Certificate in Social Difference, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Certificate in Social Difference, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion
Certificate in Social Difference, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

About the Online Certificate in Social Difference, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion

Today more than ever, there is an urgent need to identify and address the social histories and contexts of structural inequities such as systemic racism, sexism, classism, queerphobia, xenophobia, and other forms of institutional discrimination. The Certificate in Social Difference, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is designed to equip you with the critical and analytical tools to evaluate these complex social issues, revealing the tacit norms and unconscious biases that underpin inequality and marginalization, and implement strategies to effect meaningful change in your personal and professional communities.

The coursework in this program offers evidence-based approaches and critical skills to advance equality, equity, and inclusion in a variety of contexts. Students explore diverse perspectives on race, gender, sexuality, ethnicity, and class in the United States, with attention to the social and historical processes through which social hierarchies develop and impact access to resources and opportunities. In addition to the foundational knowledge of the field, students are encouraged to examine and engage with their own experiences and communities, and develop strategies for harnessing individual and collective social action to combat these biases and promote equity, inclusion, and equality across a range of spaces, organizations, and communities. Students emerge from their studies with the knowledge and insight to more readily confront the enduring real-world consequences of pervasive structural inequality in the 21st century.

The Certificate in Social Difference, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion is a 4-course, 4 c.u.* credit program of study taught by University of Pennsylvania faculty. To earn a certificate, students complete four of the courses offered (see below). Students who complete the basic certificate may pursue an advanced certificate (6-course, 6 c.u.*) by adding two additional social difference, diversity, equity, and inclusion courses from the advanced course list.

Penn LPS Online courses in the Certificate in Social Difference, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion are offered on an accelerated (8-week) schedule. Courses in the online certificate program are largely asynchronous with some synchronous sessions to be scheduled by the instructors.

You have the option to enroll in individual courses without committing to the entire online certificate, enjoying the flexibility and expertise offered by Penn LPS Online to suit your schedule and interests. Visit the Cost of Attendance page for course tuition and fee rates.

*Academic credit is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs and is the basic unit of progress toward a degree. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.

The Certificate in Social Difference, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion prepares you to:

  • Grapple with systemic practices that uphold historical relationships to various forms of power in society
  • Discuss the complex intersections of race, class, sexuality, and gender using critical frameworks and materials that help learners realize social justice in specific organizations or communities
  • Explore pathways for critical change that combat the reproduction of inequality while also informing individual and collective action in society at large
  • Engage with social difference using interdisciplinary qualitative and quantitative analytical methods
  • Develop a fluency and normative comfort level with the vocabulary of social difference, diversity, equity, and inclusion
  • Contextualize difference and structural bias within mainstream professional contexts
  • Analyze the ways technologies can reinscribe historical inequities and, paradoxically, help us challenge various structural inequalities in all sectors of society
  • Develop strategies for supporting psychological safety, openness, and accountability across diverse communities
  • Understand the embeddedness of oppressive social practices and the cumulative disadvantages marginalized groups experience
  • Practice forms of civic engagement that embrace the power of coalition-building and social movements to address issues of social injustice
  • Contextualize and develop critical awareness of difference and bias in diverse professional environments


Certificate students who complete four of the online courses listed below earn a Certificate in Social Difference, Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion. Those students are then eligible to pursue an Advanced Certificate by taking two additional courses.

*This course may not be offered every academic year. Check the course page or our course guide to see when upcoming terms are added.

Courses are subject to change.

See Course Tuition

Meet the Faculty

Clayton Colmon, PhD
  • Associate Director of Instructional Design, Arts and Sciences Online Learning, University of Pennsylvania
Heather Moqtaderi
  • Founder and Artistic Director, Past Present Projects
Kristine Rabberman, PhD
  • Assistant Vice Dean and Director of Academic Affairs, College of Liberal and Professional Studies
Kimberly Torres, PhD
  • Affiliated Faculty, Organizational Dynamics; Center for Africana Studies

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