Credits and costs
Why a Certificate in Public Sector Human Resources Management at Penn State?
The success of any organization is dependent on its ability to acquire and retain the right employees. The goal of the Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Human Resources Management is to prepare you for planning and coordinating a government's or not-for-profit organization's workforce and employee benefits in order to achieve long-term employment goals and plans. The 12-credit Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Human Resources Management, delivered through Penn State World Campus, allows professional practitioners who wish to advance their careers, or those who seek to make career changes, to complete the required course work in one year through the convenience of online courses.
Who Should Apply?
Penn State's Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Human Resources Management is designed for administrators and other professionals in government and not-for-profit organizations who need to acquire additional knowledge and skills in personnel/human resource management, labor relations, problem-solving, planning, and management of organizational change and development.
Information for Military and Veterans
Are you a member of the military, a veteran, or a military spouse? Please visit our military website for additional information regarding financial aid, transfer credits, or application instructions.
Online Education at Penn State
Penn State has a history of 100+ years of distance education and more than two decades of experience in online learning. We create an online learning environment that offers you the same quality education our residential students experience in a face-to-face setting. Learn more about Penn State World Campus.
The 12-credit Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Human Resources Management provides you with great flexibility to complete your course work at times and places most convenient for you, combined with a highly relevant, comprehensive curriculum taught by faculty with world-class expertise. You can obtain this online graduate certificate in one year.
The certificate program in public sector human resources management requires taking four online courses (12 credits), including two required and two elective courses.
Required Courses (6 credits)
Electives (select 6 credits)
With the approval by the certificate coordinator, students could also choose other HR-related Penn State graduate-level courses as elective courses for this certificate.
If you're ready to see when your courses will be offered, visit our public LionPATH course search (opens in new window) to start planning ahead.
Costs and Financial Aid
Graduate tuition is calculated based on the number of credits for which you register. Tuition is due shortly after each semester begins and rates are assessed every semester of enrollment.
|How many credits do you plan to take per semester?||Cost|
|11 or fewer||$1,007 per credit|
|12 or more||$12,082 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
- Summer Deadline: Apply now to start May 11
- Fall Deadline: Apply now to start August 21
- Spring Deadline: Apply now to start January 8, 2024
If you have questions about the admissions process, contact our admissions counselors.
For admission to the Graduate School, an applicant must hold either (1) a baccalaureate degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution or (2) a tertiary (postsecondary) degree that is deemed comparable to a four-year bachelor's degree from a regionally accredited U.S. institution. This degree must be from an officially recognized degree-granting institution in the country in which it operates.
Applicants who have graduate degrees in public administration or a related field, and who have taken graduate courses that duplicate the content of courses in the certificate program, may substitute other P ADM courses for those courses with the prior approval of the person in charge. Graduate transcripts, course syllabi, and course projects/term papers will be needed for this evaluation process. Some certificate courses may be used toward completion of the master's degrees in public administration and in health administration, but completion of a certificate neither implies nor guarantees acceptance into a graduate degree program at Penn State.
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 — Successful applicants typically have a 3.0 grade-point average in the last two years of undergraduate work.
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.
Transfer Credits and Course Substitutions
A student may be able to transfer up to 15 non-degree PADM credits toward their MPA degree. Students should read the Graduate School Policy GCAC-309 on Credit Transfer before putting in an application to the MPA program. Approval to transfer any credits toward the MPA degree must be granted by the student's academic adviser, the Professor-in-Charge, and the Graduate School.
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 "Public Sector Human Resources 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.
Review the technical requirements for this program.
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.
Ready to take the next step toward your Penn State graduate certificate?
Start or Advance Your Career
Start or Advance Your Career
You can use the knowledge gained from this program and the support of Penn State career resources to pursue careers in a variety of fields, depending on your goals.
To learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Human Resources Management, offered in partnership with the Penn State Harrisburg School of Public Affairs, please contact:
World Campus Admissions Counselors
Email: [email protected]
For certificate program information, please contact:
Penn State Harrisburg
School of Public Affairs
Email: [email protected]
Younhee KimDegreePh.D., Public Administration, Rutgers University-Newark
Dr. Younhee Kim is an associate professor of public administration in the School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg. Her research interests are in the broad areas of public and performance management, focusing on performance measurement, public entrepreneurship, information technology and e-governance, and citizen participation. Her recent work has appeared in numerous journals and edited books. Dr. Kim has taught various courses, such as Public Policy Analysis, Strategic Planning, Intergovernmental Relations, Public Information Technology, State Government, and Organizational Development.
Bing RanDegreePh.D., Management Sciences, University of Waterloo
Dr. Bing Ran is an associate professor in the School of Public Affairs at Penn State Harrisburg. His research interests focus on areas that include collaborative governance networks, social entrepreneurship and hybrid organizations, knowledge management and knowledge integration, and organizational identity and image. He teaches such courses as PADM 505, 510, 511, and 571, and he serves as professor-in-charge for the Graduate Certificate in Public Sector Human Resource Management.
DegreePh.D., Public Affairs, Florida International University
DegreeM.Sc., Management of Public Administrations and International Institutions, Bocconi University
Dr. Michele Tantardini is an assistant professor of public administration at Penn State Harrisburg, School of Public Affairs. He earned his doctorate focusing his studies and research on the relationship between performance information use and organizational social capital. His current research agenda focuses on three main topics: performance management, social capital, and public service motivation. His teaching interests are in performance management, organizational theory and behavior, and human resource management.