Credits and costs
Online Graduate Certificate in Business Sustainability Strategy
As concern for the environment has grown in recent decades, incorporating sustainability practices into core business strategy and operations, from supply chain to marketing to accounting, is no longer an option for companies — it’s a necessity. Now more than ever, businesses must manage their environmental and social impact in order to drive profitability, reduce cost and risk, and build competitive advantage. You need the skills and knowledge to help your organization create transformative change and achieve long-term sustainability.
The 9-credit Graduate Certificate in Business Sustainability Strategy can help prepare you to develop a sustainability plan for any size or type of organization, from startup to global corporation. You will have the chance to set yourself apart in your field by learning to implement business practices that meet the present demands of your company and its stakeholders, while protecting the resources needed in the future. This program can teach you the skills needed to effectively assess opportunities and measure financial, environmental, and social returns.
The Business Sustainability Strategy Curriculum at Penn State
The course content in this certificate program will focus on:
- an exploration of sustainability, corporate social responsibility, and how leading businesses can respond to changes in the regulatory, consumer, and competitive landscape
- analysis of differences across Europe, Asia, Africa, and the Americas
- an overview of current topics and trends you must understand, such as the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Global Reporting Initiative, impact/ESG investing, blockchain and sustainability, and social entrepreneurship
- reducing costs and risks through sustainable procurement and supply chain management
- the latest business models and sustainable design solutions to drive business value and environmental/social performance up and down the value chain
The Penn State Difference
Reputation and Faculty Expertise — The Penn State Smeal College of Business carries the elite AACSB accreditation, an honor reserved for the top 5% of business schools worldwide. Through this certificate program, you can earn a respected credential while learning from faculty with diverse backgrounds, intellectual perspectives, and industry expertise.
Convenience — As a complement to the challenging but rewarding curriculum, online courses provide you with the flexibility and convenience to study around your own schedule without sacrificing quality. You can skip the commute and prepare for more rewarding career opportunities without leaving the comfort of your home.
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 Sustainability Strategy is a 9-credit online program that can help you successfully lead change for sustainability within your organization, with course work focusing on strategy, business model innovation, operations, supply chain, employee engagement, and change management.
Required Courses (9 credits)
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||$1,007 per credit|
|12 or more||$12,082 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 must be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.
- Fall Deadline: Apply by July 1 to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply by November 1 to start January 8
- Summer Deadline: Apply by March 30, 2024, to start May 13, 2024
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:
GPA and Test Scores — Postsecondary (undergraduate), junior/senior (last two years) GPA is required. Applicants are expected to have maintained a junior-senior (3rd and 4th years) GPA of at least a 3.00 based on a grading scale of A (4.00) to D (1.00).
GRE and GMAT test 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 and education.
Statement of Purpose — Describe how your professional experience and goals align with the Graduate Certificate in Business Sustainability Strategy. Please do not exceed 500 words.
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 Sustainability Strategy" 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.
A Head Start toward a Master’s Degree
A Head Start toward a Master’s Degree
Not only can this program help create opportunities in your career, it can also give you a solid head start toward a full master’s degree.
To learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Business Sustainability Strategy, 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.