The Penn State Online MBA is an interdisciplinary, 48-credit degree built around the three-part ICE framework, a teaching and learning approach that incorporates the principles of Integration, Collaboration, and Engagement. ICE serves as the defining spirit of the Smeal-led Online MBA and shapes the overall design and implementation of its curriculum and your learning experience.

The program strives to unify business concepts across previously siloed business disciplines, allowing you to engage in problem solving from a comprehensive perspective. Every course will also include group projects to encourage peer interaction and to build a learning community among the students. These projects simulate real-world business environments, where individuals frequently work in teams to solve problems. 

The program includes 39 core credits and 9 credits of concentration course work. All courses are asynchronous, meaning you are not required to log in at a particular time each week. Optional synchronous discussions will be available for those students who prefer a higher level of engagement.

Course List - Master of Business Administration 

The core requirement courses are listed in the sequence in which it is recommended you take them for an optimum learning experience. However, the curriculum allows for flexibility for students who may need to modify this order, based on their unique situation.

Core MBA Curriculum (39 required credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Team Performance MBADM 810 An overview of concepts, applications, and research on group and team processes and performance in an organizational context. 3 credits
Financial Accounting MBADM 811 Accounting rules, practices, and applications that characterize the accounting presentations that for-profit organizations provide to the public. 3 credits
Leadership Communications and Change Management MBADM 814 Developing communication skills required for managers and leaders; creating effective individual and group presentations. 3 credits
Data Analysis for Decision Making MBADM 813 Applying statistical concepts to quantify uncertainty and gain insights from data in business settings. 3 credits
Marketing in a Global Environment MBADM 821 Examining strategic issues in global marketing, including opportunity analysis, planning, and implementation. 3 credits
Financial Management MBADM 820 Application of techniques available to aid managers in sound financial decision making. 3 credits
Managing Supply Chains in Global Markets MBADM 822 Analyzing and applying key concepts, tools, and strategies in managing supply chains in global markets. 3 credits
Economics for Business Strategy   MBADM 812 Introduction to microeconomic and macroeconomic environments of business, pricing determination, market structures, and formulation of competitive strategy. 3 credits
Managing and Leading People in Organizations   MBADM 816 Overview of human behavior in organizations, and implications for managing and leading individuals, teams, and organizations. 3 credits
Ethical and Responsible Business Leadership MBADM 815 Managing ethical conduct in organizations, including corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and stakeholder analysis. 3 credits
Global Strategic Management MBADM 571 Integrating multiple functional business areas to resolve global business problems and improve organizational performance. 3 credits
Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship MBADM 531 Understanding, exploring, and applying innovation-related concepts, principles, and practices to corporate environments involved with new venture creation and other contexts. 3 credits
Managing in the Digital Economy MBADM 830 How digital innovation, technology, and market disruption transforms industries, business practices, and market strategies. 3 credits

Note: MBADM 810 is offered as part of our five-day residency component required of all Online MBA students.

Concentration Curricula

Accounting FoundationsAdvanced AccountingBusiness AnalyticsBusiness ArchitectureBusiness Sustainability Strategy - Community and Economic DevelopmentCorporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship - Cybersecurity Intelligence Leadership - Engineering Leadership and Innovation ManagementFinanceGeneral Management - Health Care Business - Homeland SecurityHuman Resource ManagementManagement ConsultingMarketing AnalyticsNegotiation and InfluenceProject Management - Public AdministrationStrategic Leadership - Supply Chain Management

Many concentrations require program prerequisites from the above Core MBA Curriculum. Please consult with your adviser to determine the course sequence that is most appropriate for your plan of study.

Accounting Foundations (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Taxation ACCTG 812 Introduction to U.S. federal income tax, covering the basics of taxation of individuals, corporations, flow-through entities and property transactions. 3 credits
Auditing ACCTG 813 Principles of the risk-based approach to the audit of financial statements, with special focus on financial information systems. 3 credits
Managerial Accounting ACCTG 814 Examination of the internal organizational accounting procedures that establish accountability within organizations. 3 credits

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Advanced Accounting (Select 9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Auditing Theory and Practice ACCT 504 Auditing theory pertaining to the regulatory environment, risk assessment, internal controls, materiality, computerization, analytical procedures, sampling, fraud, ethics, and professional responsibilities. 3 credits
Business Tax Planning Theory and Practice ACCT 510 Tax theory pertaining to corporations, partnerships and conduit entities, estates, trusts, ethics, and professional tax responsibilities. 3 credits
Accounting Information and Decision Systems ACCT 532 The study of business processes, transactions cycles, and internal control structure with an emphasis on computerized accounting information systems. 3 credits
Strategic Cost Management ACCT 545 Current managerial accounting topics such as activity-based costing, theory of constraints, performance measures and their use in organizations. 3 credits
Professional Responsibilities and Ethics in Accounting ACCT 550 The study of ethical systems and ethical decision making and their application in Accounting. 3 credits
Financial Statement Analysis II ACCT 561 The exploration of conventional and advanced methods of analyzing financial statements, including earnings quality and financial distress assessment. 3 credits
Financial Reporting I ACCT 572 Accounting theory and practice for reporting consolidations, foreign currency transactions, and preparing financial statements for governmental and NGOs. 3 credits
Governmental and Nonprofit Accounting P ADM 523 Accounting, reporting, and auditing principles and procedures for public sector agencies and nonprofit organizations. 3 credits

Note: Students in the Advanced Accounting concentration are required to have either work experience or a Bachelor of Arts in Accounting.

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Business Analytics (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Business Strategies for Data Analytics BAN 530 Data analytics problem-solving strategies applied to a real-world business context. 3 credits
Predictive Analytics for Business BAN 840 Explores the use of predictive analytics tools and techniques throughout a wide range of business scenarios and problems; includes a subset of methods such as neural networks, machine learning, social media analytics, and more. 3 credits
Prescriptive Analytics for Business BAN 550 Development of methods for prescriptive analytics with a focus on business supply side decisions and risk mitigation. 3 credits

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Business Architecture (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Strategic Business Architecture BA 809 Provides a concentrated and comprehensive approach to the practice of business architecture; focuses on business motivations, business operations and business analysis frameworks, and related networks that link these aspects of the enterprise together. 3 credits
Enterprise Modeling EA 873

Explores the use and effectiveness of architectural modeling to describe an organization and examines model-based products as tools to support, influence, and enable organization planning and decision-making.

Prerequisite: BA 809

3 credits
Emerging Trends, Technology, and Corporate Innovation ENTR 810 Surveys emerging trends and disruptors in technology and industry that create new markets and influence decision making, product development, business models, and business practices associated with innovation. 3 credits

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Business Sustainability Strategy (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Sustainability Strategy Development MGMT 811 An overview of the economic, social and environmental drivers of the transformation to sustainable business models and practices; identification of best practices and frameworks for assessing organizational engagement with sustainability; development of a strategic sustainability plan. 3 credits
Strategy Implementation and Organizational Change MGMT 831

 This course addresses the managerial challenge of strategy implementation, particularly by examining the organizational elements that must be drawn into line to support a strategy, as well as the immense difficulties of changing an organization. Accordingly, the course relies on two overarching frameworks. The first is a model of organizational alignment; the second is a model for managing the change process.

3 credits
Sustainable Supply Chain Management SCM 813 Introduction to new business models and sustainable design principles for reinventing products and services to drive business value while reducing environmental and social impact, sourcing raw materials and working effectively with suppliers to safeguard labor and human rights, protect and restore natural resources, while reducing total cost and risk. Special focus on circular economy strategies and closed loop supply chains. 3 credits

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Community and Economic Development (Select 9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits

Community & Economic Development: Theory and Practice

CEDEV 500 Understanding theories, concepts, and frameworks of community and economic development and community decision-making models in application to community development practice and issues. 3 credits
Population, Land Use and Municipal Finance CEDEV 509

Understanding the interaction of population characteristics, land use, municipal funds, and taxation in a locality and how they impact the operation and management of government jurisdictions.

3 credits
Principles and Practice of Planning CEDEV 550 This course is an overview of the field of planning. It examines the history of planning and the theories behind it, and the corresponding roles that planners can play in their communities. It establishes the legal framework for planning as a profession, and examines landmark legal cases involving planning and its tools. 3 credits

Methods and Techniques for Community and Economic Development

CEDEV 575 Understanding and applying methods and hands-on experience with techniques used in community and economic development. 3 credits

Resilient Communities and Environments

CEDEV 567

Understanding connections between communities and surrounding ecosystems; exploration of management techniques for building adaptive, resilient, and sustainable communities and environments.

Prerequisites: please contact the CEDEV program manager and academic adviser at [email protected].

3 credits

Entrepreneurship in the Community

CEDEV 597A

Entrepreneurship in the Community, empirically and conceptually examines the relationship between entrepreneurs, small businesses, and local economic development. The course examines the multiple definitions of "entrepreneurship," and how these individuals affect — and are affected by — the social and economic dynamics of their community. The course develops a rich understanding of the entrepreneurship process from a community-based view rather than a traditional firm-based view, illustrating the many ways that entrepreneurs and their local society interact. The course begins by examining the role of the firm in society, and the ways that local life enhances and contains opportunity and opportunistic action. Students will also learn ways to measure small business dynamics locally, and develop an understanding of how different community development approaches may affect different types of entrepreneurship.

Prerequisites: CEDEV 430

3 credits

Theories, Principles and Institutions of International Development

CEDEV 597E Provides a strong foundation in theories and concepts of international development that inform practice. Addresses issues of how economic growth and disparity are spatially distributed, differentiated, and what causes these patterns to occur. 3 credits

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Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Business Modeling and New Venture Creation ENTR 502 An overview of considerations related to launching a startup or new venture within an existing organization, including competitors, best practices, project management, business models, team formation, financing, leadership, and exit plans. 3 credits
Emerging Trends, Technology, and Corporate Innovation ENTR 810 Exploration of emerging trends and disruptors in technology and industry that create new markets and influence decision making, product development, business models, and business practices associated with innovation. 3 credits
Corporate Innovation Strategies and Entrepreneurial Methods ENTR 820 Exploration of the formal methodologies, techniques, and domains associated with innovation and entrepreneurship, and how to apply them. 3 credits

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Cybersecurity Intelligence Leadership (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Topics in Visual Analytics for Security Intelligence IST 868

Introduce visual analytic techniques for security informatics and intelligence. Survey technical approaches for data analysis, threats and vulnerability, communicating risk.

Prerequisite: IST 816 or IST 554

3 credits
Web Fundamentals IST 816 Practical treatment of fundamental web techniques. 3 credits

Information Security Management

IST 456 Contemporary security issues; security management processes, architecture and models; risk analysis and management; security planning, analysis and safeguards; security policies development and administration; contingency planning, incidence handling and response; and security standards and certification processes 3 credits

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Engineering Leadership and Innovation Management (Select 9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Project Management for Professionals ENGR 405 Covers the essential concepts and skills needed to make effective contributions on projects, on time and within budget. 3 credits

Engineering Across Cultures and Nations

ENGR 802 Explores cultural differences and impact on business practices and team dynamics working on virtual project teams with global partner universities. 3 credits

Engineering Product Innovation

ENGR 804 Develop competencies for leading new product/process development or participating in corporate spin-outs using entrepreneurial skills within a corporation. 3 credits

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Finance (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Analysis of Financial Markets FIN 808 Analysis of factors affecting price determination in financial markets. 3 credits
Multinational Managerial Finance FIN 805 Analysis of the international aspects of managerial finance. Emphasis on the environmental and institutional factors influencing capital acquisition and allocation. 3 credits
Portfolio Management BADM 834 Rigorous examination and analysis of asset-holder behavior under conditions of risk and uncertainty. 3 credits

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General Management (Choose 9 credits)
Course information
Students pursuing the General Management concentration may select from a list of more than 20 online courses in consultation with their academic adviser. For an updated list of courses, please contact [email protected].

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Health Care Business (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Introduction to Health Services Organizations and Delivery HPA 520 Introduction to health systems, health services organization, and health care delivery focused on trends, problems, and issues. 3 credits

Introduction to Health Economic

HPA 545 Survey of the application of economics to the roles of markets and government in health care 3 credits
Financial Management in Health Institutions HPA 835 The financial environment of health institutions; financial aspects of management decision making; emphasis on revenue sources, budgeting, and cost control. 3 credits

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Homeland Security (Select 9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits

Foundations to Homeland Security

HLS 811

Fundamentals of Homeland Security provides foundational knowledge about homeland security policy, strategy, organization, and legal issues in the U.S. context.

3 credits
Homeland Security and Defense in Practice HLS 404 This course analyzes, evaluates, and critiques homeland security plans in practice. 3 credits

Multifaceted Approaches to Homeland Security

HLS 802 Examination of the roles of the public and private sectors and the military in preparing, mitigating, and responding to disasters. 3 credits

Strategic Planning and Organizational Imperatives in Homeland Defense and Security

HLS 804 The homeland security framework depends on strategic planning and organization. This course examines the key issues associated with these. 3 credits

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Human Resource Management (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Diversity Leadership LEAD 556 Analysis and application of models, theories, and strategies for managing an increasingly diverse workforce and customer base. 3 credits
Positive Organizational Behavior and Wellbeing MGMT 507 Exploration of positive organizational behavior and wellbeing concepts for developing the "human sustainability" factor in organizations. 3 credits
Human Resource Management MGMT 541 An in-depth examination of the strategic planning and implementation of human resource management, including staffing, development, appraisal, and rewards. 3 credits

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Management Consulting (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Business Transformation Consulting MGMT 880* Provides an understanding of key issues, concepts, and methodologies associated with business transformation and management consulting; Helps students identify and define organization problems, highlight pain points, map work flows, explore business models, investigate strategic alignment, develop recommendations, present business cases, and deliver prototype solutions. 3 credits
Management Consulting Methods and Practice MGMT 885* Explores the methods and tools commonly used in the practice of management consulting and is intended for students interested in working in this field or working in organizations that hire management consultants. 3 credits
Choose from a pre-determined list maintained by the program TBD

Please contact the program for course options at [email protected].

3 credits

*These courses will be offered on an 8-week schedule in the back half of the semester in which they are offered.

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Marketing Analytics (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Evaluating Marketing Communications in the Digital World MKTG 812 Analytical techniques and programs used to evaluate digital marketing communication messages, channels, and campaigns. 3 credits
Data-Driven Customer Acquisition and Retention MKTG 813 Examination of data analytics to strategically drive targeting, acquiring, developing relationships with, and retaining customers. 3 credits
Analytics for Brand Management and Customer Experience MKTG 814 Use of marketing data and analytics to drive brand, product, and customer experience performance. 3 credits

Note: If you wish to apply Marketing Analytics certificate credits to the Online MBA, please be advised that 3 out of the 4 courses in the certificate will transfer as concentration electives (MKTG 812, 813, and 814). MTKG 811 will not transfer if you start the certificate and then apply to the Online MBA. Students starting with the Online MBA will have MKTG 811 waived. For additional questions, please contact [email protected].

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Negotiation and Influence (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Negotiation Theory and Skills BA 805 Delivers an overview of the difference between traditional (distributive) bargaining and interest-based (or integrative) negotiations; learn to identify their own and others' interests, to create and claim value, and to craft constructive agreements for all parties. 3 credits
Complex Negotiations MGMT 821

Introduces the theory and practice of negotiation in a variety of settings, with specific emphasis on multiparty context; the course will allow students to develop these skills experientially and to understand negotiation in useful analytical frameworks.

Prerequisites: BA 805

3 credits
Power and Influence MGMT 565

Aims to provide students with a toolkit that will allow them to diagnose individual and organizational source of power and influence, as well as array of tactics by which power and influence are wielded.

3 credits

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Project Management (Select 9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Project Management MANGT 510 A problem-based, interdisciplinary course in project management skills and techniques needed to manage projects in a modern business environment. 3 credits
Cost and Value Management MANGT 515 A problem-based course that emphasizes project cost control and teaches students to apply techniques to control projects in business. 3 credits
Planning and Resource Management MANGT 520 A problem-based course that addresses techniques for planning the project development process, including securing resources and resource management. 3 credits
Commercial Law and Project Procurement MANGT 525 A problem-based course that addresses elements of commercial law and procurement practices and their implications for project management. 3 credits

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Public Administration (Select 9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Public Organization and Management PADM 500

Development of basic concepts and issues in public administration; administrative theory and public policy processes.

3 credits
Government Fiscal Decision Making PADM 502

Nature, function, and technique of governmental budgeting viewed as mechanism for allocating resources among alternative public uses.

Prerequisite: P ADM 500

3 credits

Introduction to Public Policy Analysis

PADM 507 Introduction to the analysis of public policy within its organizational and political contexts, including an emphasis on an economic perspective. 3 credits

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Strategic Leadership (9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Strategic Leadership BA 865 Presents a senior executive perspective on the key opportunities and challenges faced by business leaders; includes discussions on the changing context for setting strategy and leading organizations in an evolving business environment. 3 credits
Strategic Leading and Identity BA 888 Emphasizes identity issues that are critical to understanding individual and collective processes in organizational life. 3 credits
Strategy Implementation and Organizational Change MGMT 831 This course addresses the managerial challenge of strategy implementation, particularly by examining the organizational elements that must be drawn into line to support a strategy, as well as the immense difficulties of changing an organization. Accordingly, the course relies on two overarching frameworks. The first is a model of organizational alignment; the second is a model for managing the change process. 3 credits

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Supply Chain Management (Select 9 credits)
Title Abbreviation Description Credits
Demand Fulfillment SCM 812 This course covers the forecasting and inventory management activities involved in the fulfillment of demand for finished goods.

Prerequisite: SCM 801
2 credits
Supply Management SCM 822 An overview of the strategic role that supply management has in effective supply, demand, and value chain operations. 2 credits
Manufacturing and Service Operations Planning SCM 842 Planning strategies for managing manufacturing and service operations within supply chains. 2 credits
Business Strategies for Data Analytics BAN 530 Data analytics problem-solving strategies applied to a real-world business context. 3 credits

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Optional Global Immersion Experience

This experience is designed to enhance your ability to communicate cross-culturally, adapt to evolving business environments, and manage all of the risks and benefits of operating on a global scale. The immersion may include visits to corporate headquarters and manufacturing facilities as well as meetings with executives and government officials to learn about international business from those experiencing it firsthand in the country.

The Global Immersion trip and corresponding course(s) will be offered each spring, beginning with spring 2020. Please note that course work is required both before and after the trip. Online MBA students may pursue the Global Immersion experience/courses in 2 ways:

  • Take BA 836 for 1 credit in a spring semester. The 1-credit course will include the trip and associated pre/post-work. This is an ideal option for students who want to pursue 9 credits of a concentration other than General Management, but also want the opportunity to have a global experience, OR
  • Take BA 836 for 1 credit AND BA 835 for 2 credits in a spring semester. Together, the 3 credits will make up more extensive course work than just the 1 credit alone and will include the trip. These two courses together can count as one of the three, 3-credit courses used to make up the General Management concentration (OR they can be taken over and above the 48 credits required to graduate).

We aim to have enough students across programs to allow students to choose from 3-4 locations each spring. Past trips for the full-time and executive students have included Johannesburg, South Africa; Shanghai, China; Prague, Czech Republic and Santiago, Chile. The trip choices will be made by the program faculty directors based on global business climate and corporate and alumni relationships that will allow for the most fruitful experience. Please contact the program office for more details, including fee structure, upcoming dates, and location.

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.