University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

Project-Based Learning Certificate Program

August 2021 - May 2022

Earn a certificate in project-based learning and engage your students in authentic student-centered inquiry.

The Project-Based Learning Certificate Program is designed for current educators who strive to create rich, meaningful, and rigorous learning experiences through student-centered approaches to teaching and learning.

Program Format

The program consists of a 3-day virtual Institute in August 2021, followed by monthly virtual sessions, and ending with a 2-day virtual Institute in May 2022.

Tentative Schedule

  • Virtual Institute I: August 3 - 5, 2021
  • Academic Year Learning Cycles: September 2021 - May 2022
    • These sessions take place virtually 1 evening per month. Dates and times will be scheduled post-enrollment.
  • Virtual Institute II: May 2022

Program of Study

The Project-Based Learning certificate program has three components:

Virtual Institute I
During Virtual Institute I, you will explore the driving goals and the core teaching practices of project-based learning. You will explore how educators can design learning experiences that are rich in (inter)disciplinary learning, authentic to students and their communities, embrace student agency and collaboration, and engage students in cycles of production, feedback, reflection, and revision.

Academic Year Learning Cycles
The Academic Year Learning Cycles support you to translate your big and ambitious ideas into tangible things for you to try, supporting you to learn and grow as a professional. Meeting with your cohort monthly, you will engage in cycles of inquiry into your own teaching and leadership practice. You will plan teaching and leadership interventions that you will try in your own classroom, school, or system, and use your experiences to reflect, refine, and develop your practice.

Virtual Institute II
During Virtual Institute II, you will take stock of your year and reflect on what you've learned. You will acknowledge and celebrate your progress, and develop a plan for your next steps as an educator.


Application and Registration

Ideal candidates for this program are current elementary, middle, or high school teachers; instructional coaches; department chairs; principals; or other instructional leaders.

Completing the program application is simple and easy. Simply click on the “Apply Now” button to complete your registration.

Priority Deadline: March 5, 2021


Final Deadline: June 28, 2021


Payment Options

If you are accepted into this program, you will receive an email with directions for how to complete your program registration. Upon registering, you will have two payment options:


  • Payment in Full - This option will allow you to pay the entire program fee immediately upon registration.
  • Payment Plan - This option will allow you to enroll in a payment plan. The payment plan schedule is as follows:
    • Payment 1 - $800, due immediately upon registration
    • Payment 2 - $800, due on August 1, 2021
    • Payment 3 - $800, due on November 1, 2021
    • Payment 4 - $800, due on February 1, 2022

Program Faculty

Our program leadership and instructional team come with deep experience and expertise in teacher development and student-centered approaches to teaching and learning.

Penn GSE Faculty Gina Wickstead
Humanities Teacher and Facilitator, High Tech Middle Media Arts
M.A.T., Johns Hopkins University
Penn GSE Faculty Alissa Fong
Professional Development Associate and Instructional Math Coach, Center to Support Excellence in Teaching, Stanford University
M.A., Stanford University
Penn GSE Faculty Richard Staniec
Physics and Integrated Science Teacher, Upper Perkiomen High School
M.Ed., St. Joseph's University
Penn GSE Faculty Melissa Viola-Askey
Social Studies Professional Development Specialist, Prince William County Schools
Ed.M., University at Buffalo
Penn GSE Faculty Jordan Templeton
Dean of Instruction, Graham Elementary and Middle School
M.Ed., High Tech High Graduate School of Education
Penn GSE Faculty Tina Schuster
Humanities Teacher and Facilitator, High Tech High Network, San Diego, CA
M.Ed., University of Virginia
Penn GSE Faculty Zachary Herrmann
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Ed.L.D., Harvard University
Penn GSE Faculty Chenelle Boatswain
Assistant Director, Center for Professional Learning, Penn GSE
Ed.M., Harvard University
Penn GSE Faculty Tyler Thigpen
Co-founder, The Forest School & the Institute for Self Directed Learning
Ed.L.D., Harvard University


Thank you for your interest in the Penn GSE Project-Based Learning Certificate Program. At this time, our application is now closed.


Penn GSE partners with schools, universities, and communities to expand educational access – especially for those underserved by society. Through rigorous research and innovative programs, we develop new knowledge, and transformational teachers and leaders in pursuit of educational opportunity. To that end, this program has a set of scholarships reserved for educators in the School District of Philadelphia.

This scholarship application is now closed.

Program Duration

10 months

Approximately 8-10 hours of work per month


Program Location


Program Fee


Please note that a payment plan option is available. For details, see the 'Payment Options' section of this webpage.


Certificate and Credits

Upon completion of the program, participants will receive a Penn GSE Certificate in Project-Based Learning as well as 3 continuing education units.

Contact Us

Please contact with any questions about this program.