The academic credit version of the Certificate in Health Care Innovation is open to Penn faculty members, staff members, and current Penn graduate or professional students who are interested in health care delivery innovation. The certificate is a for-credit, online program that you can complete in eight months. The courses in the certificate are graduate-level courses that carry full academic credit (1 CU per course) and tuition. You will engage with internationally recognized leaders in the areas of health policy, behavioral economics, operations management, and health care innovation. In your courses, you will apply principles and processes to challenges faced in work situations. Employees of the University of Pennsylvania and the Penn Medicine Health System may use employee tuition benefits towards these courses. See Tuition and Billing below for more information.

Sign up now to join the program. A staff member will send you course registration instructions after you sign up for the certificate. Questions? Please contact Program Manager Katherine Ridella at 215-573-9378 or

sign up for the certificate

Develop Better Solutions

The Certificate in Health Care Innovation is designed to enable learners, upon successful completion of four online courses, to do the following:

  1. Better position reforms or innovations in your organization based on national trends and emerging regulations.
  2. Enable a health care organization to improve its operations.
  3. Design new approaches to strategies affected by health behavior.
  4. Apply common empirical research methodologies to policy and program analysis.
  5. Lead high-impact innovation efforts in and beyond health care settings.

Courses and Schedule

The Certificate in Health Care Innovation comprises four online, graduate-level courses, each worth 1 CU (course unit) of academic credit. Learners will take one 6-week-long course at a time. Courses start and end on specific dates with most content available on demand, so you can study at your convenience. Content may include: lecture videos, discussion forums, quizzes, assignments, readings, supplementary resources, case studies, polling and surveys, and small-group collaborations. Weekly presentations or seminars via video conferencing will be held and recorded for later review.

Learners should expect to spend an average of 10–12 hours/week on each course.

The American Health Care System

U.S. Capitol
COURSE OVERVIEWThis course surveys the historical development of the American health care system from the turn of the Twentieth Century to the present. Topics include insurance, hospitals, compensation models, and reform efforts, including the Affordable Care Act, as well as how American health care is likely to evolve. Learners who successfully complete this course will be able to apply this information as context to understand and advocate for reforms and innovation in health care–related fields.
Next class starts Fall 2017

Health Care Operations

Bicycle gears
COURSE OVERVIEWThis course offers an introduction to operations management, examining inefficiencies from waste, variability, and inflexibility and providing strategies for engaging in the ongoing process of reducing these negative impacts without sacrificing quality of care. After completing the course, learners will be able to use a systematic approach for analyzing and improving their work in health care settings.
Next class starts Spring 2018

Behavioral Economics and Decision Making

Doors and decisions
COURSE OVERVIEWThis course uses behavioral economics as a framework for understanding how humans make decisions within the health care system. It offers practical applications of scholarly research through an emphasis on case studies and the analysis of their results. Learners who successfully complete this course will be able to demonstrate how key concepts in behavioral economics are used, critique existing programs, design new approaches, and apply lessons to challenges they face in their work environments.
Next course starts Spring 2017

Evaluating Health Care Policy and Programs

COURSE OVERVIEWThis course provides an overview of fundamental concepts and empirical methods in the analysis of health policies and programs. It reviews relevant statistical and economic concepts, surveys key principles of evaluation, examines methodological approaches, and explores the application of these methods using seminal empirical studies of existing health policies and programs. Learners who successfully complete this course will be able to critique common methodologies and approaches to studying the impact of policy and programmatic changes, and apply concepts to evaluating—and recommending—real-world policies and programs.
May 23–July 3, 2017


You will receive letter grades for course assignments, and course grades will appear on your official University of Pennsylvania transcript. To earn the Certificate in Health Care Innovation, which is granted by the Perelman School of Medicine, you must maintain a GPA of at least 3.0 and complete all four courses. All assignments for a course must be completed by that course's end date. If you have any concerns about completing an assignment or course on time, please reach out to your teaching assistants right away.

Course Platform

Courses for the Certificate in Health Care Innovation are conducted online via Canvas. You access a class by logging into Canvas, where you can watch lecture videos, attend synchronous videoconferencing sessions, access educational materials, post discussions, and more. Each course week runs Tuesday–Monday. Video lectures and other educational materials are available on-demand on Canvas within the current course week, so that you may work according to your own schedule. There are weekly, synchronous sessions with the instructor which are also recorded for later viewing.

Tuition and Billing

Current tuition and fee rates are available from Student Financial Services (see Master’s in Bioethics & Scientific Medical Ethics). At Fall 2017 rates, 1 CU will cost $5,827 (including tuition and technology fee).

Employee Tuition Benefits

University employees

Tuition benefits are available to full-time employees of the University of Pennsylvania (non-health system) for up to two course units (2 CUs) per semester. Employees should apply for the tuition benefit prior to each semester through the Online Tuition Management System (PennKey required). More information about the benefit is available from Penn Human Resources. Tuition benefits for faculty and staff cover 100% of tuition, general, and technology fees for each eligible course. However, please be aware that graduate programs at Penn, including the Certificate in Health Care Innovation, are subject to withholding based upon government IRS regulations, which may result in you paying a portion (up to 36%) of the course cost out of pocket. Find out about the taxability of graduate benefits and what this can mean for your out-of-pocket costs.

request Employee Tuition Benefits

health system employees

Health system employees should contact their HR department about requesting tuition benefits. Full-time health system employees may receive up to $5,250 in tuition assistance per calendar year toward non-degree courses. Part-time health system employees may receive up to $2,625 in tuition assistance per calendar year toward non-degree courses.

Billing and Payment

Students register for courses online through Penn InTouch (PennKey login required). Electronic bursar bills are sent out by Student Registration & Financial Services within 4–6 weeks after course registration has been processed. Bills are delivered electronically on a monthly schedule, and you will be notified about them via email. You can pay your bill electronically, by mail, in person, or via wire transfer. Billing questions can be addressed to Student Financial Services at 215-898-1988.

Email is the primary mechanism for sending official communications, including billing notifications, to Penn students. Please be sure that your email address is up-to-date in the Penn Directory (see Update Directory Listings).

Pay my Bill

Withdrawal Policy

The Academic Certificate in Health Care Innovation courses are six weeks long each and do not follow typical semester start and end dates. Thus typical University add/drop period dates do not apply. Instead, students must withdraw before the end of Week 2 of the course in order to be granted a full refund. Note that course weeks run Tuesday­­­­–Monday. A partial refund will be granted for withdrawals during Weeks 3 and 4, and no refund is granted for withdrawals after Week 4.

drop deadline (monday of course week #) refund amount
1–2 %100
3–4 %50
5–6 None

NOTE: The above refund policy applies only to the PILOT SERIES of the certificate, which runs from November 2016–July 2017.

No Show and Incompletes

No show: Students who do not withdraw before the last day of the course, and who did not access the course site or complete any work throughout the course, will receive a grade of GR (or, “Not graded”) on their transcript. They will not receive academic credit and the course will not count toward the certificate. They will be responsible for the full cost of the course.

Incomplete: Students who participated in the course, did not withdraw before the last day of class, and did not complete all assignments required for the course will receive a grade of I (or, “Incomplete”) on their transcript. These students will be given a deadline by which all assignments must be completed in order to receive credit for the course. Upon completion of the assignments, the Incomplete will be changed to a letter grade and the student will receive credit for the course.


Contact: Certificate in Health Care Innovation

If you have additional questions, please contact Katherine Ridella, Program Manager for Online Educational Initiatives, at 215-573-9378 or