Graduate Business Certificate in Ethics & Compliance

The Business Certificate in Ethics & Compliance is a unique program that fulfills management and business needs for Ethics and Compliance professionals in growth industries such as healthcare, biotech, pharmaceutical, information technology services and products, finance and accounting, manufacturing, and hospitality.

The Business Certificate in Ethics & Compliance provides access to post-undergraduate level students and professionals seeking specific academic training. These individuals may already have a graduate degree or are seeking graduate-level certificate course preparation for their further professional development.

Ethics and Compliance (E&C) specialists work to prevent their organizations from committing errors that violate ethical standards of best practice or regulatory compliance. E&C specialists assess a company’s potential adverse or ethical impacts on their stakeholders. These specialists may also use analytical tools, such as Enterprise Risk Management (ERM), to proactively measure the effectiveness of ethical practices and assess compliance with U.S. and global regulations by identifying specific situations of risk to an organization’s stakeholders (i.e., employees, customers, suppliers, regulators, and communities). Two key areas of need for E&C specialists are leadership in instantiating internal control and strategic planning in various functional areas of a company. Their role is to reduce the risk of unethical or illegal activities by individuals working in organizations through the development of policies and procedures to prevent these ethical failures. E&C specialists must be able to navigate within an organization to instantiate best practices using ethical negotiation skills. Examples of tools developed by E&C specialists include developing and supporting corporate codes of conduct, employee training, regulatory compliance processes, analytical assessment and forecasting, negotiation strategies, as well as advising top management and senior organizational leaders about ethical corporate culture.

The 9 units of coursework required for the Business Certificate in Ethics & Compliance may be applied towards the Masters in Business Administration if all required courses for both programs are completed within seven years.

Certificate learning outcomes include developing key skills for students in:

  • ethical issues identification and solutions-based mindsets, (MGMT 850)
  • ethical analysis and data-analytics decision-making models for strategic planning, (MGMT 850)
  • understanding the demands of transparency and Sunshine Laws, (MGMT 850)
  • effectively understanding, negotiating, and managing business risks and safety for stakeholders, (BUS 859/IBUS 859, MGMT 857)
  • understanding the compliance and regulatory challenges of global business practices,
  • examples include: FCPA, Sunshine Laws, HIPAA, Affordable Care Act, ADA,
  • EEOC, Sarbanes-Oxley, Dodd-Frank, EPA, etc. (MGMT 850)
  • compliance aptitude as a strategic partner for organizational integrity, (MGMT 850)
  • measuring and auditing the effectiveness of compliance programs, (MGMT 850)
  • integrating ethics and aligning compliance management and risk management with analytics, (MGMT 850)
  • understanding the complexities of technology and protections for stakeholder privacy, (MGMT 850)
  • developing organizational operations, training, and structures under Chief Ethics and Compliance Officers, (BUS 859/IBUS 859)
  • operating as change agents in the negotiation to effect organizational change, (BUS 859/IBUS 859)
  • developing best practices in leadership of organizational processes and managing stakeholder impacts. (MGMT 857)

Business Certificate in Ethics & Compliance – 9 Units

Required Courses

Students must complete each of the following courses with a letter grade of at least a B. The three courses selected are critical skill-building courses in foundational ethics and compliance, operational organizational leadership with integrity, and applied negotiation skills in working inter- and intra-organizationally.

MGMT 850Ethics and Compliance in Business3
MGMT 857Leadership in Action3
BUS/IBUS 859Introduction to International Business Negotiation3

Admissions Requirements

Baccalaureate degree with a minimum of a 3.0 GPA demonstrated on submitted sealed or electronic university or college transcripts and an English writing sample will be required to be admitted as a post-baccalaureate unclassified student to the Business Certificate in Ethics & Compliance program. San Francisco State University accepts applications for admission for the Fall and Spring semesters only, but some courses in the certificate program may be offered during the summer months. Admissions decisions for student acceptance/decline for the program will be 4–6 weeks after all transcripts are received.

Application – Two Steps

Apply to the College of Business and the University online at: You will be able to apply directly to the Business Certificate in Ethics & Compliance program and San Francisco State University on this page. Please note that there will be two online applications, one for the university application and one for the certificate program application. At the CSU Mentor website at, pay the required application fee and submit your official transcripts from all colleges and universities attended to the Division of Graduate Studies. Applicants with multiple transcripts should remember that it may take the college or university issuing the transcripts several weeks to send the documents to SF State. To ensure more rapid processing, applicants should gather official University-sealed transcripts from each institution previously attended, place them together in the same large envelope and submit them by mail or in person to

Graduate Admissions
San Francisco State University
1600 Holloway Avenue (ADM 250)
San Francisco, CA 94132-4013

eTranscripts will be accepted from participating universities and should be sent to

Transfer Credit from Other Institutions, including graduate courses taken at another university, are not transferable to the College of Business Certificate in Ethics & Compliance program.

Be mindful of the University and College of Business certificate program deadlines. University deadlines are found at: and the Business Certificate in Ethics & Compliance application deadlines are July 15 for Fall admission and November 1 for Spring admission. Evaluation of a student application will not be initiated until all University application materials have been received. Admissions decisions for student acceptance/decline for the program will be 4–6 weeks after all transcripts are received.

Notice of Admission or Denial

After review of all application materials, the College of Business Certificate in Ethics & Compliance admission committee will notify the SF State Graduate Admissions office of their admission recommendations. Applicants will be formally notified of their admission status 4–6 weeks after all transcripts and records are received with receipt of the official SF State Graduate Admission Notification Letter, issued by the SF State Division of Graduate Studies. Letters of admission from the Business Certificate program received prior to the official SF State Admission Notification Letter are not binding. Applicants who are denied by either the University or the College of Business Certificate program will receive notification of denial from the Division of Graduate Studies. Applicants can monitor their admission status online on the SF State Gateway, which can be accessed 24/7 from the Graduate Studies or University main web pages.

Admission status as Post-baccalaureate Unclassified: Students admitted to the Graduate Business Certificate in Ethics & Compliance program will register for classes as Post-baccalaureate Unclassified students and should contact the College of Business Graduate Studies office for scheduling an advisor meeting prior to registering for the certificate courses.