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Master of
Business Administration

Courses

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.

Core MBA Courses (39 credits)

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.

  • 3
    credits

    An overview of concepts, applications, and research on group and team processes and performance in an organizational context.

    • Note

      This course is offered as part of our three-day residency component required of all Online MBA students.

  • 3
    credits

    Accounting rules, practices, and applications that characterize the accounting presentations that for-profit organizations provide to the public.

  • 3
    credits

    Developing communication skills required for managers and leaders; creating effective individual and group presentations.

  • 3
    credits

    Applying statistical concepts to quantify uncertainty and gain insights from data in business settings.

  • 3
    credits

    Examining strategic issues in marketing, including analysis, planning, and implementation.

  • 3
    credits

    Application of techniques available to aid managers in sound financial decision making.

  • 3
    credits

    Analyzing and applying key concepts, tools, and strategies in managing supply chains in global markets.

  • 3
    credits

    Introduction to microeconomic and macroeconomic environments of business, pricing determination, market structures, and formulation of competitive strategy.

  • 3
    credits

    Overview of human behavior in organizations, and implications for managing and leading individuals, teams, and organizations.

  • 3
    credits

    Managing ethical conduct in organizations, including corporate social responsibility, sustainability, and stakeholder analysis.

  • 3
    credits

    Integrating multiple functional business areas to resolve global business problems and improve organizational performance.

  • 3
    credits

    Understanding, exploring, and applying innovation-related concepts, principles, and practices to corporate environments involved with new venture creation and other contexts.

  • 3
    credits

    How digital innovation, technology, and market disruption transforms industries, business practices, and market strategies.

Accounting Foundations (9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Introduction to U.S. federal income tax, covering the basics of taxation of individuals, corporations, flow-through entities, and property transactions.

  • 3
    credits

    Principles of the risk-based approach to the audit of financial statements, with special focus on financial information systems.

  • 3
    credits

    Examination of the internal organizational accounting procedures that establish accountability within organizations.

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Additive Manufacturing and Design (9 credits)

  • 2
    credits

    This course explores the legal rules related to the ownership, enforcement and management of information related to additive manufacturing.

  • 4
    credits

    Comprehensive study of the fundamentals, process characteristics, economics, and practical applications of various additive manufacturing processes.

  • 4
    credits

    Focuses on the state of the art in understanding processing, structure, and property relationships in materials fabricated using additive manufacturing.

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Advanced Accounting (select 9 credits)

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

  • 3
    credits

    Auditing theory pertaining to the regulatory environment, risk assessment, internal controls, materiality, computerization, analytical procedures, sampling, fraud, ethics, and professional responsibilities.

  • 3
    credits

    Tax theory pertaining to corporations, partnerships and conduit entities, estates, trusts, ethics, and professional tax responsibilities.

  • 3
    credits

    The study of business processes, transactions cycles, and internal control structure with an emphasis on computerized accounting information systems.

  • 3
    credits

    Current managerial accounting topics such as activity-based costing, theory of constraints, and performance measures and their use in organizations.

  • 3
    credits

    The study of ethical systems and ethical decision-making and their application in accounting.

  • 3
    credits

    The exploration of conventional and advanced methods of analyzing financial statements, including earnings quality and financial distress assessment.

  • 3
    credits

    Accounting theory and practice for reporting consolidations, foreign currency transactions, and preparing financial statements for governmental and NGOs.

  • 3
    credits

    Accounting, reporting, and auditing principles and procedures for public sector agencies and nonprofit organizations.

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Business Analytics (9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Development of methods for prescriptive analytics with a focus on business supply side decisions and risk mitigation.

  • 3
    credits

    Explores the use of descriptive analytics concepts, tools, and techniques throughout a wide range of business scenarios and problems.

  • 3
    credits

    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.

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Business Architecture (9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Focuses on the development and application of business architecture as a holistic discipline that produces a common understanding of the organization that is used to align strategic objectives and tactical initiatives.

  • 3
    credits

    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

    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.

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Business Sustainability Strategy (9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    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

    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. Relies on two overarching frameworks: a model of organizational alignment and a model for managing the change process.

  • 3
    credits

    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 and protect and restore natural resources, and managing total cost and risk. Special focus on circular economy strategies and closed loop supply chains.

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Community and Economic Development (select 9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    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

    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

    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

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

  • 3
    credits

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

    • Prerequisite

      Please contact the CEDEV program manager and academic adviser at [email protected].

  • 3
    credits

    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

    • Prerequisite

      CEDEV 430

  • 3
    credits

    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.

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Corporate Innovation and Entrepreneurship (9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Focuses on the process of launching a new venture, in a corporate setting or as a new start-up, including identifying a problem or market opportunity, developing business models, forming a team, financing, analyzing markets, assessing the competitive environment, and planning to acquire leadership talent.

  • 3
    credits

    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

    Explores the methods used to foster innovation and entrepreneurship in a corporate setting, with a special emphasis on how organizations foster creativity, innovation, and new venture creation.

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Cybersecurity Intelligence Leadership (9 credits)

To take this concentration, students must have undergraduate course work in networking, cybersecurity, or programming, plus a course in statistics.

  • 3
    credits

    Legal environment of information technology, constitutional/political issues, intellectual property, management, e-commerce, privacy, access, computer contracting, cyberspace regulation.

    • Prerequisite

      IST 301 or SRA 231

  • 3
    credits

    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

    This course provides an overview of techniques to assess and ensure the security of web applications and services that drive modern e-commerce transactions.

  • 3
    credits

    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

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Engineering Leadership and Innovation Management (9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

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

  • 3
    credits

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

  • 3
    credits

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

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Finance (9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    The course is designed to expand the student's knowledge of the broad field of financial and investment analysis.

  • 3
    credits

    Analysis of the international aspects of managerial finance. Emphasis on the environmental and institutional factors influencing capital acquisition and allocation.

  • 3
    credits

    Analysis of factors affecting price determination in financial markets.

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Financial Engineering (9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Introduces the student to the major derivative securities that are the tools in the management of financial risk: futures, forwards, swaps, and options. The course will expose students to potential critiques of traditional financial theory based on recent empirical results, including the global financial crisis of 2007­–2009.

  • 3
    credits

    Aims to develop the basic econometric estimation and hypothesis testing tools necessary to analyze and interpret the empirical relevance of financial and other economic data; focuses on the theoretical foundations of econometric analysis and strategies for applying these basic econometric methods in empirical finance research.

  • 3
    credits

    Focuses primarily on developing spreadsheet applications and using the case method to apply decision-making procedures to real-world problems in finance areas; exposes students to topics such as financial ratio analysis, financial forecast, regression analysis, portfolio management, asset valuation, risk management, and more.

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General Management (select 9 credits)

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)

Students in the Health Care Business Concentration must have an undergraduate degree in health administration or health management program and/or experience working full-time in health care for at least three years. Admission to the online MBA program is not a guarantee of approval to enter the Health Care Business concentration.

  • 3
    credits

    Introduction to health systems, health services organization, and health care delivery focused on trends, problems, and issues.

  • 3
    credits

    Survey of the application of economics to the roles of markets and government in health care.

  • 3
    credits

    The financial environment of health institutions; financial aspects of management decision-making; emphasis on revenue sources, budgeting, and cost control.

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Homeland Security (select 9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

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

  • 3
    credits

    This course analyzes, evaluates, and critiques homeland security plans in practice.

  • 3
    credits

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

  • 3
    credits

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

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International Affairs (select 9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Address the central tenets of diplomacy and international relations and theories and concepts that underpin the study of international relations.

  • 3
    credits

    Examine how governments gather intelligence, how intelligence is analyzed, and what impact it has on policymakers.

  • 3
    credits

    Explore how nuclear weapons revolutionized thinking about war and peace among major powers and how they can become a primary focus of international diplomacy.

  • 3
    credits

    Continuing seminars that consist of series of individual lectures by faculty, students, or outside speakers. Introduces students to quantitative methods applicable to various issue areas, including international relations, economics, business, law, education, health, and environment.

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Management Consulting (9 credits)

Three credits will be selected from a pre-determined list maintained by the program. Please contact the program for course options at [email protected].

  • 3
    credits

    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 workflows, explore business models, investigate strategic alignment, develop recommendations, present business cases, and deliver prototype solutions.

  • 3
    credits

    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.

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Negotiation and Influence (9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    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

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

  • 3
    credits

    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.

    • Prerequisite

      BA 805

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Marketing Analytics (9 credits)

If you wish to apply credits earned in the Graduate Certificate in Marketing Analytics 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].

  • 3
    credits

    Introduction to data analytics for evaluating digital marketing communication, including assessment of mobile, website, and online shopper experiences; evaluation of digital campaigns, social media monitoring, and media mix modeling.

  • 3
    credits

    Examination of data analytics to strategically drive targeting, acquiring, developing relationships with, and retaining customers.

  • 3
    credits

    Use of marketing data and analytics to drive brand, product, and customer experience performance.

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Project Management (select 9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    A problem-based, interdisciplinary course in project management skills and techniques needed to manage projects in a modern business environment.

  • 3
    credits

    A problem-based course that emphasizes project cost control and teaches students to apply techniques to control projects in business.

  • 3
    credits

    A problem-based course that addresses techniques for planning the project development process, including securing resources and resource management.

  • 3
    credits

    A problem-based course that addresses elements of commercial law and procurement practices and their implications for project management.

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Public Administration (9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

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

  • 3
    credits

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

    • Prerequisite

      PADM 500

  • 3
    credits

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

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Real Estate Law and Valuation (select 9 credits)

  • 1
    credit

    Provides an overview of real estate evaluation and risk analysis, property rights and regulations, and financial real estate evaluation.

  • 2
    credits

    Covers principles, strategies, and techniques of negotiation with multiple parties involved in commercial real estate transactions, along with how to create financially viable agreements.

  • 3
    credits

    Explores economic theories of valuation applied to real estate as a guide to business decisions. Also covers understanding of real estate value, how to measure it, and its application to the real estate marketplace.

  • 3
    credits

    Analyzes contemporary law applicable to various types of ownership interests and rights, methods of transferring ownership, and use of real property. 

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Strategic Leadership (9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    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

    Emphasizes identity issues that are critical to understanding individual and collective processes in organizational life.

  • 3
    credits

    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. Relies on two overarching frameworks: a model of organizational alignment and a model for managing the change process.

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Supply Chain Management (9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Performance metrics used in supply chain management, both within the enterprise and across the extended enterprise.

    • Prerequisite or concurrent

      SCM 800

  • 3
    credits

    Selecting, evaluating, and determining the nature of relationships with suppliers from the buyer's perspective within the context of industry and market knowledge. Additionally, understanding ethical conduct in business organizations.

    • Prerequisite

      SCM 800

  • 3
    credits

    Best principles and practices for production management as well as tools and models for demand forecasting and inventory management, particularly as it relates to the fulfillment of demand for finished goods.

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Supply Chain Risk Management (9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Studies foundations of cybersecurity and the threats it aims to prevent.

  • 3
    credits

    This course examines the fundamental elements of crisis, disaster, risk, and emergency management.

    IST 803 should be taken prior to IST 564.

  • 3
    credits

    Explores how to identify, assess, and implement strategies and tactics for managing supply chain risk by building and maintaining resiliency in the supply chain.

    • Prerequisite

      SCM 800

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Talent Diversity Leadership (select 9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Provides students with a conceptual understanding of careers/career design making through an examination/discussion of the literature in career management.

    • Prerequisite

      MGMT 501

  • 3
    credits

    Analysis and application of models, theories, and strategies for managing an increasingly diverse workforce and customer base.

  • 3
    credits

    Exploration of positive organizational behavior and wellbeing concepts for developing the "human sustainability" factor in organizations.

  • 3
    credits

    The primary purpose of this course is to provide students with an overview of current theory and practice in organizational change and development.

  • 3
    credits

    Investigate how managers might identify, engage in, and evaluate effective human resources practices; roles and practices of the HR professional will be examined.

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Taxation (select 9 credits)

  • 3
    credits

    Introduction to U.S. federal income tax, covering the basics of taxation of individuals, corporations, flow-through entities, and property transactions.

  • 3
    credits

    Focuses on the tax law treatment of corporate formations, operations, distributions, mergers, and acquisitions, as well as accounting for income taxes.

  • 3
    credits

    Provides a survey of the law defining the taxation of pass-through entities including partnerships, S-corporations, limited liability companies, and trusts.

  • 1.5
    credits

    Explores the U.S. federal income tax system as applicable to international taxation and its effects on individual and organizational decision-making; students gain the knowledge to evaluate legal jurisdiction, residency, and income sourcing, along with planning to optimize transfer pricing and income deferral.

  • 1.5
    credits

    Provides students with an understanding of state and local taxation, including personal and corporate income tax, sales and use tax, and legal limitations to taxation.

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Optional Global Immersion Experience

This learning experience is designed to enhance your ability to communicate cross-culturally, adapt to evolving business environments, and manage some of the key risks and benefits of operating on a global scale. The Global Immersion trip 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 you are visiting.

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

  • Option 1: Take BA 836 for 1 credit during spring semester. The 1-credit course will include the trip and associated pre/post-work. BA 836 would be an additional credit on top of the 30 required to graduate.
  • Option 2: Take BA 836 for 1 credit AND BA 835 for 2 credits during spring semester. Together, the 3 credits will involve more extensive course work in this subject area and will include the trip. The 3 combined credits for BA 835 and 836 may replace one 3-credit program elective course with approval. Please contact the program office with any questions.

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 locations. Please note that students pay course tuition as well as an additional trip fee to participate in the Global Immersion experience.

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.

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