Graduate Certificate in Ethics & Compliance

Downtown Campus Exterior image of professor

A unique program that prepares students for success as Ethics and Compliance professionals in growing industries such as healthcare, biotech, information technology, manufacturing, and hospitality.

The Business Certificate in Ethics & Compliance equips students with the necessary skills to prevent their organizations from committing errors that violate ethical standards of best practice or regulatory compliance. Ethics and compliance (E&C) specialists assess a company’s ethical impacts on their stakeholders and use analytical tools 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 employees, customers, suppliers, regulators, and communities.

Examples of tools developed and supported by E&C specialists include corporate codes of conduct, employee training, regulatory compliance processes, analytical assessment and forecasting, negotiation strategies, and advising top management and senior organizational leaders on ethical corporate practices, policies and cultures.

Students who earn a Graduate Certificate in Ethics & Compliance will develop skills in a variety of E&C areas, including:

  • Ethical issues identification and solutions-based mindsets.
  • Ethical analysis and data-analytics decision-making models for strategic planning.
  • Understanding the complexities of technology and protections for stakeholder privacy.
  • Operating as change agents in the negotiation to effect organizational change.
  • Developing best practices in leadership of organizational processes.

Required courses

Students must complete the following three required courses with a letter grade of at least a B in order to attain the Business Certificate in Ethics & Compliance. The three integrated courses below 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 850 Ethics and Compliance in Business - Focus on integrity, understanding and applying managerial ethical decision-making, understanding regulatory compliance as it relates to a variety of organizational functions, developing ethics training, and evaluating stakeholder impacts. Extensive use of decision-making application models through case studies and interactive exercises. Research or internship in an area specific to students' careers.
  • MGMT 857 Leadership in Action - This course focuses on the strategic, operational, functional, ethical and integrity challenges of leadership in practice. It is taught by faculty using leadership readings, case studies, experiential exercises, and incorporates frequent corporate leaders as guest speakers.
  • BUS 859/IBUS 859 Business Negotiating in the Global Economy - Development of business negotiating skills through experiential exercises, negotiation role-plays, and cases involving common business negotiation situations and contexts. An emphasis is placed on learning negotiation fundamentals first, and then understanding how to adjust those fundamentals to be effective internationally and cross-culturally. Integrity and ethics issues associated with domestic and international negotiations are explored. This course is offered as BUS 859 and IBUS 859. Students may not repeat the course under an alternate prefix.

For detailed course descriptions and prerequisite requirements, visit the SFSU Bulletin.

Applying to the Certificate Program

We welcome applications from current matriculated San Francisco State University graduate students (domestic and international) and non-matriculated post-baccalaureate domestic students seeking a specialization in Ethics & Compliance. This certificate is available to individuals who have a four-year bachelor’s degree and a GPA of 3.0 or higher.

All interested students must formally apply to the Graduate Certificate in Ethics & Compliance through Cal State Apply (link is external). Applicants are required to upload unofficial transcripts, a statement of interest, and current CV/Résumé to Cal State Apply (link is external).

Applications are accepted on a rolling basis with deadlines in May and October. Visit our Admissions page to see specific application dates and deadlines.

Important: to apply for certificates, please go to your “EXTENDED PROFILE” and under "DEGREE GOAL" select “CERTIFICATE”, then choose "Graduate Certificate in Ethics & Compliance" and SAVE.

Students in the Graduate Certificate in Ethics & Compliance program may apply the academic credit for the three courses to the San Francisco State University Lam Family College of Business MBA program after taking either the GMAT or GRE, and after applying for and being accepted to the MBA program. The student must complete the MBA program within seven years from the completion of each Business Certificate in Ethics & Compliance class for each class to receive credit towards the MBA program.

More Information

If you have questions about the program, please contact one of the following faculty.

You will need Adobe Reader to view PDF files, please visit: for a free Adobe Reader download.