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Design Thinking

Online Graduate Certificate in Design Thinking

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$0 Application Fee
$0 Transfer Credit Evaluation
0 Entrance Exams
No GRE/GMAT Required

About This Program

Note: This certificate is not currently available for admission.

Design thinking fosters innovation and helps organizations understand the needs and behaviors of their customers/users. By enrolling in the design thinking certificate program at American Public University (APU), you will develop a framework for leading effective, data-driven change to meet the needs of both an organization and its customers and users.

This online graduate design thinking certificate prepares you to create a specialized toolkit for collecting, analyzing, and explaining human needs and behaviors that are critical to organizational and product or service success.

Coursework includes both theory and application, particularly as it relates to a professional or personal challenge you wish to approach with design thinking. Research methods involving participant observation, focus groups, interviews, and surveys are explored.

What You Will Do

  1. Describe how design thinking fosters innovation and transformation
  2. Identify the role leadership plays in developing strategies and managing organizational change
  3. Compare different ways to collect customer/user needs and experiences
  4. Assess risk, cost, and benefits of data-informed solutions to organizational challenges

Program at a Glance

Number of Credits
Cost Per Credit
$370 | $250*
Courses Start Monthly

Program Requirements Printable Catalog Version

Must take all courses for this section.

Course ID: 5268

Today’s global business environment is complex and ever-changing. Change is now a constant and driving change can be a difficult leadership task. This course is designed to help leaders proactively lead change. Students in this course will learn strategies to effectively assess potential drivers of change, facilitate the implementation of change, and become a change agent in an organization by propelling momentum toward positive results. Students will practice skills to move ideas toward results, combat organizational and employee complacency, and overcome resistance to change.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
06/28/22 - 12/02/22 12/05/22 - 01/29/23 Fall 2022 Session D 8 Week session
09/26/22 - 03/03/23 03/06/23 - 04/30/23 Winter 2023 Session D 8 Week session

Course ID: 5346

This course examines the concepts of consumer behavior in the marketplace. Behavioral aspects of the marketing process from manufacturer to consumer are considered. Consumers’ actions during the search, purchase, use, and evaluation of products and services to fulfill needs are explored. This course illuminates how marketers can use the concepts of consumer behavior to influence individuals’ purchases of products and services.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
06/28/22 - 12/02/22 12/05/22 - 01/29/23 Fall 2022 Session D 8 Week session
09/26/22 - 03/03/23 03/06/23 - 04/30/23 Winter 2023 Session D 8 Week session

Course ID: 5357

Organizations and businesses face a changing social landscape in which their products and services are inextricably linked with the needs of the people who create and consume those products and services. Stakeholders looking to innovate and seize opportunity, or needing creative solutions to challenges, must thoughtfully integrate knowledge and tools from different disciplines to strike a balance between what is feasible from the organizational perspective and what is needed from the consumer perspective. For stakeholders facing multifaceted challenges, design thinking is an important process and tool that supports creative innovation and user-focused solutions. Students in this course will become familiar with design thinking as an approach and tool, learning how to apply it to their professional and personal goals.
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
04/26/22 - 09/30/22 10/03/22 - 11/27/22 Fall 2022 Session B 8 Week session
07/25/22 - 12/30/22 01/02/23 - 02/26/23 Winter 2023 Session B 8 Week session

Course ID: 5358

Design thinking is an approach that helps bridge organizational needs and consumer needs, with deep focus on consumer-driven data that informs innovation and practice. Students learn how to apply design thinking principles through work on case studies as well as application to an issue in their field of study or career. This course focuses on building mixed methods research skills like participant observation, focus groups, interviews, and surveys - to create and test data-informed solutions, and report findings to organizational stakeholders. (Prerequisite: SOCI530)
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
05/21/22 - 11/04/22 11/07/22 - 01/01/23 Fall 2022 Session I 8 Week session
08/29/22 - 02/03/23 02/06/23 - 04/02/23 Winter 2023 Session I 8 Week session

Course ID: 5359

This course focuses on an applied project related to the student’s major field of study or career path. Integrating knowledge and skills from the other courses in the design thinking graduate certificate will be critical in this course. Students will identify a multi-faceted problem or challenge that they want to address from a design thinking perspective, collect and evaluate stakeholder insights and data, and then design and assess multiple solutions. (Prerequisite: SOCI531)
Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
06/28/22 - 12/02/22 12/05/22 - 01/29/23 Fall 2022 Session D 8 Week session
09/26/22 - 03/03/23 03/06/23 - 04/30/23 Winter 2023 Session D 8 Week session

Courses Start Monthly

Next Courses Start Nov 7
Register by Nov 4

Admission Requirements

  • All APU master's degree/graduate certificate programs require a bachelor’s degree (or higher) from an institution whose accreditation is recognized by the Council for Higher Education Accreditation (CHEA).
  • Please read all graduate admission requirements before applying to this program and be prepared to submit the required documentation.
  • There is no fee to complete the APU admission application. View steps to apply.

Materials Cost

Technology fee: $65 per course | $0 for active-duty military, National Guard members, and Reservists.

Need Help?

Selecting the right program to meet your educational goals is a key step in ensuring a successful outcome. If you are unsure of which program to choose, or need more information, please contact an APU admissions representative at 877-755-2787 or

Quality Education Should Be Affordable

So you can focus on the opportunities ahead, without the financial burden of more expensive schools who are not as invested in your success. Learn more about paying for school.

Consumer Information

*Cost Per Credit Hour

To minimize out-of-pocket costs, U.S. active-duty servicemembers, their spouse/dependents, National Guard members, and Reservists receive a tuition grant that caps undergraduate, master's degree, and graduate certificate tuition at $250/credit hour. In addition, a university book grant provides no-cost textbooks and ebooks for all undergraduates and military-tuition-grant-eligible master’s-level students.
See all military student benefits.