St. Mary's Hall, home of the Woods College of Advancing Studies at Boston College. (Gary Wayne Gilbert)
New opportunities to gain academic credentials in the high-demand areas of sustainability, data analytics, and project management are now available through BC’s Woods College of Advancing Studies. These certificates, which expand the school’s impressive list of short-term programs, are currently accepting applicants for the spring.
The Certificate in Sustainability science is a fully online undergraduate program, joining a Woods College portfolio that includes eight other professional certificates at the undergraduate level—in accounting, communication, criminal and social justice, finance, human resources, information technology, management, and marketing. Professional Studies certificates are open to students with a high school or undergraduate degree.
At the graduate level, the Woods College has added Data Analytics, also online, and Project Management, a hybrid program combining online and on-campus coursework. These programs add to the three Certificates in Advanced Graduate Studies currently in place at the graduate level, in corporate communication and marketing, executive leadership and organizational development, and human resources management.
All of the certificate programs can be taken individually or applied to a related Woods College undergraduate or graduate degree.
“Certificate programs offer students and working professionals a way to gain in-depth knowledge of a subject area—for personal enrichment, career advancement, or as a step toward a degree—on a schedule that meets their needs,” said Woods College Associate Dean for Enrollment Management Claudia Pouravelis. “All Woods College certificate programs are developed to reflect industry needs,” she said, “and the three launching this fall in particular respond to high marketplace demand.”
The online Professional Studies Certificate in Sustainability—overseen by program advisor Jennifer Cole, a faculty member at the Harvard Graduate School of Sustainability and former director of the environmental studies program at Northeastern University—will focus on both science and policy, and enable recipients to demonstrate their competency in subject areas related to climate change, the effects of shifting population and demographics, and the limits of natural resources.
The program has already attracted enrollees from a wide range of fields, Pouravelis said. “So many companies have or are developing a focus on sustainability,” she said. “This certificate will position students to meet an expanding need in the workforce.”
“Certificate programs offer students and working professionals a way to gain in-depth knowledge of a subject area—for personal enrichment, career advancement, or as a step toward a degree—on a schedule that meets their needs. All Woods College certificate programs are developed to reflect industry needs, and the three launching this fall in particular respond to high marketplace demand.”
Similarly, the online graduate Certificate in Data Analytics program "meets a growing need for data-driven professionals in a variety of industries, including government and non-profits,” said Woods College Associate Dean Aleksandar Tomic, who directs the school’s Master of Science in Applied Economics program. “Our program provides a flexible, rigorous, and highly relevant dive into data analytics, equipping students with tools they need to not only summarize and visualize the data, but also to discover meaningful relationships between data, build complex models and, ultimately, engage in predictive analytics.”
The online format, he said, makes it the perfect choice for working professionals, and the high level of faculty engagement, combined with constant, hands-on application of the material learned in class will allow students to immediately apply the material to their work.
The hybrid graduate Certificate in Project Management responds to a sector that is projected to grow by six million jobs in the U.S. by 2020, and by an even greater number internationally.
As projects become more complex and face greater time constraints, the demands on today’s project managers evolve and expand, said Elisabeth Hiles, associate program director of the Woods College M.S. in Leadership and Administration program.
“Organizations need leaders that can effectively and efficiently manage financial and human capital, and nearly 6 out of every 10 organizations use project managers,” she said, adding that the program continues to adapt to emerging needs. “At a recent advisory board meeting for our MSLA program, a Fidelity vice president said project managers who can use agile methodologies to respond to the unpredictability of the workplace are critical to an organization’s success. We have since designed an Agile Methodologies course that will launch in spring 2018.”
Enrollees in Woods College certificate programs range from working professionals to full-time BC undergraduates. Kara Kiely, an operations associate at Glouston Capital Partners who is currently pursuing a graduate certificate in human resources, finds the program content valuable to her current position. “I’m confident that I will complete the program feeling as though it was a great decision that will help further my career,” she said.
“Undergraduates find professional certificate programs can be a good complement to a major,” says William Boozang, associate director of certificates and corporate outreach at the Woods College.
Tom Hart, who graduated from the Woods College in 2017 with a bachelor’s degree in political science, earned professional certificates in both management and finance from the Woods College, and believes doing so opened the door to new career possibilities.
“Most individuals are not in management positions out of the gate, but knowing what managers look for is very helpful for career advancement,” said Hart, who recently accepted a job offer from Oracle. “The Woods College certificate programs certainly helped my chances of landing this great opportunity."
For more information or to enroll in Woods College short-term programs, visit the Undergraduate Professional Studies Certificates and Certificates in Advance Graduate Studies websites.
—Patricia Delaney | University Communications