Human Lactation

Certificate Level: Undergraduate
Admission Requirements: High School Diploma
Certificate Type: Certificate
Number of Credits to Completion: 18.0
Instructional Delivery: Campus
Calendar Type: Quarter
Expected Time to Completion: 18 months
Financial Aid Eligibility: Aid eligible*
Classification of Instructional Program (CIP) Code: 51.0815

Standard Occupational Classification (SOC) Code: 31-9099

*The current plan of study for this program would not allow for federal financial aid (including Federal Direct Student Loans) since Department of Education requires a minimum of 4.5 credits per term for graduate courses and 6.0 credits per term for undergraduate courses.

About the Program

Housed in the Department of Nutrition Sciences at Drexel University, the Human Lactation Certificate Program is designed to provide an opportunity for individuals interested in becoming Internationally Board Certified Lactation Consultants (IBCLCs) to obtain the required 90 hours of didactic coursework and 300 hours of supervised practice to meet eligibility through the International Board Certified Lactation Examiner's Pathway 2. The courses are designed for current Drexel students, practicing health care and public health professionals outside of Drexel, and others interested in entering the health professions. There is currently a strong global and national emphasis on increasing breastfeeding to promote health at the population level, prevent acute and chronic illness and decrease societal health care costs. The United States Surgeon General, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Healthy People 2020, the Institute of Medicine, the Joint Commission, and many professional associations include breastfeeding as a key health strategy.

The certificate program consists of six, 3.0 credit courses in lactation; the first three courses are didactic, and the remaining three courses are supervised practice. The didactic coursework is offered in the classroom and online setting. The supervised practice is offered at area hospitals and outpatient clinics with whom the College of Nursing and Health Professions, Department of Nutrition Sciences is affiliated, as well as a variety of community-based lactation education/support programs.

Students who wish to become IBCLCs must complete all six courses. To be eligible to take the certifying exam given by the International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners they must have also completed course work including anatomy and physiology, biology, child growth and development, nutrition, and psychology, which may be taken at Drexel or other institutions.

Admission Requirements

Applicants must have a minimum of a high school diploma. The International Board of Lactation Consultant Examiners requires education in 14 health science subjects in addition to education provided in human lactation and breastfeeding in the Certificate Program. At least four of the first eight health sciences courses listed below must be completed prior to enrolling in the Certificate Program; all of the remaining health sciences courses must be completed before enrolling in first supervised practice course.

A minimum of one quarter, term or semester of each of the following eight academic subjects must be completed at an accredited college or university:

  • Biology
  • Human Anatomy
  • Human Physiology
  • Infant and Child Growth and Development
  • Introduction to Clinical Research
  • Nutrition
  • Psychology, OR Counseling Skills, OR Communication Skills
  • Sociology, OR Cultural Sensitivity, OR Cultural Anthropology

The remaining six subjects may be completed at an accredited college or university, OR through continuing education courses:

  • Basic Life Support*
  • Medical Documentation
  • Medical Terminology
  • Occupational Safety and Security for Health Professionals*
  • Professional Ethics for Health Professionals
  • Universal Safety Precautions and Infection Control*

*These subjects will be covered during the Compliance process prior to beginning supervised practice, and do not need to be completed before enrolling in the program.

A detailed description of acceptable course work to fulfill these requirements is available in the International Board of Lactation Consultant's Health Sciences Education Guide.


  • Official transcripts demonstrating completion of health science requirements must be sent directly to Drexel from all the colleges/universities that you have attended. Transcripts must be submitted in a sealed envelope with the college/university seal over the flap or delivered electronically via secure delivery directly to the Program Director. Please note that transcripts are required regardless of number of credits taken or if the credits were transferred to another college/university. An admission decision may be delayed if you do not send transcripts from all colleges/universities attended.
  • Transcripts must show course-by-course grades and degree conferrals. If your college/university issues only one transcript for life, you are required to have a course-by-course evaluation completed by an approved transcript evaluation agency.
  • Please see the Drexel University Supporting Documents Submission Guide for more information.

Program Requirements

NFS 205Introduction to Human Lactation3.0
NFS 305Clinical Issues in Human Lactation3.0
NFS 405Public Policy of Breastfeeding3.0
NFS 485Lactation Supervised Practice (Taken 3 times)9.0
Total Credits18.0

A minimum grade of C is required for NFS 205, NFS 305, and NFS 405. NFS 485 is pass/fail.

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