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. 

What Sets Us Apart

  Deep focus on teacher and leader practice
  Virtual coaching by expert instructional coaches throughout the school year
 Rich, sustained, and advanced professional development

About the Program

The Project-Based Learning certificate program provides an innovative professional learning experience that allows currently practicing educators to leverage the educational expertise of Penn GSE’s faculty and some of the most skilled and experienced student-centered learning practitioners from across the country. The program was developed in collaboration with the Science Leadership Academy, the Workshop School, Inquiry Schools, and EL Education.

Professional development3 Continuing Education Credits from Penn GSE

Ideal candidatesCurrent elementary, middle, or high school teacher; instructional coach; department chair; principal; or other instructional leaders

Programs for Working Professionals
Teacher Programs & Certifications

The Project-Based Learning certificate program is advanced professional development. The program is designed to help you engage your students in authentic intellectual inquiry, facilitate learning through projects, and develop vital student skills such as critical thinking and collaborative problem-solving. 

The program begins with a virtual summer institute. Throughout the school year, you will work with an expert instructional coach from the program’s instructional team. Coaches provide ongoing feedback and support that you can use immediately. The program concludes with a final virtual institute where you will continue to develop yourself as an instructional leader within your schools and community. 


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. If you’re interested in this opportunity, click here to access our scholarship application.

Our Faculty

Our PBL leadership and instructional team serves across our multiple PBL programs and brings deep experience and expertise in teacher development and student-centered approaches to teaching and learning.

Penn GSE Faculty Kristin Komatsubara
STEM Instructor, San Diego Teacher Residency, High Tech High Graduate School of Education
Ed.D., UC San Diego
Penn GSE Faculty Zachary Herrmann
Adjunct Assistant Professor
Ed.L.D., Harvard University
Penn GSE Faculty Tyler Thigpen
Co-founder, The Forest School & the Institute for Self Directed Learning
Ed.L.D., Harvard University
Penn GSE Faculty Richard Staniec
Physics and Integrated Science Teacher, Upper Perkiomen High School
M.Ed., St. Joseph’s University
Penn GSE Faculty Elizabeth Gotwalt
Academic Director, Project-Based Learning Certificate Program
Penn GSE Faculty Tina Schuster
Director of Pedagogy and Innovation, HTH Graduate School of Education
M.Ed., University of Virginia
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 Gina Wickstead
Humanities Teacher and Facilitator, High Tech Middle Media Arts
M.A.T., Johns Hopkins University
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 Melissa Viola-Askey
Social Studies Professional Development Specialist, Prince William County Schools
Ed.M., University at Buffalo

Program Leadership

Zachary Herrmann
Co-Academic Director

Advisory Team

Advisory Team

Pam Grossman
Dean, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education
Ph.D., Stanford University

Christopher Pupik Dean
Senior Fellow
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Matthew Riggan
Co-Founder, The Workshop School
Ph.D., University of Pennsylvania

Chris Lehmann
Founding Principal and CEO, Science Leadership Academies
M.A., Columbia University  

Sarah Schneider Kavanagh
Assistant Professor
Ph.D., University of Washington

Meg Riordan
Director of External Research & Project Director, Teacher Potential Project, EL Education
Ph.D., New York University

What Our Participants Are Saying

“A rich, in-depth, transformative experience!” – Project-Based Learning program participant

“Amazing! One of the best professional development experiences I’ve ever had. It challenged me, and I was immersed in an experience that provided specific ways for me to take what I’ve learned and implement it immediately.” Project-Based Learning program participant

Contact Us

For more information about the Project-Based Learning certificate program, contact us at ProfessionalLearning@gse.upenn.edu