The core mission of Union University of California is to prepare men and women for vocational service in church congregations or church-related organizations.  The Master of Divinity degree is the standard prerequisite for ordination in most mainline denominational structures, and the Master of Ministry was designed as preparation for ordination for those not in mainline denominations and for non-ordained vocational staff persons.  
UUC also desires to serve the broader Christian community who serve in lay leadership positions whether in the local church context, in faith-based organizations or in the broader society at large. The Certificate Programs at UUC are designed to offer graduate level classes to educate and train these lay leaders who are not seeking a degree, but wish to focus on specific learning at a graduate level. 
Graduate certificates better prepare pastors but also other leaders such as church elders, deacons, Sunday School teachers, mission trip leaders, denominational officers, or officers or managers in faith-based or secular organizations.  
Admission requirements for the UUC Graduate Studies Certificate programs are the same of those of the two Master’s level graduate degree programs. After completion of a certificate program, students may opt to continue their education in a Masters’ level program.