete the required courses for the CIRTL certificates, you will earn a credential that will be noted on your official UAB academic transcript.

In most degree programs, CIRTL courses may also count toward the total number of credits required for graduation. CIRTL courses earn you graduate credit; confirm with your Program Director to make sure that your academic degree program has room for you to earn graduate credit in the Pass/NoPass grading format.

What is the difference between CIRTL Practitioner and CIRTL Scholar?

Everyone who earns the CIRTL Practitioner degree is eligible to apply for the CIRTL Scholar certificate. After you complete the Practitioner certificate, apply for the Scholar program and complete six additional hours of CIRTL graduate coursework during which you will design and implement a Teaching As Research project. In short: Practitioner + 6 credit hours of TAR = Scholar.

What is the CIRTL Associate and how can I earn that recognition?

UAB Students, Faculty, Practitioners, and Staff have access to the National Center for the Integration of Research, Teaching and Learning (CIRTL) Network resources. CIRTL Network resources provide opportunities to learn more about specific teaching topics and learn at your own pace. Join CIRTL National Network at www.cirtl.net.

Because of UAB’s affiliation with the National CIRTL Network, anyone who completes the courses below may be recognized as a CIRTL Associate without earning the complete graduate certificate.

  • GRD 705: Teaching at the College Level
  • GRD 750: Seminar in Teaching and Learning &
  • GRD 716: Developing a Teaching Portfolio