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Graduate Certificate inTaxation

Program summary

Jump-start your career as a tax accountant or specialist with the Graduate Certificate in Taxation. This online certificate increases your depth of knowledge in tax policy and procedure and serves as a springboard to an advanced degree. Our tax courses can also help you prepare for the CPA exam.

100% Online

Complete your Penn State course work at your own pace and 100% online.

Application deadline

Apply by April 15 to start May 13

Credits and costs

9 Credits$1,132 per credit

No GRE/GMAT

GRE and GMAT test scores are NOT required.

Gain Skills to Become a Tax Professional

  • Gain an understanding of how taxation impacts economic decision-making.

  • Learn how U.S. federal income tax law is applied to corporations and how the effect of income taxes is reported in financial statements.

  • Appreciate how federal tax law is applicable to pass-through entities (PTEs).

  • Effectively research tax issues and explore unique approaches to strategic tax planning.

  • Develop effective strategies for organizational performance and success.

  • Understand the ethical and societal implications of tax decisions.

Your Online Taxation Graduate Certificate Courses

Penn State's 9-credit online Graduate Certificate in Taxation program provides you with a working understanding of tax laws and regulations. Topics cover the foundational elements of taxation, tax research and analysis, corporate taxation and international taxation, and ethical responsibility.

Required Courses (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.

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.

Start or Advance Your Career

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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

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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 

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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Learn more about this program

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

Apply by April 15 to start May 13. How to Apply 

Costs and Financial Aid

Learn about this program's tuition, fees, scholarship opportunities, grants, payment options, and military benefits.

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$1,132 per credit
12 or more$13,587 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$1,143 per credit
12 or more$13,723 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.

Penn State Smeal Advantage

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Smeal College of Business is committed to being your partner in lifelong learning. Smeal offers programs, support, and resources for every career stage and life circumstance that will prepare you not only for your next great opportunity but also for the one after that.

More options, greater flexibility, and a commitment to lifelong learning

The desire for knowledge and professional growth spans a lifetime. That is why the Penn State Smeal College of Business offers a portfolio of professional graduate programs for all stages of your career. In partnership with Penn State World Campus, Smeal makes it easy to customize a learning plan to your unique career aspirations and busy schedule. Penn State Smeal offers you a lifetime of learning with more concentrations and one of the most integrated, flexible offerings of online and residential programs in the United States.

Penn State Business building

An entire team dedicated to your success

Personal advising — Our experts will explain the many options that Penn State Smeal offers and will help you refine your career strategy and craft the educational experience best suited to your interests. It all starts with a simple, but critical question: “What are your goals?” 

Career coaching* — Our Alumni Career Services team will support you across all career stages with professional advancement opportunities and coaching to help you stay focused on achieving your goals.

Delivering the best of online and in-person learning for a rich educational experience

We understand that today’s professional learners want meaningful discussion and interaction with faculty and classmates along with the technologies and flexible approaches of contemporary online learning. By aligning the best of both worlds, we bring richness, depth, and diversity to the overall educational experience.

Courses designed to engage and motivate the professional student

Creative Teams consisting of a lead faculty member, a Teaching Support Specialist (TSS), and an Instructional Designer use advanced analytics to develop and deliver contemporary graduate courses that promote application and engagement. We strive to innovate in ways that others don’t. 

A real-world perspective

  • Industry professionals inside the virtual classroom — Many of Penn State Smeal’s courses feature industry professionals who have been in the trenches and work hard to make an impact every day. These individuals, most of whom hold a Smeal graduate degree, partner with our renowned faculty to provide a rich academic context with real-world application.
  • Global immersion* — This unique, optional experience will enhance your ability to communicate cross-culturally, adapt to evolving business environments, and manage the risks and benefits of operating on a global scale. Any student pursing a full degree from Smeal may participate in this optional, faculty-led experience for elective credit. Previous destinations have included Shanghai, China; Johannesburg, South Africa; Prague, Czech Republic; Santiago, Chile; and Zagreb, Croatia.

One of the largest and most influential networks in the country

At Penn State, you are part of a worldwide community of instructors, learners, and more than 750,000 alumni who support one another and make a meaningful impact. 

More than 90,000 Smeal alumni benefit from connections around the globe as well as networking events, podcasts, webinars, a powerful LinkedIn community, and opportunities for volunteerism.

Impact Smeal Day — This day provides alumni and professional graduate students with the opportunity to come to campus and interact with current students, network with other alumni, gain professional insights, and hear about college initiatives. The day is designed so that you can sign up for the sessions that work for your schedule.

* Services are available only to students and alumni of Penn State Smeal’s degree programs and online degrees led by Smeal and delivered through the World Campus. Students and alumni of online graduate certificates are not eligible to receive these benefits unless they are also enrolled in a degree program.

A Head Start toward a Master’s Degree

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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

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

Gain specialized knowledge in tax law, research, analysis, and planning. Emerge with the expertise to guide an organization’s critical tax management strategy. This 100% online degree program provides you with a world-class education delivered at a pace that fits your active lifestyle. No GRE/GMAT needed.

Learn more about the Master of Taxation

AACSB Accredited

This program is AACSB Accredited

The Penn State Smeal College of Business is AACSB accredited, an honor reserved for the top 5% of business schools worldwide. This program is competitively priced compared to other AACSB–accredited programs.

Who Should Apply?

This online program is designed for early- to mid-career professionals who seek to carve out a niche for themselves in taxation. An added benefit is that credits from the certificate courses may be used to satisfy the 150-hour educational requirement needed for CPA licensure in most states.

Set Your Own Pace

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Whether you are looking to finish your program as quickly as possible or balance your studies with your busy life, Penn State World Campus can help you achieve your education goals. Many students take one or two courses per semester.

Our online courses typically follow a 12- to 15-week semester cycle, and there are three semesters per year (spring, summer, and fall). Depending on the course offering schedule for the program, certificates may be completed in 8–16 months.

Convenient Online Format

This program's convenient online format gives you the flexibility you need to study around your busy schedule. You can skip the lengthy commute without sacrificing the quality of your education and prepare yourself for more rewarding career opportunities without leaving your home.

A Trusted Leader in Online Education

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Penn State has a history of more than 100 years of distance education, and World Campus has been a leader in online learning for more than two decades. Our online learning environment offers the same quality education that our students experience on campus.

Information for Military and Veterans

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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, and application instructions.

How to Apply to Penn State

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Apply by April 15 to start May 13

Application Instructions

Deadlines and Important Dates

Complete your application and submit all required materials by the appropriate deadline. Your deadline will depend on the semester you plan to start your courses.

  • Summer Deadline

    Apply by April 15 to start May 13
  • Fall Deadline

    Apply by July 20 to start August 26
  • Spring Deadline

    Apply by November 15, 2024, to start January 13, 2025

Steps to Apply

  1. 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.

  2. You will need to upload the following items as part of your application:

    Test Scores — GRE or GMAT test scores are NOT required.

    English Proficiency (if applicable) — 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

    Statement of Purpose — Describe how your professional experience and goals align with the Graduate Certificate in Taxation. Please do not exceed 500 words.

    Vita or Résumé — A listing of your professional experience. Upload to the online application.

  3. To begin the online application, you will need a Penn State account.

    Create a New Penn State Account

    If you have any problems during this process, contact an admissions counselor at [email protected].

    Please note: Former Penn State students may not need to complete the admissions application or create a new Penn State account. Please visit our Returning Students page for instructions.

  4. 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.

    • Choose Enrollment Type: "Certificate Admission"
    • Choose "WORLD CAMPUS" as the campus

    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 technical requirements for this program.

  5. 5. Complete the application.

Admissions Help

If you have questions about the admissions process, contact an admissions counselor at [email protected].

Contact Us

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Have questions or want more information? We're happy to talk.

To learn more about the Graduate Certificate in Taxation, or for questions regarding the program curriculum or your application status, contact:

Penn State Smeal College of Business
Professional Graduate Programs Office
Phone: 814-865-5290
Email: [email protected]

For general questions about Penn State World Campus or how to apply, please contact:

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

Learn from the Best

This program is offered in partnership with the Penn State Smeal College of Business. Through this certificate program, you can earn a respected credential while learning from faculty with diverse backgrounds, intellectual perspectives, and industry expertise.


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

Apply by April 15 to start May 13. How to Apply