Credits and costs
Earn a Graduate Certificate in Business Management Foundations
Every business needs effective managers in order to be profitable. These management professionals are critical to an organization’s success, addressing operational challenges, leading and motivating people, tracking expenses, forecasting revenue, strategically allocating resources, and setting operational priorities.
As a student in Penn State’s online Graduate Certificate in Business Management Foundations program, you can gain transferable skills that can be easily applied in any business setting — regardless of industry. You can help your team become more productive contributors to your company’s bottom line.
Program graduates can expect to demonstrate competency in the following foundational areas of business management:
- strategic management
- financial accounting
- financial management
- managing and leading people in organizations
- global marketing
Why Study Management at Penn State?
Reputation and Faculty Expertise
This program is offered in partnership with the Penn State Smeal College of Business, which is AACSB–accredited, an honor reserved for the top 5% of business schools worldwide. You will connect with expert faculty who are passionate about serving nontraditional students and specially trained to teach in an online environment.
Two Credentials, One Path
This certificate is an excellent stand-alone credential that you can add to your résumé. Or you may be able to apply the credits to the Master of Business Administration (MBA), Master’s in Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship, or Master’s in Strategic Management and Executive Leadership, if you apply and are accepted into one of these programs.
Learn Business Management Online
This program can help you acquire real-world problem-solving skills. Depending on the courses you select, you can:
- learn to make sound financial decisions
- understand financial reporting required of for-profit organizations
- predict how groups will behave
- become a motivating force for individuals and teams
- take a cross-disciplinary approach to addressing business challenges
- improve overall performance within the organization
Penn State World Campus’ flexible online platform allows you to complete weekly assignments at your preferred pace, so you can balance work, school, and personal commitments.
Who Should Apply?
This online certificate is ideal for individuals who aspire to move into a management role or managers who want to be more effective in their jobs but require stronger foundational skills. Students may come from a variety of backgrounds and industries. An undergraduate degree in a business-related field is not required.
Information for Military and Veterans
Are you a member of the military, a veteran, or a military spouse? Please visit our military website for additional information regarding financial aid, transfer credits, or application instructions.
The Graduate Certificate in Business Management Foundations is a 12-credit, 4-course online program designed to provide you with foundational knowledge in key areas of business management. Students can complete the program in as little as 8 months.
Courses are delivered completely online and are asynchronous. This means you are not required to log in at a particular time each week. You also have the flexibility to start and complete weekly assignments when and where it’s convenient for you.
Required Courses (select 12 credits)
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.
Costs and Financial Aid
Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||Cost|
|11 or fewer||$1,236 per credit|
|12 or more||$14,832 per semester|
Financial Aid and Military Benefits
Some students may qualify for financial aid. Take the time to research financial aid, scholarships, and payment options as you prepare to apply. Military service members, veterans, and their spouses or dependents should explore these potential military education benefits and financial aid opportunities, as well.
Paying for Your Certificate
Students pursuing a certificate are considered "nondegree," a status that is not eligible for federal student aid, including the Federal Direct Stafford Loan program. A private alternative loan may be an option to consider.
Additionally, Penn State offers many ways to pay for your education, including an installment plan and third-party payments. Penn State World Campus also offers an Employer Reimbursement and Tuition Deferment Plan. Learn more about the options for paying for your education.
Students pursuing a degree and meeting all other eligibility requirements may qualify for financial aid.
How to Apply
Deadlines and Important Dates
Your certificate application, including receipt of all transcripts, must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.
- Summer Deadline: Apply by March 30 to start May 15
- Fall Deadline: Apply by July 1 to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply by November 1 to start January 8
If you have questions about the admissions process, contact our admissions counselors.
For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.
What You Need
Applications are submitted electronically and include a nonrefundable application fee. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:
Official transcripts from each institution attended, regardless of the number of credits or semesters completed. Transcripts not in English must be accompanied by a certified translation. Penn State alumni do not need to request transcripts for credits earned at Penn State, but must list Penn State as part of your academic history. If you are admitted, you will be asked to send an additional official transcript. You will receive instructions at that time.
GPA and Test Scores — GPA of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale in the final two years of undergraduate studies or in your most recent graduate degree is required.
GRE or GMAT Scores are NOT required.
English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. With some exceptions, international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS). Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page. Visit the TOEFL website for testing information. Penn State's institutional code is 2660.
Vita or Résumé — A one- to two-page listing of your professional experience. Upload to the online application.
Statement of Intent — Describe how your professional experience and goals align with the Certificate in Business Management Foundations. Do not exceed 500 words. Upload to the online application.
Start Your Application
You can begin your online application at any time. Your progress within the online application system will be saved as you go, allowing you to return at any point as you gather additional information and required materials.
Begin the graduate school application
- Choose "Certificate Admission" as the enrollment type
- Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
- Choose "Business Management Foundations" as the certificate
Checking Your Status
You can check the status of your application by using the same login information established for the online application form.
Review the technical requirements for this degree program.
Get the resources you need to make informed decisions about your education. Request information on this program and other programs of interest by completing this form.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State graduate certificate?
Start or Advance Your Career
Start or Advance Your Career
You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.
To learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Business Management Foundations, or for questions regarding the program curriculum or your application status, contact:
Penn State Smeal College of Business
Professional Graduate Programs Office
Email: [email protected]
For general questions about Penn State World Campus or how to apply, please contact:
World Campus Admissions Counselors
Email: [email protected]
Penn State Smeal Advantage
More options, greater flexibility and a commitment to lifelong learning
The desire for knowledge and professional growth spans a lifetime. That is why the Penn State Smeal College of Business offers a portfolio of professional graduate programs for all stages of your career. In partnership with Penn State World Campus, Smeal makes it easy to customize a learning plan to your unique career aspirations and busy schedule. Penn State Smeal offers you a lifetime of learning with more concentrations and one of the most integrated, flexible offerings of online and residential programs in the United States.
An entire team dedicated to your success
Personal advising – Our experts will explain the many options that Penn State Smeal offers and will help you refine your career strategy and craft the educational experience best suited to your interests. It all starts with a simple, but critical question: “What are your goals?”
Career coaching* – Our Alumni Career Services team will support you across all career stages with professional advancement opportunities and coaching to help you stay focused on achieving your goals.
Delivering the best of online and in-person learning for a rich educational experience
We understand that today’s professional learners want meaningful discussion and interaction with faculty and classmates along with the technologies and flexible approaches of contemporary online learning. By aligning the best of both worlds, we bring richness, depth, and diversity to the overall educational experience.
Courses designed to engage and motivate the professional student
Creative Teams consisting of a lead faculty member, a Teaching Support Specialist (TSS), and an Instructional Designer use advanced analytics to develop and deliver contemporary graduate courses that promote application and engagement. We strive to innovate in ways that others don’t.
A real-world perspective
- Industry professionals inside the virtual classroom – Many of Penn State Smeal’s courses feature industry professionals who have been in the trenches and work hard to make an impact every day. These individuals, most of whom hold a Smeal graduate degree, partner with our renowned faculty to provide a rich academic context with real-world application.
- Global immersion* – This unique, optional experience will enhance your ability to communicate cross-culturally, adapt to evolving business environments, and manage the risks and benefits of operating on a global scale. Any student pursing a full degree from Smeal may participate in this optional, faculty-led experience for elective credit. Previous destinations have included Shanghai, China; Johannesburg, South Africa; Prague, Czech Republic; Santiago, Chile; and Zagreb, Croatia.
One of the largest and most influential networks in the country
At Penn State, you are part of a worldwide community of instructors, learners, and more than 750,000 alumni who support one another and make a meaningful impact.
More than 90,000 Smeal alumni benefit from connections around the globe as well as networking events, podcasts, webinars, a powerful LinkedIn community, and opportunities for volunteerism.
* Services are available only to students and alumni of Penn State Smeal’s degree programs and online degrees led by Smeal and delivered through the World Campus. Students and alumni of online graduate certificates are not eligible to receive these benefits unless they are also enrolled in a degree program.