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Graduate Certificate in
Institutional Research


The graduate certificate program in institutional research is a 15-credit program designed to provide students with the skills that support institutional planning and policy formation. Enrolling in this program can greatly benefit in-career professionals, institutional researchers, graduate students, and persons employed in related fields. You can choose to take the courses for the certificate entirely online or by traditional means at Penn State University Park. In addition, individual online courses will be open on a space-available basis to those who are seeking to upgrade their skills but do not wish to complete the entire certificate program.

Course List — Graduate Certificate in Institutional Research 

Required Courses (6 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Foundations of Institutional Research HIED 801 Explores concepts, methodologies and research practices that support campus decision-making: national data sets, planning and budgeting, enrollment management and enrollment forecasting, faculty studies and instructional analysis, institutional effectiveness and accreditation, educational effectiveness and student outcomes assessment. 3 credits
Designing Institutional Research Studies HIED 830 Teaches best practices and necessary skills in quantitative and qualitative research design, including sampling and basic measurement issues, research methods, survey research, interviews, focus groups, and selecting appropriate statistical tools. 3 credits
Professional Electives (9 credits) — choose 3 courses from the following list
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Planning and Resource Management in Higher Education HIED 810 Provides a working knowledge of strategic planning and resource management in higher education, especially in terms of pragmatic skills and decision-support tools relevant to institutional researchers. 3 credits
Assessing Student Outcomes and Evaluating Academic Programs HIED 840 Examines institutional effectiveness: evaluating academic programs, assessing student learning outcomes, coping with accountability and accreditation demands. Assessment topics include studies of students' basic skills, general education, knowledge in the major, personal growth, and alumni studies. 3 credits

Administration Leadership in Higher Education


College Students and Their Success

HI ED 842**



HIED 846**

This course gives students an overview of administrative leadership within higher education institutions. Students learn about organizational structure, governance, leadership, decision-making, internal and external constituencies, culture, resources, and organizational change. Brief discussions of key organizational theories are included, but the course primarily focuses on administrative practice.


Numerous scholars, over many years, have explored a wide array of topics about college students — their preparation for college, their generalized and particularized characteristics, their behaviors in college, their attitudes about social issues, their relative success in achieving learning outcomes, their engagement (or lack thereof) with various components of the collegiate learning experience, their persistence, and the list goes on and on.

3 credits
Analyzing Faculty Workload, Performance, and Compensation HIED 850 Topics include measuring faculty workload, evaluating faculty research productivity, the uses and misuses of student ratings, assessment for promotion and tenure, and methodologies for conducting salary studies. 3 credits
Conducting Enrollment Management Studies HIED 860 Studies the three stages of enrollment management: (1) Pre-admission (attracting, admitting, and enrolling students), (2) The Initial Student Experience (orientation, advisement, curricular access, and student support services), (3) Student Success (persistence, academic achievement, graduation, and employment). 3 credits

**For doctoral or master's students who are taking courses residentially, HIED 846 can be substituted with HIED 556 and HIED 842 can be substituted with HIED 552. For more information, please contact your adviser.

Course Availability

If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.

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