Certificate in Design Thinking



The Certificate in Design Thinking is a 3-month course designed to help you develop a new mindset and toolbox for solving  organizational and societal challenges.

Description: As leaders, one of the most creative things we can do is gather teams to solve problems. But when our solutions fail to  work as expected, it's often because we have failed to clearly understand the needs and desires of the people who will be using the  solution. That's where design thinking comes in -- a human-centered, problem-solving process that leads to better products,  processes, and services. Unlike most design processes that start with assumptions and move quickly toward a solution, design  thinking engages designers in activities to understand and empathize with the mindset of users. It rests on the concept of "learning  early to succeed sooner" through experiments, tests, and basic prototypes, thus refining potential solutions until the users' needs are  met. With significant experience teaching and implementing design thinking in organizations, Gonzaga University's School of  Leadership Studies has designed the Certificate in Design Thinking to help leaders develop a new mindset and toolbox for solving  organizational and societal challenges. In this 14-week, online/on-campus course, you'll apply design thinking principles to actual,  real-time organizational challenges. Be prepared for a transformative shift in the way you look at everyday problems! 

Learning Outcomes:

  • Understand how design thinking addresses gaps and limitations in current brainstorming and problem-solving practice
  • Learn how to shift the mindset of problem-solving from solution-focused to problem-focused, with attention to the user experience.
  • Learn how to gather data and interpret insights about users to focus a challenge at hand
  • Develop the mindset, skills and tools for more productive brainstorming, prototyping and testing that can be applied to real-life challenges.


The course is online (approximately 3-5 hours a week), including a two-day virtual immersion and one 1-hour Zoom meeting per week (to be scheduled according to students availability). Unlike some universities’ online offerings, Gonzaga’s online Certificates courses are highly interactive. The structured curriculum is a balance between independent assignments that you can complete on your own schedule and practical challenges that you’ll complete with classmates.



Cindy Snyder, M.B.A., and Rachelle Strawther, Ed.D., M.A.


Class size:

No more than 20 students per cohort


Fall 2020 course dates: September 2nd – December 11th


-Virtual immersion dates: September 18th - 19th. This virtual immersion will be a live gathering for students to connect and discuss what they are learning together. All students need to commit to being available for the virtual immersion.


-How to enroll: No application required. Enrollment period is now open! Students must have 5 years of work experience or an undergraduate degree.




Spring 2021 course dates: January 20th – April 30th, 2021


-Immersion dates: February 12th - 13th, 2021 (Tentative)


-How to enroll: No application required. Enroll directly between November 1st, 2020 - December 15th, 2020. Students must have 5 years of work experience or an undergraduate degree. 




Fall 2020: $2,900 (a special rate for the pilot cohort only). We offer scholarships of 30% off tuition to anyone employed by a government agency, public sector agency, or 501c3 non-profit (including non-profit educational institutions).


Spring 2021: $3,200


No payment is required at the time of enrollment. Bills will be issued to participants in July. 

Upon completion, students receive a transcripted Certificate from Gonzaga University and seven (7) Continuing Education credits.