Event Management

Professional Certificate

Music and film festivals, fundraisers, tradeshows, conferences… whether it’s a spectacular celebration or a buttoned-up business meeting, coordinating the   multiple moving parts of any event requires thorough research, planning, promotion and seamless coordination.

The George Washington University Event Management Certificate Program prepares participants to design, plan and execute successful events for groups of any size. In addition to course requirements, the program prepares students by offering opportunities for on-site internships, practicums and portfolios.

The event management professional certificate program may be completed in the classroom, online or in a blended format that combines both online and in-class courses.

Download the Program Brochure

What Can You Expect to Gain from the Program?

  • Learn best practices and latest thinking for the design, planning and execution of successful events and meetings;
  • An understanding of the event and meeting industry through a study of seminars, conventions, conferences, expositions, trade shows and special events;
  • How to conduct effective event and meeting management research, including needs assessments, site analyses, situation analyses and feasibility studies;
  • First-hand insight into the industry via an on-site internships.

Is the Program Right for You? Event management is an ideal program if you are:

  • Preparing for a new career in meetings, events, travel,
  • sports management, tourism or hospitality;
  • An industry professional interested in enhancing your skills and advancing your career;
  • Charged with handling event and travel duties for your company or organization;
  • Working in a field unrelated to events and interested in changing careers.


Not only is event management endlessly dynamic, but for the foreseeable future it’s headed on a growth trajectory. US News & World Report ranks event planners rank #21 in Best Business Jobs, and the US Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts that the occupational outlook for event managers is expected to increase by 33 percent through 2022, which is faster than the average for all occupations.

Event Management Certificate Requirements

The Event Management Program is designed to be flexible and meet the needs of individuals interested in professional development and career advancement. Students may take individual courses in specific program areas or meet the following requirements to earn a professional certificate in event management:

1. Complete and pass the following four core courses worth 1.2 CEUs each (4.8 total CEUs overall). The core courses are offered as a five-day Event Management Core Skills Institute on campus four times a year. In addition, core courses may be taken as individual classes on-campus or online.

501  Best Practices in Event Management

502  Event Coordination

503  Event Marketing

504  Risk Management: Financial, Legal and Ethical Safeguards

2. Complete and pass elective courses totaling 3.6 CEUs. Elective courses are either worth 1.2 CEUs for two-day classes or 0.6 CEUs for one-day classes. All online courses are 1.2 CEUs. See course descriptions for a full listing of electives.

3. Complete a minimum of 100 hours of event management practicum experience.

4. Prepare and submit an event portfolio.

Admissions & Registration

To be admitted to the Event Management Certificate Program, students must have completed the equivalent of a high school diploma. International students not fluent in English must have a TOEFL PBT score of 600 or a TOEFL CBT score of 100. There is a Program Application Form and a $65 non-refundable fee for all students planning to complete the required course work and other requirements to attain a certificate. If you have questions or need help with registration, please contact us at [email protected] or call us at (202) 994-9708.

Program Fees & Financial Aid

Event Management Institute (4.8 CEUs) $1995

On-campus two-day session (1.2 CEUs) $550

On-campus one-day session (0.6 CEUs) $295

Online courses (1.2 CEUs) $450

Because the Event Management Certificate Program is a non-degree program, federally funded student loan programs are generally not available. The Event Management Certificate Program is not eligible for deferment of such loans.

If your company is paying for your classes and you would like to use a third-party payment process or you would like to pay by check, please email us at [email protected] or call us at (202) 994-9708.


Grades are emailed to participants within two weeks of the completion of courses. The grading system is pass or fail.

Graduation Requirements

In order to graduate, all participants must submit the graduation application form, found here. Upon successful completion of your course work, practicum, portfolio and graduation application form, you will be notified of the date, time and location of the Event Management Certificate Program graduation.

Important Policies

Extension & Reinstatement Policy

The Event Management Certificate Program is a two-year program. From the day you take your first class, you have two years (24 months) to complete your courses, practicum and portfolio. If for any reason during the two-year period you require an extension, you may email a letter of explanation to [email protected]. The Event Management Certificate program staff will review your request and determine if the extension request will be granted.

You are permitted to only receive a one-year extension. Once an extension is approved, you will receive a link to register for the extension via Cvent. There is a $15 charge to register for an extension.

Refund Policy

lf you cannot attend an on campus Event Management Certificate Program course as planned, you may transfer into a future course or receive a course credit as long as you let us know five business days prior to the first day of class. If you contact us with less than five business days notice, you are entitled to a course credit valued at 50% of the course fee. If you contact us on the day of the first class or after the class has occurred, you are not entitled to a course credit or transfer of any kind.

Credits may be applied toward the cost of any future course within the next year from date of issue. The Event Management Certificate Program credits are active for one year from the date of the class.

Refunds are given only if we cancel a course, although you will be

encouraged to transfer into a future course so you can complete your required course work. We will not issue refunds for courses which have been postponed due to inclement weather or other circumstances beyond our control. Refunds are processed within thirty days of the approval of the refund request.

Please note, online courses are non-refundable.

Event Management Certificate Courses

The Event Management Program is designed to be flexible and meet the various needs of individuals interested in professional development and career advancement. Students can take individual courses in specific program areas or meet the requirements to earn a professional certificate in event management.

To earn a certificate in event management from The George Washington University School of Business, students must successfully meet the following requirements:

Complete four core courses and three electives (offered in classroom or online) within two years of enrollment in the first course.

Complete a minimum of 100 hours of event management practicum experience.

Prepare and submit an event portfolio.

Upon successful completion of the seven event management classes, portfolio and practicum hours, students receive a professional Certificate in Event Management from The George Washington University School of Business.


For a listing of instructor bios, please click here.

Online Courses

You can start the online courses at any time, making it a convenient way  to enhance your career and/or to complete your certificate program. Once you start an online course, you have three months from the end of the month you enroll in the class to complete it. After registering, you will receive a confirmation with complete directions on how to attend an online class with the GWU Event Management Certificate Program. Each online course counts as 1.2 CEUs and costs $450 per course.

Event Management Core Skills Institute

The George Washington Event Management Core Skills Institute is offered as a weeklong, on-campus session. This Institute consolidates all four core courses (501, 502, 503 and 504) into a five-day intensive and interactive session (4.8 CEUs). The cost is only $1,995.00— $205 less than taking the four classes individually! Also, if you have already taken one or more of the core courses, we will deduct an additional $550 from the total cost of the institute (please email us at [email protected] if you qualify for this discount). We offer a Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter institute each year.

Upcoming Sessions:

June 11-15, 2018 (Monday–Friday, 9am-4pm)

August 13-17, 2018 (Monday-Friday, 9am-4pm)

December 10-14, 2018 (Monday-Friday, 9am–4pm)

This course addresses major trends and successful business practices in Event Management to provide the knowledge and tools to improve your effectiveness and profitability as an event manager.

Learn to:

  • Structure and manage an event planning schedule to improve profitability

  • Conduct comprehensive needs assessments and feasibility studies

  • Identify and prioritize event goals and objectives

  • Identify potential challenges to a successful event

  • Choose appropriate solutions by using efficient planning scenarios

  • Conduct mid- and post-event evaluations

  • Create and present proposals and agreements that are advantageous to all parties to an event

  • Appreciate the rewards of being in the event management profession

  • Good practices for sustainable tourism policies, plans and strategies

  • Innovation in tourism planning that minimize negative impacts and potential benefits to local economies

  • Trends in consumer demands around sustainable tourism

  • Guidelines and tools used in developing sustainable tourism strategies

This course covers the nuts and bolts of successfully coordinating a professional event.

Learn how to:

  • Develop creative elements including decor and entertainment and properly sequence them at events

  • Develop and implement a site plan and conduct a thorough site inspection

  • Understand the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), permit requirements and labor union issues and their impact on event coordination

  • Analyze and implement professional registration, admission procedures, security and protocol.

Participants will learn how to:

  • Organize guide tourism industry stakeholders toward good governance

  • Enhance a destination's competitiveness

  • Assess the sustainability of a destination and create a framework for public-private partnerships at the local, regional and national levels

  • Develop a destination management strategy

This course teaches participants how to use events to promote products, services, causes and events themselves.

Learn how to:

  • Identify and develop a promotional strategy, including the event proposal, invitations, advertising, publicity, contests, promotional merchandise, sales promotions, packaging, and personal  appearances

  • Distinguish the relative strengths of print, electronic and other advertising media

  • Analyze, establish and implement a public relations strategy using video and audio news releases and social media tools

  • Incorporate electronic media

  • Formulate an effective event sponsorship program

  • Conduct market research prior to the event

  • Create comprehensive marketing/sales measurement

Participants will learn how to:

  • Develop marketing, branding and positioning strategies for sustainable tourism products

  • Create consumer demand by leveraging digital and social media

  • Develop comprehensive marketing plans  

This course thoroughly and systematically analyzes potential threats to your events. As the final core course, this practical approach to risk management ensures that you understand and use every possible safeguard to produce safe and successful events.

Learn how to:

  • Identify different methods for managing risk

  • Understand how to prepare a crisis management plan

  • Understand the key components of event contracts

  • Comply with health , safety and security regulations

  • Conduct a thorough risk assessment for every event

  • Understand the duty of care owed to attendees and identify liability issues arising from injury or loss of property

  • Understand and comply with copyright, trademark and service mark protection  requirements

Please note that it is recommended you take Core Courses in the above order if you are pursuing the Certificate in Event Management. Elective courses may be taken before all core courses are completed.  However we do recommend that student take Best Practices in Event Management before taking any electives. Courses can be taken onsite or online. These recommendations do not apply if you are only taking one or a few courses for career enhancement.


Elective Courses

Complete and pass elective courses totaling 3.6 CEUs. Elective Courses are either worth 1.2 CEUs for two-day classes or 0.6 CEUs for one-day classes. The total CEUs required for the Event Management Certificate are 8.4 CEUs.


Certificate candidates must complete a total of 100 practicum hours for graduation. You may begin your practicum after you have completed your first course.

Portfolio and Practicum hours must be separate. This means hours used for your practicum cannot be from the same event you are doing for your portfolio. The portfolio project can be part of your current job. Also, we request that students NOT use their regular/current jobs as hours for the practicum. This is because we want students to experience more than one facet of event planning and management to get a more rounded view of the discipline.

If you "work" more than 25 hours at the same location/ organization, you must submit a letter of reference from that organization along with the Practicum Summary Form. You are allowed to acquire all 100 hours with one organization. We do not encourage this practice as we would like to see you experience a variety volunteer opportunities.

It is usually not difficult to achieve 100 practicum hours. Check with your local convention center to see what events are in coming to the center. Consider making a list of cause related organizations such as the American Cancer Society or the Humane Society. Visit their websites for upcoming events and contact them about volunteering. Yelp.com lists volunteer opportunities by zip code. Practicum hours are considered field hours. The experiences should help you gain a more thorough perspective of the industry.

Practicum forms:

Portfolio Requirements

Your portfolio is documentation of an actual event which you have planned from beginning to end. In order to earn your certificate, you must demonstrate an understanding of the research, design, planning, coordination and evaluation processes including administration, marketing, legal, ethical and risk management issues.

The event may be a part of your current job but you MUST play a lead or significant role in the planning and coordination of the entire event. Only events that have occurred after you enrolled in the event management program qualify.

Your event should be of the size and breadth that allows for key elements of the portfolio such as a budget, vendor contracts, a floor plan, timeline and production schedule. A dinner party for friends will not qualify for a portfolio. Examples of approved portfolio events include: change of command ceremonies, anniversary parties, weddings, bridal showers, fashion shows, and fundraiser.

The total portfolio, excluding Table of Contents and Portfolio Affirmation and Release Form may not exceed 65 pages. Portfolio grading is based on a possible total of 150 points. You must earn 75% (or 113 points) to pass. If you score less than 75%/113 points, you will have an opportunity to re-submit your portfolio with corrections. Portfolios must be re-submitted within two weeks of receipt of the returned portfolio.

Please note, it is highly recommended you schedule a meeting with an Event Management Certificate Program counselor at the beginning of your course work and when getting ready to work on your portfolio.

Portfolio and practicum hours should be separate. This means hours used for your practicum cannot be from the same event you are doing for your portfolio if the portfolio is part of your current job. Also, we request that students NOT use their regular/current jobs as hours for the practicum. This is because we want students to experience more than one facet of event planning and management to get a more rounded view of the discipline.

For portfolio-specific questions email Kristi Long at [email protected]

Program Application Form