Book Arts Certificate

Minnesota Center for Book Arts plays a leading role in training and supporting the next generation of book artists.

MCBA offers two Certificate programs of study, to recognize dedicated practitioners who complete significant coursework in book arts and demonstrate knowledge and proficiency across book arts disciplines.

The Core Certificate in Book Arts is designed to recognize the achievements of practitioners who attain broad knowledge in the fundamentals of book arts, as well as a more in-depth understanding in one or more areas or techniques. Enrollees must complete a uniform Core Curriculum, as well as a number of elective workshops within defined categories.

After earning the Core Certificate, you may choose to pursue an Advanced Certificate in Book Arts. The Advanced Certificate is designed to recognize and support the work of individuals who choose to seriously pursue advanced-level independent projects in one or more areas of book arts.

One key benefit of pursuing a Certificate is eligibility for an Early Registration discount for workshops (available when registration opens until about two weeks into the session). Upon earning a Certificate, enrollees may qualify for additional benefits, ranging from enhanced studio access to teaching and exhibition opportunities.

Coursework toward these certificates must be completed over the span of no more than five years. New enrollees can receive up to 25 hours of retroactive credit for workshops taken no more than five years prior to the date of their certificate application. Scroll down for assistance in determining retroactive credit hours and categories for workshops taken in prior years.

Credit hours and categories for current workshop offerings are listed in MCBA’s workshop schedules (both online and print). To view PDFs of our recent newsletters, complete with class listings and certificate information, please visit our Newsletters page.

If you have questions about the Certificate programs which this webpage and the accompanying forms do not address, please email


Certificate Enrollment form
Download (PDF format)

Core Certificate Tracking form
Download (PDF format)

Advanced Certificate Tracking form
Download (PDF format)

If you have any trouble with the downloadable forms, or need hard copies mailed to you, please contact

Retroactive Credit Guides

Certificate enrollees may apply for retroactive credit for classes and workshops completed at MCBA up to 5 years prior to their enrollment, pending review, verification and approval by MCBA staff.


Core Certificate graduates


Advanced Certificate graduates


Application Process

Once a student has completed 25 hours of classes at MCBA, s/he must register for the certificate with MCBA staff using the Certificate Enrollment Form (found in the Forms section below). Upon completing registration, the student will be eligible for Early Registration discounts for classes toward her/his certificate (one key benefit of pursuing the certificate).

In addition to completing 25 hours of classes at MCBA, students are expected to be active members of MCBA at the time of enrollment and throughout the program. For membership information and to become a member of MCBA, visit our membership page.

Students will be expected to track their own progress toward their certificates, using the Core Certificate Tracking Form and/or the Advanced Certificate Tracking Form (download from Forms section below). These Tracking Forms ask students to log the classes they take in fulfillment of requirements, and to obtain teacher signatures confirming their successful completion of those classes. Students may submit their Tracking Forms to MCBA’s Director of Education to obtain retroactive credit for classes taken up to 5 years prior.

Once a student has completed the required class hours for the MCBA Certificate, they must submit their Certificate Tracking Form to the Artist and Adult Programs Director. Certificates will be awarded annually in the spring. Students will receive written approval on the completion of their certificates no more than a month after the submission of their paperwork.

Benefits of Enrollment

MCBA certificates denote recognition of proficiency in core and/or advanced book arts practices, and entitle students to the following benefits:

    • Certificate graduates and students enrolled in the certificate program will receive early registration discounts for classes for which they register at least three weeks in advance
    • Certificate graduates and students will be eligible to participate in MCBA Community Shows in the gallery spaces within the Open Book Building
    • Certificate graduates will be listed on MCBA’s website
    • Certificate graduates may also be eligible for teaching opportunities and/or referrals from MCBA

Curriculum: MCBA Core Certificate in Book Arts


Curriculum: MCBA Advanced Certificate in Book Arts

This certificate is designed to recognize and support the work of individuals who choose to seriously pursue advanced-level independent projects in one or more areas of book arts. To be a candidate for the MCBA Advanced Certificate in Book Arts, a student must first obtain the MCBA Core Certificate in Book Arts, and must be prepared to conceptualize and execute independent projects that require proficiency in one or more areas of book arts.

To complete this certificate, a student must complete at least 120 hours of classes in two categories: C (Advanced-level classes and Guided Projects) and D (Electives), as well as the 18-hour Book Arts Seminar, then must participate in an exhibition.

Category C Classes

These classes are designed for advanced students, and are of two sorts: technique-based, which build skills and develop advanced techniques, and guided projects, which allow students to work with the supervision of an experienced artist and community of peers on a project of the student’s design. Any student pursuing the Advanced Certificate in Book Arts must complete 100 hours of Category C Classes.

Sample Technique-Based Category C Classes
– Extreme Boxmaking
– Advanced Binding II: Full-Leather Binding on Raised Cords

Sample Guided Projects Category C Classes
– Advanced Letterpress: Guided Projects
– Advanced Bookbinding: Guided Projects
– Advanced Papermaking: Guided Projects
– Artist’s Book: Guided Projects

Category D Classes

These classes generally deal with a specific technique, such as a single binding or printing process. Electives are generally open to students at all levels of expertise. Any student pursuing the Advanced Certificate in Book Arts must complete 20 hours of Category D Classes.

Sample Category D Classes:
– Journal Practice: Collage and Sketching
– Making a Golden Impression: Foil Stamping
– Paper As Narrative
– Experiments in Pressure Printing
– Brush, Ink, Breath: Sumi-E As Meditation
– Presentation Portfolios
– Concertina Book Structures