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Frequently Asked Questions

What is Skills Academy?

Skills Academy is a  learning opportunity that began in summer 2022 and was developed in partnership with the Division of Undergraduate Education, the Center for Career & Professional Advancement, and Summer Session.

The goal of Skills Academy is to help UC Merced students gain access to career preparedness and skills development. UC Merced wants you to be ready for the job you want after college or the internship you want while you are in college.

Students will be able to choose from eight (8) different online courses in topics that are in high demand by employers, such as graphic design, project management, and business analytics.

The courses charge a fee. Students pay for the course with personal funds. Students who complete a paid course and submit proof of their verified certificate by the deadline will receive a gift card in the amount of $50. 

The Winter Skills deadline to submit proof of course completion/verified certificate is January 30.

The Summer Skills deadline to submit proof of course completion/verified certificate is August 20.

Who is Skills Academy for?

It is for currently enrolled UC Merced students. If you have questions about your student status, please reach out to for additional information before you enroll.

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How long will it take to complete the course?

The Coursera courses are designed to be completed in four, five, or nine weeks*. The amount of time that it will take to complete the course will vary from course to course. The course begins when you enroll and pay.

*Data and Business Analytics/Introduction to Data Analytics is 5 weeks, Database Management Essentials is 8 weeks, and Health Care Professions is 9 weeks.

How do I enroll?

Click on the tab for the skill/course you want to take and enroll in the course. The courses are offered through Coursera, an online learning company.

While Coursera offers two versions, free and paid, you must enroll in the paid version to qualify for an incentive. By taking the free version you will not receive the verified certificate that you will need to receive an incentive.

How much are the courses?

The fixed-price courses are $49 and $59. The subscription courses range from $39-$79 per month. Most courses* may be completed in four weeks, so students could complete the course in one month and cancel the subscription so the course cost is only one month. Do not forget to cancel your subscription as soon as you complete your course and receive your verified certificate. Failure to cancel your subscription can result in additional charges to your credit card.

*Data and Business Analytics/Introduction to Data Analytics is 5 weeks, and Health Care Professions is 9 weeks.

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Can I take more than one course?

Yes. UC Merced wants you to be successful and it is recommended that you do not take more than one (1) course over the winter break and two (2) courses during the summer.

Can I get a Cat Dollar incentive for more than one course?

Over winter break, incentives will only be given for one (1) course. Over summer break students can receive incentives for completing two courses and providing the verified certificates, but the maximum incentive is a $75 gift card for completing and providing verified certificates for two (2) courses in the summer.

How do I submit my verified certificate to receive the incentive?

Submit your Verified Coursera Certificate using this form by January 30 for Winter Skills, or August 20 for Summer Skills. No late submissions will be accepted.

What if I already graduated?

Only matriculated UC Merced undergraduate students are eligible for the $50 gift card incentive.

What if I don’t want to finish the course(s)?

You do not have to finish the course if you do not want to, but you will no longer be eligible for the gift card incentive. Do not forget to cancel your subscription if you enrolled in a subscription course!

Do not be discouraged if you decide a skill is not for you. Discovering you do not want to pursue a type of job is helpful to you as you look to your future. 

Content Updated on November 30, 2022


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