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Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate

Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate

The Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (DEI) Certificate is a 12-hour program at USM that provides students and professionals the skills needed to be leaders on issues of diversity, equity and inclusion, either within a chosen career field or for personal development in issues related to social justice.

The DEI Certificate can be completed in either of the following ways:

  • As an additional credential that supplements a major for students who are currently earning an undergraduate degree. 
  • On its own as a separate credential for working professionals or others who have already graduated or simply wish to enhance their existing credentials in this critical area.

Many fields—including business, healthcare, education, law, and social services—are increasingly paying attention to issues of diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace. For instance, a recent study by Forbes concluded that increased focus on DEI was directly related to increases in workplace innovation and creativity. Another study found that organizations implementing DEI practices are more likely to get the most out of their employees. And yet another study conducted by McKinsey & Company found that companies embracing DEI practices were roughly 25% more productive than those that did not enact DEI practices. As such, workplaces around the world are increasingly looking not only for employees who understand and appreciate the importance of these concepts but also those that can model them, provide leadership, and navigate the organization towards embracing a culture of diversity, equity, and inclusion. 

Through this DEI certificate, students who will be entering the job market or professionals who are already well-established in their fields can signal their knowledge and strengths in DEI to employers, enhancing their credentials in securing a new job or seeking a promotion. 

What Will I Learn?

Gain a wide range of knowledge and skills to competently engage with DEI. These include learning:

  • A broad understanding of human diversity and its social implications
  • A structural framework for addressing equity issues
  • Why inequity is a societal issue, not a problem of individuals
  • How social science informs DEI practices
  • Analytical skills for identifying and addressing systemic inequities
  • Methods of seeking social justice
  • The importance of using an intersectional approach
  • What privilege is and is not
  •  Practices for fostering societal inclusion
  •  How to engage with others more inclusively and equitably 

Certificate Coordinator

Dr. Jessica Valles 

Certificate Coordinator

Campus Map



Career Pathways 

Many workplaces are seeking employees who can give evidence of their ability to work effectively with diverse coworkers and clients, as well as creating job positions dedicated to promoting DEI within their organization.

The DEI Certificate supplements your existing credentials to give you specific skills that can be applied to any field. As part of the program, students can choose specialized courses focused on sectors such as health, education, criminology, law, and military (see List B below under Certificate Requirements for more details). 


  • Healthcare 
  • Advertising
  • Human resources/EEO
  •  Business 
  • Marketing 
  • Criminal Justice
  • Education 
  • Social work
  • Diversity & Inclusion Centers


How to Add a Certificate Program




Certificate Plan Availability 
Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Certificate Hattiesburg