History has shown that stories are inextricably linked to what it means to be human. Before there was formal communication, there were stories. It should come as no surprise, then, that social movements and organizations like nonprofits, foundations, and socially responsible businesses are now working to leverage stories as a strategic tool to advance important missions. Effective stories are powerful because they drive action: spurring donations, mobilizing supporters, and more. By building emotional connections, stories bring to life the work of the issues we care so much about in ways that other forms of communication cannot.
Georgetown University’s Online Certificate in Social Impact Storytelling teaches changemakers of all types, especially current and aspiring marketers, communicators, fundraisers, and journalists, how to harness the power of effective storytelling for the strategic benefit of an organization and society as a whole. With a curriculum developed from Georgetown University’s renowned Center for Social Impact Communication, the program provides you with opportunities to learn from applied research, engage with expert faculty and industry thought leaders, and develop your personal skills as a storyteller.
Ideal for: Current & aspiring social impact professionals
Current & aspiring social impact professionals
Duration: 3 months
Schedule: Online courses
Semester of Entry: Fall & summer
Semester of Entry
Fall & summer
Upon successful completion of the certificate, you’ll be able to:
Explain how stories throughout history have acted as a tool for influence and express how to harness that power today
Use the research-proven building blocks of effective stories to drive emotional connections with target audiences
Develop a strategic plan for using storytelling within your social impact work
Create a portfolio of stories for personal and professional use
Assess how future trends in social impact storytelling could apply to your own work
Create personal action steps to maximize your role as a story changemaker
Testimonials from current students and alumni.
This program helped cement for me not just the ‘why’ but the ‘how’ of social change storytelling. More than ever, I feel equipped to find, build and share the stories that will serve communities and advance the work of my organization.
Krista A. Jahnke
Certificate in Social Impact Storytelling
You must successfully complete the six required courses in sequence as a cohort for a total of 12.6 Continuing Education Units (CEUs), which is equivalent to 126.0 contact hours.
The fully online program combines asynchronous instruction with six live bi-weekly online class cohort meetings via Zoom that are one-hour in length to facilitate cohort networking and discussions with special guests. Each module is two weeks in length within the 3-month program.
Fundamentals of Social Impact Storytelling (1.8 CEUs)
Designing Stories With Purpose and Emotion (2.7 CEUs)
Creating Your Story Portfolio (2.7 CEUs)
Building A Sustainable Culture of Storytelling (1.8 CEUs)
Future of Storytelling (1.8 CEUs)
Becoming A Story Changemaker (1.8 CEUs)
What Is Live Online Learning?
Live online instruction is enhanced by incorporating various instructional practices and technology tools. Features such as Zoom video conferencing, breakout rooms, and chat allow for real-time interaction and collaboration among learners. Tools like Google Docs, Slides, Sheets, and Canvas Groups facilitate teamwork and information sharing within the learning community. Polling, surveys, and threaded discussion boards promote active engagement and the expression of opinions. It is important to foster social respect, privacy, and incorporate Jesuit values to create a supportive and inclusive online environment. By utilizing these practices and tools effectively, live online instruction can be engaging, interactive, and conducive to meaningful learning experiences.
John D. Trybus, Ph.D. is a social strategist on a mission to help impact organizations embrace the blur—between sectors, functions, departments and human strengths—for good. He leads and manages Georgetown ... Read more
How to Apply
Application Opens—Jan 1
Application Opens—Sep 1
Please review the refund policies in our Student Handbook before completing your registration.
You must hold a bachelor's degree or the equivalent in order to enroll in our certificate programs. For each cohort, an application review committee offers admission to a diverse group of students to enrich the classroom experience.
Tips for the Online Application
Our online application securely stores your information and saves your progress so you can update and complete your information at your convenience
Click the “SAVE” button at each stage of the application process to ensure that your work and documents are uploaded
Tips for Your Letter of Recommendation (not required for all programs)
Your recommender is notified when you submit your online application
Notify your recommenders ahead of time and submit your application at least one week prior to the deadline to allow time for them to complete and submit your recommendation
A personal email address for your recommender works best
Government, military, and corporate email servers often have filters that delay or prevent messages from being delivered
International students who enter the U.S. on a valid visa are eligible to enroll in certificate courses. However, Georgetown University cannot sponsor student visas for noncredit professional certificate programs.
A TOEFL examination is not required for non-native speakers of English but students are expected to read, write, and comprehend English at the graduate level to fully participate in and gain from the program.
Students from most countries may register for our online certificate programs, however, due to international laws, residents of certain countries are prohibited from registering.
Tuition & Funding
Tuition varies by course. Total program tuition for all 6 courses is $5,995. Most course materials are included.
Noncredit professional certificates do not qualify for federal financial aid, scholarships, grants, or needs-based aid. However, several finance and funding options do exist, as listed below.
Some employers offer funding for employee education or professional development. If an employer guarantees payment for employee education and training, Georgetown will accept an Intent to Pay form. If you are using employer sponsorship or training authorizations, you must submit an Intent to Pay form with your registration.
If your employer will pay for your tuition, select “Third-Party Billing” as your method of payment when you register for courses online. Please submit an Intent to Pay form indicating that your employer or another third party should be billed for tuition. Invoices will not be generated without this form on file.
Eligible Georgetown employees may use their Tuition Assistance Program (TAP) benefits to fund 90% of the certificate program tuition—employees will be invoiced for the remaining 10% of tuition and must pay any other charges associated with their certificate program. Employees using TAP benefits may work directly with the HR Benefits Office to ensure payment prior to the start of any course. This payment option is only valid if registration occurs at least 10–14 business days prior to the start date of the first course. Any fees incurred due to course withdrawal are the student’s responsibility and are not funded by Georgetown University TAP. For questions regarding TAP benefits, please contact the HR/Benefits Office at firstname.lastname@example.org or (202) 687-2500.
SCS is registered with GoArmyEd.com to accept SF-182 training authorization forms. GoArmyEd.com is the virtual gateway for all eligible active duty, National Guard, and Army Reserve soldiers to request Tuition Assistance (TA) online. GoArmyEd.com is also the virtual gateway for Army Civilians to apply for their Civilian education, training, and leadership development events.
The professional certificate programs offer an interest-free payment plan for certificate programs that are more than one month in duration and for which the total tuition is greater than or equal to $4,000. The payment plan is structured in the following manner:
Payment #1: A down payment of 25% of the total tuition balance must be paid online (within 72 hours after you register and select Payment Plan) via the Noncredit Student Portal. Please submit your down payment as soon as possible.
Payments #2, #3, and #4: Your remaining balance will be due in three (3) equal monthly installments beginning 30 calendar days after your down payment is processed. Your monthly payments must be paid via credit card in the Noncredit Student Portal. You will be able to access each invoice and payment due date in your student account.
PLEASE NOTE: Automatic Payment Service is not available. You must make each subsequent payment via the Noncredit Student Portal.
A number of tuition benefits are available through the Department of Veterans Affairs and under various parts of the GI Bill®. Please visit the Resources for Military Students page for additional information and instructions.
Some students choose to finance certificate programs with private education loans. Students are responsible for contacting lenders directly to find out if a noncredit professional certificate program is eligible for a loan. While Georgetown University will not recommend specific lenders, it will certify loans for eligible programs from approved lenders.
For eligible noncredit professional certificate programs, Georgetown University will certify loan amounts up to the full cost of tuition for the program. Tuition does not cover books, travel, or living expenses. Please see individual program pages for tuition rates.
Georgetown University has a unique campus code for Sallie Mae. Our Sallie Mae branch code is 001445-99.
You must be approved for a loan before registering for courses. Follow these steps to pursue a loan option:
Check the list of lenders that have offered private education loans in the past to Georgetown University students.
Contact the lender and confirm your program is eligible for a private education loan.
Obtain the necessary paperwork and apply for the loan.
Georgetown will certify loan amounts based on the information below. Please note that our branch code is 001445-99.
If approved, register for courses:
Payment sent to Georgetown: Select “Third-Party Payment” at the time of registration if the lender is sending funds directly to Georgetown.
Note: It is your responsibility to contact Georgetown University Noncredit Student Accounts at email@example.com to ensure that your loan is processed.
Only one tuition discount may be applied at the time of registration. Tuition discounts cannot be combined. Tuition discounts are not applied retroactively. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.
Georgetown University alumni and SCS certificate completers are eligible to receive a 30% tuition discount for many certificates offered within SCS’s Professional Development & Certificates (PDC) portfolio. When registering for an eligible certificate through the SCS website, you will see the "30% Georgetown Alumni Discount" as an option. The Enrollment Team will then verify your eligibility status as a Georgetown University alumnus or certificate completer.
Eligible federal employees across the country receive a 10% scholarship applied to the current tuition rate for all SCS degree programs and professional certificate programs each academic semester. Please contact email@example.com for steps to be added to this discount group.