The Graduate Certificate in Sustainable Management Practices at
Penn State Great Valley can help you go green.

This four-course graduate certificate can help you manage new or existing sustainable practices in your organization. Gain a competitive advantage by understanding how adopting the ‘triple bottom line’ can enhance your organization’s long-term viability. Courses are offered in convenient, seven-week sessions with hybrid-delivery options.

  • Courses can be taken as a stand-alone certificate or as an initial step toward an MBA at Penn State Great Valley
  • Courses are designed for professionals who hold a master's degree and want to update or expand their knowledge and expertise
  • These 3-credit graduate courses are graduate-credit based and are taught by graduate faculty in collaboration with the Consortium for Sustainable Business Development. Typically these courses are offered 50% online.

If you are ready to proceed to the application but have NOT read the Graduate School requirements, please visit that website at

If you have read the Graduate School and program requirements and are ready to apply, you may proceed to the application at

To apply:

  • Complete application at Choose Certificate Admission. Select your certificate choice in the pull-down menu.
  • Upload to the online application:
  • Submit non-refundable application fee, payable by credit card online or by check or money order payable to The Pennsylvania State University (more information)
  • Submit two official transcripts from undergraduate institution (more information).  Transcripts should be sent directly from each college or university you have attended to the Penn State Great Valley Admissions Office, Attention: JoAnn Kelly, 30 E. Swedesford Rd, Malvern, PA 19355. Your admission will be reviewed after your application portfolio is complete. For admissions questions, contact Millie Ingersoll at or 610-648-3282.

Current Penn State graduate students in all programs are also welcome to enroll in the certificate.  To apply, visit and choose Certificate Admission.

Cornerstones of Sustainability (BUSAD 802)
(typically offered in fall)
This graduate course provides students with an overview of the social, environmental, and organizational sustainability challenges facing 21st century business leaders. The course seeks to develop students’ critical capacities for reflection and action based on a systems thinking framework. Topics include: the history of the sustainability movement; an overview of pressing environmental and social issues; and alternative perspectives on the local and global economy. The course addresses local and global issues surrounding sustainable management and reviews the major frameworks of sustainability that provide the scientific foundations and economic principles of how sustainability can help organizational leaders to achieve a natural competitive advantage. Students will apply theoretical and practitioner frameworks to real-world cases. 


Finance and Investment for Sustainable Growth (BUSAD 824)
(typically offered in fall)
This graduate course provides students with an in-depth exploration of the theories and the applications that financial professionals can leverage to simultaneously earn a profit and have a positive impact on society. The specific financial sectors examined include: Capital Markets (to address environmental issues), Commercial Banking (to create sustainable economic development), Project Finance (to reduce poverty and create infrastructure development), and Investment Management (to understand and employ socially responsible investing).

Positive Organizational Behavior and Well Being (MGMT 507)
(typically offered in spring)
Successful organizations are those that invest in their human capital.  In this course students will survey organizational behaviors that enhance positive emotions, engagement in work, personal meaning in life and accomplishments, and positive working relationships with others.

Social Entrepreneurship & Community Leadership (BUSAD 582)
(typically offered spring and fall)
This graduate course uses entrepreneurial skills to craft innovative responses to social needs. Entrepreneurs are particularly good at recognizing opportunities, exploring innovative approaches, mobilizing resources, managing risks, and building viable, sustainable enterprises. Entrepreneurial skills are just as valuable in the social sector as they are in business. Social entrepreneurship aims at social impact but does not exclude economic wealth creation; therefore, it is not limited to the non-profit sector. Despite a sustained economic boom in this country, numerous social problems remain and some seem to be getting worse. The course will focus on introducing business leadership and entrepreneurship principles to both profit and non-profit organizations whose products and services are designed to create social value.

Sustainable Products and Service Development (BUSAD 879)
This graduate course explores the creation and development of sustainable products and services. The course merges theory and practice; investigates the linkages between products and services; examines historic, current, and future examples of sustainable products and services; and guides students toward practical tools of inquiry and application that will serve them in their careers. The emphasis is on the process of new product innovation, development, and commercialization. The term “product” will be treated in its most general sense in which service may be an important component or the “product” might be entirely a “service.” For example, a software product may have no other function than to provide a service. We will examine how requirements for sustainable development affect the process of product development and will assess how sustainable products contribute to the firm’s competitive advantage and to its entrepreneurial opportunities. Various sustainability frameworks for integrating the environment and societal externalities in traditional product design process will also be studied. 

Systems Thinking (SYSEN 507) 
Systems thinking is the practice of seeing systems in the broad, rather than decomposing them into smaller pieces that lose the essential properties in which we are most interested. Systemic thinking allows us to identify the underlying structures, patterns, and cycles that influence the systems around us so that we can pinpoint the causes of recurring problems and find the points of leverage that will make lasting improvements. This graduate course provides students with the tools to understand and describe complex systems and to identify emergent properties, feedback mechanisms and their effects. Students will understand the difference between systematic and systemic approaches, the pitfalls of reductionism and the necessity for holistic system understanding and description.

Triple Bottom Line Accounting (BUSAD 809)
(typically offered in spring)
This graduate course expands the traditional financial and managerial accounting topics to encompass economic, social, and environmental impacts. Students will investigate the strategic linkages between sustainability and the value of the organization; define true costs and become familiar with alternative cost measurement systems; and assess the impact of social risk. Other topics include the design and implementation of management performance evaluation and reward systems that align with social and environmental, as well as economic goals, and global reporting standards and best practices. 


Questions? Contact us at or 610-648-3248.