engineering leadership innovation team meeting

Graduate Certificate in
Engineering Leadership and Innovation Management

Program summary

Supplement your technical engineering skills with courses focused on communication, ethics, entrepreneurial thinking, and professionalism. This online certificate program was designed for working engineering professionals who want to prepare for leadership positions.

Application deadline

Apply by December 1 to start January 8

Credits and costs

12 Credits $1,017 per credit

Earn a Graduate Certificate in Engineering Leadership and Innovation Management

The 12-credit Graduate Certificate in Engineering Leadership and Innovation Management, offered online by Penn State World Campus in partnership with Penn State's College of Engineering, highlights the changing nature of the field of engineering, which is being impacted by globalization, the growing demand for corporate innovation, and the need for skilled engineers.

The primary goal of the engineering leadership and innovation management certificate program is to provide professionals with knowledge and skills in the key aspects of engineering business: leading teams, identifying new business opportunities, working across international and cultural boundaries, effectively managing projects, and championing internal innovation. These areas of leadership and innovation set engineers apart and prepare them to be future global leaders.

Upon completion of the certificate, students should have developed attributes required by today's successful engineering executives. Specifically, these include improved ability to lead technical teams and expanded professional skills in leadership, intercultural competence, and innovation management within the engineering profession.

The Penn State Difference

This program combines a highly focused curriculum with a flexible, convenient online format, allowing you to maintain your professional commitments as you acquire a valued credential. You will learn from faculty who have expertise in engineering, project management, innovation, and leadership, as well as extensive experience teaching in online education.

Your Course Work

The focus of the curriculum is to help engineers become well-versed beyond their technical engineering skills, expanding into areas such as communication, ethics, entrepreneurial thinking, and professionalism. The courses can help develop the abilities you need to effectively create and lead impactful contributions to your team and organization.

Who Should Apply?

The certificate was designed for working professionals — with a bachelor's degree and some relevant work experience in engineering, science, or a related discipline — who are looking for career development opportunities. As a student, you can enhance your knowledge and skill sets in identifying new business opportunities, gathering support from within your organization, managing projects, and working across multidisciplinary and cultural teams.


The Graduate Certificate in Engineering Leadership and Innovation Management comprises four courses totaling 12 credits.

Required Courses (12 credits)

  • 3

    Covers the essential concepts and skills needed to make effective contributions on projects, on time and within budget.

    • Note

      Related courses may be substituted for ENGR 405. For a list of approved courses, contact the Engineering Leadership Development Office at [email protected].

  • 3

    Traditional and contemporary leadership theory is analyzed to determine effective strategies for leading projects and innovation within an engineering context.

  • 3

    Explores cultural differences and impact on business practices and team dynamics working on virtual project teams with global partner universities.

  • 3

    Develop competencies for leading new product/process development or participating in corporate spinouts using entrepreneurial skills within a corporation.

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.

Costs and Financial Aid

Graduate Tuition

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.

2023–24 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2023, spring 2024, and summer 2024 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester? Cost
11 or fewer $1,017 per credit
12 or more $12,203 per semester

2024–25 Academic Year Rates

Tuition rates for the fall 2024, spring 2025, and summer 2025 semesters.

How many credits do you plan to take per semester? Cost
11 or fewer $1,027 per credit
12 or more $12,325 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

To be considered for admission, you must submit your completed application portfolio by the deadlines below. Please note that applications received after the deadline may be considered for the upcoming semester, but admission is not guaranteed and may need to be pushed to the following semester.

  • Spring DeadlineApply by December 1 to start January 8
  • Summer DeadlineApply by April 1 to start May 13
  • Fall DeadlineApply by July 15, 2024, to start August 26, 2024

Admissions Help

If you have questions about the admissions process, contact our admissions counselors.

Admission Requirements 

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.

Admissions decisions for this program are based on the quality of the applicant's credentials and review of the complete application portfolio. During the admission process, students who appear to be better suited for another graduate-level program will be encouraged to apply to the appropriate program.

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 — For admission to the certificate program, a 3.0 GPA (or equivalent) is needed. Exceptions to the minimum 3.0 grade-point average may be made for students with special backgrounds, abilities, and interests. A minimum of one year of relevant work experience is recommended.

GRE scores are not required.

English Proficiency — The language of instruction at Penn State is English. All international applicants must take and submit scores for the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) or International English Language Testing System (IELTS), with some exceptions. Minimum test scores and exceptions are found in the English Proficiency section on the Graduate School's "Requirements for Graduate Admission" page.

References (2) — You will need to initiate the process through the online application by entering names, email addresses, and mailing addresses of two references. Upon submission of your application, an email will be sent to each reference requesting they complete a brief online recommendation regarding your commitment for success in an online program. Please inform all recommenders they must submit the form in order for your application to be complete.  

Program-Specific Questions/Materials

Résumé — Upload your résumé to the online application.

Personal Statement — a 2- to 3-page essay demonstrating your written communication skills, which includes the following information:

  • Statement of purpose (career and educational goals).
  • Narrative describing your professional experience in an engineering position (or equivalent) to meet the one-year requirement. Students wishing to enter the program directly from an undergraduate degree can fulfill the one-year requirement for engineering experience through internships, employment, or co-op experiences plus additional experience within professional societies.
  • Narrative describing your leadership and innovation experiences through internships, employment, co-op experiences, community engagement, professional societies, etc.

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 Enrollment Type: "Certificate Admission"
  • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
  • Choose "Engineering Leadership and Innovation Management" 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.

Technical Requirements 

Review the general technical requirements for this program.

Ready to Learn More?

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.

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Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State graduate certificate?

Apply by December 1 to start January 8. How to Apply

Start or Advance Your Career

Two engineers review blueprints and working at a computer

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.

Career Services to Set You Up for Success

Student having a virtual meeting on a laptop with a career counselor

From the day you're accepted as a student, you can access resources and tools provided by Penn State World Campus Career Services to further your career. These resources are beneficial whether you're searching for a job or advancing in an established career.

  • Opportunities to connect with employers
  • Career counselor/coach support
  • Occupation and salary information
  • Internships
  • Graduate school resources 

A Head Start toward a Master’s Degree

A figure standing halfway up a set of stairs leading towards a graduation cap

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.

Degree Programs Related to This Certificate

Some or all credits earned for this certificate can be applied to the following Penn State World Campus degree programs:

Position yourself to be a leader in the fast-growing 3D printing industry. This online master's program draws upon the resources and faculty of Penn State’s renowned College of Engineering to offer students the analytical and practical skills required for using additive manufacturing technologies.

Learn more about the Master of Engineering in Additive Manufacturing and Design  

Learn to strategically manage corporate innovation; develop new products, services, and business models for companies; and launch startups. With multiple concentrations to choose from, you can customize this online degree program to suit your individual and organization needs and support your goals.

Learn more about the Master's in Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship  

Build your technical leadership skills in this cohort-based online master's degree program that encourages collaborative learning and peer teamwork as you explore engineering management with world-class Penn State faculty.

Learn more about the Master of Engineering Management  

Develop your knowledge in organization development, appreciative inquiry, collaborative engagement, and change. Gain practical skills to effectively manage and lead change in corporations, government agencies, and nonprofits.

Learn more about the Master of Professional Studies in Organization Development and Change  

Gain a thorough understanding of all aspects of project management theory and practice in this interdisciplinary online project management program that incorporates problem-based learning. Penn State is a PMI Registered Education Provider.

Learn more about the Master of Project Management  

Contact Us

To learn more about the Penn State World Campus Graduate Certificate in Engineering Leadership and Innovation Management, offered in partnership with the Penn State College of Engineering, please contact:

World Campus Admissions Counselors
Phone: 814-863-5386
[email protected]

College of Engineering
School of Engineering Design and Innovation
213G Hammond Building
University Park, PA 16802
[email protected]


  • Wesley E. Donahue, PE, PMP

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Workforce Education, Penn State
    • Degree
      MBA, Clarion University
    • Degree
      B.S., Civil Engineering, Penn State

    Dr. Wesley E. Donahue is the coordinator of the online Master of Professional Studies in Organization Development and Change and an instructor of related courses and programs. An experienced researcher, developer, and leadership consultant, he has an extensive manufacturing, engineering, sales, and management background, having started and operated businesses for more than 30 years. Dr. Donahue is a registered professional engineer, six-sigma black belt, and author of a host of education and training materials.

  • Meg Handley

    Ph.D., Workforce Education, Penn State

    Dr. Meg Handley, associate director for Engineering Leadership Outreach at Penn State, teaches in the engineering leadership program. Previously, she served as the director of the Career and Corporate Connection's office at the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Dr. Handley’s dissertation focused on interpersonal behaviors and their impact on engineering leadership potential.

  • Dena Lang

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Kinesiology, Biomechanics, Penn State
    • Degree
      MBA, Johns Hopkins University
    • Degree
      B.S., Mechanical Engineering, West Virginia University

    Dr. Dena Lang is associate director of Engineering Leadership Research. Her professional experiences and research interests range from facilities design to research that applied engineering and molecular biology approaches to study the skeletal response to mechanical loading. Additional research interests have included the investigation of relationships among the indoor environment, occupants, and energy usage. Dr. Lang's current research interests focus on identifying, assessing, and developing key skills, knowledge, and attitudes required for engineers to effectively lead others.

  • Maria Spencer

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Workforce Education and Development, Clarion University
    • Degree
      MBA, Clarion University
    • Degree
      B.S., Psychology, Clarion University

    Dr. Maria Spencer is a business consultant with Penn State's Small Business Development Center, specializing in research and technology commercialization, strategic planning, human resource development, and export trade. She has worked with hundreds of entrepreneurs on business start-up, expansion, and new product development initiatives. Dr. Spencer's research focuses on facilitating change in organizations, with a specific focus on business models and the organizational impacts of continuous reconfiguration.

Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State graduate certificate?

Apply by December 1 to start January 8. How to Apply