ODC Essentials Group

Graduate Certificate in
Organization Development and Change Essentials

Program summary

Learn to lead change initiatives and evaluate group dynamics to facilitate positive organizational change. This program can help you build a strong foundation in organization development and change, and the credits earned in the certificate may be applied toward the MPS in OD&C.

Application deadline

Apply by November 15 to start January 8

Credits and costs

12 Credits $1,017 per credit

Learn How to Successfully Implement Change in Organizations

Penn State's OD&C Essentials graduate certificate program can prepare you to work with corporations, government agencies, and nonprofit organizations, in roles including change management, strategic consulting, talent management, workforce development, performance improvement, and training.

The Penn State Difference

You'll study with faculty from Penn State's Department of Workforce Education and Development (WF ED), which has been internationally recognized for offering high-quality degree programs through the College of Education since 1993. The WF ED faculty has extensive experience teaching in online educational environments and a wealth of real-world work experience.

OD&C Essentials Curriculum

In this 12-credit program, you can build a strong knowledge base of organization development and change, appreciative inquiry, and process consultation. You'll focus on leading small- and large-group change initiatives and how to evaluate group dynamics to facilitate positive organizational change.

Increase Your Potential for Advancement with OD&C Essentials Certificate 

If you're working in a field related to organization change and workforce development, this certificate can help you expand your understanding of organization development, allowing you to advance your career. The program is also appropriate if you are relatively new to the field of organization development and are looking to develop the expertise needed to initiate meaningful, positive changes in an organization.


This program is designed as a stand-alone certificate, or it can serve as a step-up program into the Master of Professional Studies in Organization Development and Change. If you apply and are accepted into the master's degree program, the 12 credits you earn in the certificate may be applied toward the master's degree.

Required Course (3 credits)

  • 3

    Development of major concepts, skills, and techniques required by workplace learning professionals to support and facilitate organization change.

Elective Courses (select 9 credits)

  • 3

    This course provides a foundation in process consultation. Process refers to how groups interact and how people get along.

  • 3

    Reviews standard approaches and then examines the processes associated with planning, developing, and implementing training and development programs in the whole organization.

  • 3

    This course provides students with necessary skills to facilitate small groups and teams.

  • 3

    This course provides a foundation in the theories, principles, and techniques of Appreciative Inquiry (AI).

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

Your degree application, including receipt of all transcripts, should be received by the following deadlines to be considered complete:

  • Spring DeadlineApply by November 15 to start January 8
  • Summer DeadlineApply by April 15 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.

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 — postsecondary (undergraduate), junior/senior (last two years) GPA is required.

GRE or GMAT 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.

Program-Specific Questions/Materials

Résumé — Upload your résumé to the online application.

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: "Degree Admission" or "Certificate Admission" 'Degree' or 'Certificate' varies based on program
  • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus
  • Choose "Organization Development and Change Essentials" 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 November 15 to start January 8. How to Apply

Start or Advance Your Career

A group of business professionals collaborating and laughing in a meeting

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 Program Related to This Certificate

All of the credits earned for this certificate can be applied to the following Penn State World Campus degree program:

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  

Contact Us

To learn more about the OD&C Essentials Graduate Certificate, offered in partnership with Penn State's Department of Workforce Education and Development in the College of Education, please contact:

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

Darlene Glab
OD&C Program Office
The Pennsylvania State University
303 Keller Building
University Park PA 16802
Phone: 814-863-9768
[email protected]


  • Catherine Baumgardner

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Workforce Education and Development, Penn State
    • Degree
      MHA, Finance, Planning, Marketing, Ohio State University
    • Degree
      B.S., Business Administration, HR and Production Management, Ohio State University

    Dr. Catherine Baumgardner is a faculty member in Penn State’s School of Public Policy as well as the Workforce Education and Development program. She is also president of Catherine Baumgardner & Associates, Inc., a consulting practice specializing in leadership and organization development. An experienced health care executive, she has more than 30 years of operational and consulting experience. Dr. Baumgardner has worked with inpatient and outpatient hospital environments as well as physician practice management and long-term care. Her research interests include organization development, leadership development, and workforce engagement.

  • Eric J. Bergstrom

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Workforce Education and Development, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.Ed., Training and Development, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.S., Human Resources Management, Penn State

    Dr. Eric J. Bergstrom has taught undergraduate credit and noncredit business management courses as well as graduate training and development and organizational development courses. He has facilitated leadership development programs for organizations across a variety of industries focused on strategic planning processes, continuous improvement processes, human resource development, and organization development. His practical and research interests include individual career development, leadership competency modeling and development, human resource development, and organizational process improvement.

  • Maureen Dodson

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Workforce Education, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.A., Professional Writing, Carnegie Mellon University
    • Degree
      B.A., English, Seton Hill University

    Dr. Maureen Dodson has taught numerous undergraduate and graduate courses at Penn State for more than 20 years. She teaches WFED 880: Facilitating Groups and Teams for Penn State World Campus. Dr. Dodson has spent her career helping organizations advance leadership skills, improve interpersonal communications, and create high-performing teams. Her expertise lies in DiSC®, Emotional Intelligence (EQ), the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI®), team performance, and coaching. She is certified in a variety of 360 Instruments.

  • Shubha G. Kashyap

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Workforce Education and Development, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.A., Student Affairs Administration, Michigan State University
    • Degree
      B.S., Psychology, Michigan State University

    Dr. Shubha G. Kashyap is a higher education and organization development professional with extensive experience in change management, business coaching, strategic planning, appreciative inquiry, process consultation, and facilitation. She is the director of online learning design & innovation for the College of Engineering at the University of Michigan. Having worked at multiple universities, Dr. Kashyap’s drive for increasing access to education is eminent throughout her career. She has successfully launched several online degree programs designed for adult learners, specializes in program development for diverse learners, manages small- and large-scale strategic education initiatives, and is an advocate for first-generation college students and inclusive education practices. Her research interests are in the areas of coaching, managing institutional change, and examining facilitating and inhibiting factors for change management.

  • John M. Kenny

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Workforce Education and Development, Penn State
    • Degree
      MBA, Bryant University
    • Degree
      B.S., Physical Oceanography, U.S. Naval Academy

    Dr. John M. Kenny is an experienced researcher. He was an Executive Fellow at the Brookings Institute in Washington, D.C., and a Research Fellow for the Office of Naval Research. He was also a senior research engineer at Penn State's Applied Research Laboratory. As a Penn State adjunct professor, he teaches Process Consultation. Dr. Kenny is a professor at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and teaches Theater Security Decision-Making.

  • Michele Newhard

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Workforce Education and Development, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.S., Workforce Education and Development, Penn State
    • Degree
      M.A., Ancient Greek History, Penn State
    • Degree
      B.A., Classics, Penn State

    Dr. Michele Newhard's teaching and research interests include appreciative inquiry, positive psychology and positive emotions, strengths philosophy, systems thinking, intergenerational communication, coaching, and team-building. She has developed and taught graduate courses in the basics of appreciative inquiry, appreciative inquiry coaching, and appreciative leadership. Dr. Newhard has published work on appreciative inquiry, succession planning, work-family balance, and job burnout. She is also a certified life and mentor coach, as well as a Gallup-Certified Strengths Coach.

  • William Rothwell

    • Degree
      Ph.D., Education, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    • Degree
      M.A.B.A., Business, Sangamon State University, Springfield, IL (now the University of Illinois at Springfield)
    • Degree
      M.A., English, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign
    • Degree
      B.A., English, Illinois State University, Bloomington

    Dr. William J. Rothwell, SPHR, SHRM-SCP, CPLP Fellow, is professor of workplace learning and performance in the Workforce Education and Development Program, part of the Department of Learning and Performance Systems, on the Penn State University Park campus. As one of the founders of the MPS in ODC program, he had many years of experience in OD before becoming a faculty member in 1993. His research interests center around organization development, talent management, and succession planning. He is the author of 110 books and more than 200 articles.

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

Apply by November 15 to start January 8. How to Apply