Micro-Credentials by Industry and Government Partners

The Penn State Department of Architectural Engineering (AE) hosts several micro-credentialing sessions throughout the year to complement the AE curriculum and prepare our students for the ever-changing professional landscape of the architectural engineering discipline. We invite our alumni, industry, and government partners to offer micro-credential sessions in their areas of expertise.

What are AE micro-credentials?

Micro-credentials recognize specific student accomplishments, experiences, knowledge, or skills. They are awarded in the form of verifiable digital badges that students can earn by obtaining a pass grade on an assignment. The students can then share the badges on LinkedIn and other online mediums, as well as incorporate them into their résumés and e-portfolios.

The concept of micro-credentialing follows the principles of competency-based learning, acknowledging participation, knowledge, and skills gained in both formal and informal professional learning experiences. In AE, micro-credentials can be configured in two different ways: (1) broadly focused micro-credentials that expand our students’ horizons and (2) topically focused micro-credentials that augment a specific course.

Broadly focused micro-credentials

These micro-credentials require low-level pre-requisite knowledge and appeal to a broad student audience (i.e., second- to fifth-year AE students and students from other departments, such as civil and environmental engineering, mechanical engineering, etc.). When appropriate, the target audience can be a specific group of students (e.g., third- and fourth-year AE students in mechanical option).

As the instructor of a broadly focused micro-credentialing session, you’ll need to think about how to present your content in a way that AE students will comprehend (typically in a four to 16-hour session). A presentation you give at industry conferences can be a good starting point, but you’ll likely need to tailor the content for an audience that is less familiar with the topic. For this type of micro-credentialing sessions, you may need to provide additional background, context information, and/or take a deeper dive into the fundamentals underlying your topic. To capture students’ interest, the micro-credentialing session must be challenging and relevant to their careers after school.

Topically focused micro-credentials

These micro-credentials are developed to augment one or more specific course(s) in the architectural engineering curriculum. AE faculty teaching the course(s) provides ample background to the micro-credentialing instructor on the prerequisite knowledge the students have and closely collaborates during the content development. These micro-credentialing sessions often become a required component of the existing AE course, where the student participation is guaranteed by the enrollments in the class.

Why are micro-credentials important?

  • Micro-credentials help Penn State architectural engineering students further distinguish themselves from their peers at other institutions.
  • Micro-credentials help students communicate the value of new learning experiences to employers.
  • Employers value the specificity of micro-credentials because they state exactly what a student knows how to do.
  • Our students value opportunities to learn from practitioners in the field.

Should you teach a micro-credentialing short course?

The answer is YES, if you can:

  • help students understand the practical application of theories they are learning in class,
  • introduce them to topics that are important in your field—but not typically taught in undergraduate courses and
  • help students gain essential skills that would be highly beneficial in their careers after school.

How can you prepare a micro-credentialing short course?

Great micro-credentials have a few key ingredients:

  • Engaging content with student involvement during lectures (such as frequent Q&As embedded in the lecture)
  • Specific descriptions of the knowledge, skills, or abilities that students will acquire
  • Hands-on exercises where students solve a problem or practice a skill
  • A deliverable that will require the students to demonstrate their comprehension of the presented content, and an associated assessment rubric to evaluate student comprehension
  • Activities, assignments, or reading materials that will allow students to recall or practice what they learned after the workshop

Contact us

  • Technical questions, including how to get started: Alp Durmus
  • Administrative questions: Abby Ranio



Globally recognized as a leading architectural engineering department, the mission of the Department of Architectural Engineering at Penn State is to advance the built environment through the development of world-class architectural engineers and research. The vision of the Department of Architectural Engineering at Penn State is to lead the world in innovative education and research to achieve high-performing built environments. Our program emphasizes the scientific and engineering aspects of planning, designing, and constructing buildings, providing our architectural engineering graduates with outstanding education and research opportunities. 

Department of Architectural Engineering

104 Engineering Unit A

The Pennsylvania State University

University Park, PA 16802

Phone: 814-865-6394