Your Guide to DEI Certificate Programs

Group of adult learners in a DEI certificate program

As more companies focus on prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) initiatives, colleges and universities alike are beginning to offer specialized certificate programs in DEI. The importance of these programs will continue to increase as companies begin to invest in DEI and assemble dedicated teams to help create a more open, diverse, and welcoming environment for all employees. 

Roles within DEI are expected to grow rapidly as companies seek to build action-oriented diversity and inclusion teams. Josh Bersin, a leading industry analyst and researcher, has said that it is not an HR program, but a top-to bottom business strategy. It is true that the “needle is driven by HR;” however, it is not enough for it to be solely an HR program.

Research has shown many benefits of a diverse and inclusive workplace. According to Great Place to Work, these benefits include, higher revenue growth, readiness to innovate, increased ability to recruit a diverse talent pool, and higher employee retention. 

Below are DEI certificate programs in which anyone looking to do their part in fostering a more inclusive and diverse workplace environment can participate. Each certificate varies in time commitment, content, and cost. 

Undergraduate Certificates

Penn State World Campus offers an online undergraduate certificate in Diversity Studies. The certificate is 12 credits, focusing on ethical issues related to discrimination and intolerance, and empowers you to use this knowledge to create a more inclusive environment. Penn State World Campus is an EdAssist network school and offers a 5% tuition discount.

Waldorf University offers an online undergraduate certificate that can stand alone or be added to several bachelors degrees. The Diversity and Inclusion certificate “examines the psychology of prejudice and discrimination, employment and labor law, and diverse perspectives related to gender, generation, race, religion, and ethnic culture.” In addition to being a lower cost option, they also offer textbooks at no cost. 

Graduate Certificates

Boston College offers an online graduate certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion through their Woods College of Advancing Studies. This certificate is made up of four required courses and is geared toward managers, directors, and leaders. Boston College has previously offered EdAssist clients a 10% discount.

The University of Kentucky offers a 12 credit online graduate certificate in Diversity & Inclusion. This program focuses on promoting and supporting inclusivity. Topics include perspectives on diversity & inclusion, intercultural communication for professionals, race, ethnicity, and politics, and, approaches to diversity in the modern world. 

The University of Colorado – Colorado Springs offers a very affordable graduate certificate in Diversity, Social Justice, and Inclusion. The program is 4 courses, 12 credits, and is currently priced at $172 per credit hour. They are currently offering courses in health equality and social health justice. Other topics include power and privilege, gender, religion, and social justice. Courses are offered as independent study and you have up to a year to complete each course. 

Short-Term Certificate Programs

eCornell offers a two-month certificate program in Diversity and Inclusion. This program is appropriate for any individual committed to building a truly aware and inclusive work culture. The certificate is made up of four courses. Topics include improving engagement, counteracting unconscious bias, diversity and inclusion at work, and fostering an inclusive environment. This program is instructor-led and 100% online. 

The University of South Florida offers a $99 certificate in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion in the Workplace. It is a 14-hour certificate made up of seven two-hour modules where you must successfully pass seven quizzes. It is designed for people across all levels and industries. 

You can also find free or low-cost courses through Coursera and EdX in a wide range of topics including:

  • Women in Leadership; Inspiring Positive Change
  • Personality Types at Work
  • Gender & Sexuality; Diversity in the Workplace
  • Optimizing Diversity on teams

With the wide array of programs available to employers, employees, and students, it is important that we engage in thoughtful and intentional diversity and equity conversations more often. These types of programs help to educate one another and move the conversation forward around creating inclusive spaces for our colleagues and friends.

Written by: Stephanie Delanois

October 14, 2021

About the Author

Stephanie Delanois headshot

Stephanie joined Bright Horizons EdAssist Solutions in 2018. She previously worked at Merrimack College in the Office of Graduate and Professional Studies advising transfer students and adult learners. Stephanie holds a master’s in Education.