SP2 - Wharton Professional Certificate in Organizational Leadership in Social Work

A transdisciplinary collaboration between Penn’s School of Social Policy & Practice (SP2) and the Wharton School will soon provide current SP2 students and alumni with a flexible opportunity to chart their own learning path, become effective leaders, and generate enduring social impact.

Benefits for Social Workers

  • Apply direct practice expertise and skills to social work leadership;
  • Learn how to lead and make decisions as an organizational manager;
  • Use social work core values and a social work perspective in leading and decision-making;
  • Understand the basics of financial management and record keeping;
  • Gain an introduction to marketing and branding; and
  • Move from providing direct social services to leading for social change.

Program Details

The School of Social Policy & Practice – Wharton School Professional Certificate in Organizational Leadership in Social Work is a non-credit professional certificate, which will be conferred to individuals who complete all four non-credit courses.

Courses can also be completed individually; learners will receive a certificate of completion for each course, but will not earn the Professional Certificate credential.

Courses are delivered fully online and on-demand. Learners may start the program at any time and move through the course materials at any speed they choose.


Each course will last four to six weeks.

Time Commitment

Learners will be asked to devote two to four hours per week to each course.

Program Format

The program is 100% online. Learners may start at any time and complete the program at their own pace.

Program Fee

The Professional Certificate is free for current SP2 students.

The Professional Certificate, including access to all four courses, costs $159 for SP2 alumni. Individual courses cost $49.


Program enrollment is limited to current SP2 students and SP2 alumni. Students and alumni from all degree programs are eligible to complete the Professional Certificate. The program is available at no cost to SP2 students and at a nominal fee to SP2 alumni. Complete details can be found on the enrollment page.

Students and alumni must verify their status using their PennKey and password. Alums who do not have a PennKey or have forgotten their credentials may visit Penn Alumni for online support.

For more information, please join the OpenSP2 mailing list.


Course content has been developed based on alumni feedback and market research about the skills needed to lead a social services organization.

Module 1: Moving From Direct Practice to Organizational Management

Module 2: Using Social Work Perspective and Core Values as a Management Guide

Module 3: Social Services and Participant Voice

Module 4: Human Services Organizations (Boards, Services, and Fundraising)

Module 1: Social Work Management Decision Making

Module 2: Leading People

Module 3: Strategic Thinking for Long-term Change

Module 4: Interview with Two Social Work Leaders

Ever wondered why some things become popular, and other don’t? Why some products become hits while others flop? Why some ideas take off while others languish? What are the key ideas behind viral marketing? This course explains how things catch on and helps you apply these ideas to be more effective at marketing your ideas, brands, or products. You’ll learn how to make ideas stick, how to increase your influence, how to generate more word of mouth, and how to use the power of social networks to spread information and influence. Drawing on principles from his best-selling book, “Contagious: Why Things Catch On,” Professor Jonah Berger illustrates successful strategies for you to use buzz to create virality so that your campaigns become more shareable on social media and elsewhere. By the end of this course, you’ll have a better understanding of how to craft contagious content, build stickier messages, and get any product, idea, or behavior to catch on.

Module 1: What Makes Ideas Sticky?

Module 2: How Social Influence Shapes Behavior

Module 3: The Power of Word of Mouth

Module 4: Social Networks

In this course, you’ll explore how financial statement data and non-financial metrics can be linked to financial performance. Professors Rick Lambert and Chris Ittner of the Wharton School have designed this course to help you gain a practical understanding of how data is used to assess what drives financial performance and forecast future financial scenarios. You’ll learn more about the frameworks of financial reporting, income statements, and cash reporting, and apply different approaches to analyzing financial performance using real-life examples to see the concepts in action. By the end of this course, you’ll have honed your skills in understanding how financial data and non-financial data interact to forecast events and be able to determine the best financial strategy for your organization.

Module 1: Introduction, Balance Sheet and Income Statement

Module 2: Cash Flow Statement

Module 3: Financial Statement Analysis

Module 4: Linking Non-Financial Metrics to Financial Performance

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