Credits and costs
Online Diversity Certificate Can Prepare You to Lead into the Future
For many organizations, creating a diverse workplace and developing inclusion as a strategic focus are critical for a successful future. The 100% online Graduate Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion as Strategy program, offered by Penn State World Campus and led by the Penn State Smeal College of Business, can position you to strategically create, implement, and lead diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives.
Become a Champion for Diversity and Inclusion in Your Organization
As a student in this program, you can develop an individual plan to apply a focus on DEI to your existing work, strengthen your competencies as a supervisor and leader, and accelerate your organization’s diversity and inclusion growth for the future. By studying leadership theory, real-world cases, and current headlines, you can graduate from the certificate prepared to:
- apply evidence-based approaches to resolving diversity dilemmas at work
- analyze organizational culture to ensure that it is conducive to the effective management and implementation of diversity as a strategy
- create and lead a change process that is mindful of diversity and inclusion
- discuss the concept of personal, organization, and cultural values, as well as understand and illustrate how they relate to ethical decision-making, leadership, and culture
- understand and apply the concepts of corporate social responsibility, sustainability, stakeholder analysis, and crisis management
Why Study DEI Online at Penn State?
Top Producer of CEOs — In 2018, LinkedIn named Penn State second in the country for graduating the most CEOs, placing it ahead of many Ivy League institutions.
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 are specially trained to teach in an online environment.
Flexibility and Engagement — Penn State’s flexible online platform allows you to earn a world-class education while you continue to gain valuable work experience.
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.
Penn State's 9-credit online Graduate Certificate in Diversity and Inclusion as Strategy program consists of three required courses. Students in the program can complete this online certificate in as little as 12 months. Your education will blend independent study with peer-to-peer interaction. You'll complete weekly assignments, readings, discussions, and occasional group work, as well as exams and other activities designed to enhance your learning outcomes — all at times that are most convenient for you.
Required Courses (3 credits)
Additional Courses (select 6 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||$1,248 per credit|
|12 or more||$14,976 per semester|
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||Cost|
|11 or fewer||$1,260 per credit|
|12 or more||$15,120 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 should be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete.
- Spring Deadline: Apply by November 15 to start January 8
- Summer Deadline: Apply by April 15 to start May 13
- Fall Deadline: Apply by July 20, 2024, to start August 26, 2024
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:
Grade Point Average (GPA) — 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.
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 professional experience
Statement of Purpose — Submit a statement describing how your professional experience and goals align with the certificate.
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.
- Choose "Certificate Admission" as the enrollment type
- Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
- Choose "Diversity and Inclusion as 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.
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 Diversity and Inclusion as Strategy, please contact:
Penn State Smeal College of Business
Professional Graduate Programs Office
For general questions about the application process, please contact:
World Campus Admissions Counselors
DegreePh.D., Management and Labor Relations, Rutgers University
DegreeM.Phil., Industrial Relations, IIT, Mumbai, India
DegreeM.S., Political Science, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi, India
DegreeB.A., Political Science, Elphinstone College, Mumbai, India
Aparna Joshi is the Arnold Family Professor of Management at the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Her research is focused on resolving diversity and leadership challenges across a number of industries and occupations. Her teaching focuses on building leadership competencies — including self-awareness, empathy, and perspective-taking — that are directed toward leading inclusively across differences. She also teaches courses on diversity and leadership in the undergraduate MBA, MOL, and EMBA programs at Smeal.
DegreePh.D., Management, MIT Sloan
DegreeB.A., Harvard College
Forrest Briscoe is a professor of management and a Frank and Mary Jean Smeal Research Fellow in the Penn State Smeal College of Business. He teaches courses in strategic management, business ethics, social entrepreneurship, and organizational theory. His research examines strategic decision-making in relation to a variety of topics, including corporate stakeholders, workforce management, resource allocation, social responsibility, and data governance.
Jennifer L. Eury
DegreePh.D., Higher Education, Penn State
DegreeM.S., Business Administration, Penn State
DegreeM.Ed., Higher Education, Penn State
DegreeB.A., Advertising-Public Relations, Penn State
Dr. Jennifer Eury is a clinical assistant professor of management and organization at the Smeal College of Business, and an affiliate faculty member in the Rock Ethics Institute at Penn State. She teaches courses in ethical leadership, leadership and change in organizations, and management and organization. Her research focuses on individuals’ and organizations’ responses to identity threat, and organizational culture, specifically how culture can foster integrity and ethical behavior.
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.
Impact Smeal Day — This day provides alumni and professional graduate students with the opportunity to come to campus and interact with current students, network with other alumni, gain professional insights, and hear about college initiatives. The day is designed so that you can sign up for the sessions that work for your schedule.
* 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.