What is an undergraduate certificate?
An undergraduate certificate is our version of a minor. Each certificate is made up of a set of courses our students take in addition to their primary degree. These courses are meant to broaden skills in a specific area of interest in addition to a major. Most of our courses are part of VCU's Relevant, Experiential and Applied Learning (REAL) initiative, giving students the opportunity to work collaboratively with real world clients.
How do I get a da Vinci Center certificate?
All students who are accepted to VCU are welcome to apply and are not required to have a declared major. Follow these steps to apply:
- Complete the application (applications accepted on a rolling basis, apply any time!)
- Register for INNO 200, if you have not taken it already
- Our academic director will review your application
- Be on the lookout for an email with our decision
Does the da Vinci Center offer a major?
While we don’t offer a formal major, any of our undergraduate certificates can be incorporated into a major from the Interdisciplinary Studies Program (for example the UI/UX pathway).
Undergraduate Info Session Video and Q&A Dates
Are you interested in working with other students across different disciplines? Are you fascinated by creating solutions to complex problems? Have you always wanted to start a business or nonprofit? Watch our Information Session for Undergraduates video to learn more. We’ll explain exactly what a certificate is and then talk about our programs in Product Innovation and Venture Creation, as well as other classes and programs we offer.
Undergraduate Certificate in Product Innovation
We use the term, “product innovation” loosely. This certificate is a cross-disciplinary certificate that embodies concepts from the arts, business and engineering, focusing on design thinking and creative problem-solving. Students are provided a robust learning experience to understand the challenges associated with and means for managing product design, product development, and more.
The Certificate in Product Innovation allows undergraduate students to develop competency in the area of product innovation.
Employing a cross-disciplinary perspective that embodies concepts from arts, design, business, engineering, and humanities and sciences, students receive a robust learning experience that leads to an understanding of the challenges associated with and means for managing product design, product development and new-product introduction endeavors.
The Certificate in Product Innovation program runs concurrently with a student’s major and is not a stand-alone program. In order to participate in the program, students must have a declared major in the schools of the Arts, Business, Engineering, the College of Humanities and Sciences, or another VCU unit that is an official partner of the da Vinci Center.
- Collaborate successfully: Students will demonstrate successful collaborative skills by learning how to work in teams, manage team conflict and organization and apply these learnings in real teaming situations.
- Develop product concepts: Students will demonstrate the ability to develop and test effective product concepts and prototypes.
- Think across disciplines: Students will demonstrate the ability to think across disciplines through taking courses outside their main area of study and working on teams with students from various backgrounds.
- Use effective verbal and oral communication: Students will be prepared to effectively express product innovation ideas and views in both verbal and written forms. Students will also be able to effectively communicate using verbal presentations and written executive reports.
Undergraduate Certificate in Venture Creation
Venture Creation is the perfect certificate for students who know that they want to start a business, side hustle, or non-profit. Students work collaboratively with each other from start to finish in starting a new venture. Our approach focuses on using Human-Centered Design philosophies that put users first, resulting in useful and usable products and services.
Open to all VCU undergraduate students, the Certificate in Venture Creation focuses on developing a multidisciplinary mindset for successful entrepreneurialism and venture creation. Students participating in the program will hone understandings of the challenges, skills and resources necessary for venture creation, and through an immersive culmination experience, integrate these understandings around conceiving, planning and implementing a real venture.
The VCU Certificate in Venture Creation enables students to learn and do entrepreneurship. Students participating in this program will:
- Develop a venture creation mindset
- Effectively identify and address strategies to overcome venture creation challenges
- Apply venture creation skills to create, plan and implement a venture
- Effectively communicate through written and oral methods
Shift Retail Lab
As a recipient of the 2022 World Changing Ideas Awards for Fast Company, Shift Retail Lab provides an important space for student entrepreneurs to test their ideas through sales and customer feedback.