This 9-credit certificate in professional leadership is fully online. Offered by the UW–Madison College of Engineering, it is completely multidisciplinary—with instructors from across the UW–Madison campus to provide critical insights on topics such as marketing, finance, project management, legal concepts, and information management. The certificate is built from a selection of 14 one-credit courses in areas such as information and project management, communication, marketing, negotiations, and legal studies. Each course is eight weeks. Throughout these course sprints, the student is immersed in projects alongside other professionals who share similar challenges and passions. Designed for working professionals, students may start the certificate program at the beginning of any 8-week session year round. Students work at their own pace, but may complete the certificate in as little as 10 month or as long as five years. 

Further information, including tuition and costs, is available at the website of the Department of Engineering Professional Development. 


Applicants must possess a baccalaureate degree. Applications are accepted on a rolling schedule. Students may begin the program at the start of any term (fall, spring, or summer).  Adult Career and Special Student Services (ACSSS) is the admitting office for all University Special students, including capstone certificate students. However, the department offering the capstone certificate program makes the final admission decision upon review of all applicant materials.

Admission requirements for the Capstone Certificate Foundations of Professional Development program are:
  1. Hold bachelor’s degree or equivalent credential from an accredited college or university.
  2. A minimum undergraduate grade-point average (GPA) of 3.00 on the equivalent of the last 60 semester hours (approximately two years of work) or a master’s degree with a minimum cumulative GPA of 3.00. Applicants from an international institution must have a strong academic performance comparable to a 3.00 for an undergraduate or master’s degree.
  3. Applicants whose native language is not English must provide scores from the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL). The minimum acceptable score on the TOEFL is 580 on the written version, 243 on the computer version, or 92 on the Internet version.

Exceptions to standard admission requirements are considered by the admissions committee on an individual basis.

Application steps

1. Communicate Intent to Apply to the program: Send an email to the chair of the admissions committee,, and state an intent to apply to the certificate. Attach an unofficial transcript that shows cumulative GPA and bachelor’s degree received.

2. Submit an online application for admission as a University Special student, selecting UNCS Capstone Certificate and the program: Foundations of Professional Development. This application is received and processed by ACSSS with final decision held for approval from the specific capstone certificate coordinator. 

3. Arrange to have transcripts of all previous educational institutions and a letter of recommendation sent directly to the chair of the admissions committee for the capstone certificate program: Attn: Shainah Greene, 432 North Lake Street, Room 701, Madison, WI  53706.

Note: Transcripts should be sent directly by the educational institution to the program. 

The letter of recommendation should be from an employer or colleague.  Use the  Download Recommendation Form, which should be sent by email directly by your recommender to the chair of the admissions committee,

4. After all of application materials have been received, the admissions committee chair contacts applicants for a phone interview . After the interview, the complete application will be presented to the Admissions Committee for evaluation at its next scheduled meeting.

Final admissions decision

Admission decisions are made in the order completed applications are received. 
The committee will make one of the following decisions:

  • Recommend admission
  • Defer consideration until the regular consideration review meeting.
  • Decline further consideration of your application.

After a decision is made, the admissions committee chair will contact applicants by email to inform them of the decision and to schedule a time to discuss the decision and any next steps.  The ACSSS is also notified of the final admission decision and completes the formal process for UW–Madison admissions. 


Admitted students receive a formal letter of admission to UW–Madison from Adult Career and Special Student Services along with general enrollment information.

The Foundations in Professional Development program will send an email to admitted students with specific information pertaining to enrollment in courses and completion of the capstone program. 

Additional detail is provided on the ACSSS enrollment page

  • Must have a minimum GPA of 2.000
  • Certificate requires 9 credits
Personal Development
E P D 700 Connected Learning Essentials1
E P D 701 Writing for Professionals1
or E P D 702 Professional Presentations
Team Development
E P D/​GEN BUS/​M H R  783 Leading Teams1
E P D 706 Change Management1
or E P D/​GEN BUS/​OTM  784 Project Management Essentials
Organizational Development
E P D 704 Organizational Communication and Problem Solving1
E P D 712 Ethics for Professionals1
or E P D 713 Key Legal Concepts for Professionals
Additional Core Courses3
Select three courses from this list that have NOT already been taken:
Writing for Professionals
Professional Presentations
Managing Digital Information
Change Management
Creating Breakthrough Innovations
Ethics for Professionals
Key Legal Concepts for Professionals
Financial and Business Acumen
Marketing for Non-Marketing Professionals
Effective Negotiation Strategies
Project Management Essentials
Total Credits9
  1. Strategically manage complex information and projects in a digital environment.
  2. Select and successfully apply effective communication strategies in the workplace.
  3. Employ proven methods to effectively and ethically work across disciplinary and organizational boundaries.
  4. Recognize and analyze trends within your discipline and workplace.