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Innovation & Product Development

The Innovation and Product Development Specialized Studies will not be offered after the Fall 2021 Quarter. Individuals interested in earning the specialized studies certificate must successfully complete all program requirements by this date. If you have any questions, please email or call (949) 824-9742.


Designed to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to move through the creativity and innovation process and take new ideas to the commercial marketplace, this program provides an intensive examination of the scope of demands of real-world innovation and product development, whether tangible object, system or service.

Throughout this program, learn to think about designing new or updated products, services or processes, the logistics of implementing those ideas, and how to do it all in the corporate environment or entrepreneurial space. Leave this program equipped with the skills and expertise needed to operate in high-functioning teams and creative product- and service-development-focused environments.

Who Should Enroll

  • Product development managers
  • Software managers
  • Engineers
  • First-line supervisors
  • Project managers
  • Entrepreneurs and “wantrepreneurs”
  • Marketing managers
  • R&D personnel
  • International audiences concerned with US design thinking

Career Insight

Occupational summary for managers. Source: Economic Modeling Specialists Intl.

Annual Job Openings
Projected Growth
Median Salary
(Highly experienced workers can earn up to $183k)

Program Benefits

After completing this program, students will be able to:

  • Formulate plans to implement new or updated products, services or processes or produce new devices, including plans to go to market
  • Design new or updated products, services, or processes to fulfill unmet needs
  • Create a plan using entrepreneurship strategies and tactics to advance employment in an organization focused on new product, service or process development
  • Analyze the viability of a new product or innovation, and identify potential challenges that may arise when bringing to market
  • Utilize rapid prototyping/systems thinking to refine new or updated products, services, and processes, or iterate on existing ideas or properties
  • Define customers and other relevant constituents, and utilize segmentation approaches to prioritize and determine gaps between wants, gets or unmet needs
  • Examine how customers perceive competitive products and services
  • Explain the rationale for the design and marketing plan for the new or updated product, service or process
  • Identify customers, product or service features, including pricing, promotion and distribution strategies to go to market
Learn from a recent graduate how he was able to immediately apply his newly acquired knowledge and skills on the job and elevate his position.

Course Schedule

Course schedules are subject to change. Individual courses may be taken without enrolling in the full program.

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Academic Calendar

Event Summer 2022 Fall 2022 Winter 2023 Spring 2023
Registration Begins (after 2pm PT) Apr 21 Jul 14 Oct 20 Jan 19
Courses Begin* (week of) Jun 20 Sep 19 Jan 3 Mar 27
Courses End* (week of) Sep 6 Dec 12 Mar 13 Jun 5
Parking Permits Expire Sep 30 Dec 31 Mar 31 Jun 30
Administrative Holidays Jun 20, Jul 4, Sep 5 Nov 11, Nov 24-25, Dec 23, Dec 26, Dec 30, Jan 2 Jan 16, Feb 20 Mar 31, May 29

*Actual dates may vary by program.

Learn How To Earn Your Certificate

Specialized Studies Award Requirements

The Specialized Studies Award is earned upon completion of four (4) required courses for a total of ten (10) units or 100 hours of instruction, with a letter grade of “C” or better. To receive your digital certificate, submit a Request for Certificate with a non-refundable $35 application fee after completing all program requirements. All requirements must be completed within five (5) years after the student enrolls in his/her first course. Students not pursuing the specialized studies program are welcome to take individual courses.

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does the program cost?
  • Each course costs $620 due at the time of enrollment. There is also a Request for Specialized Studies fee of $35 to be paid upon completion of all required courses. Therefore the entire program costs $2,515. Please keep in mind that this cost does not include textbooks, which some of our instructors do require. Textbook information for specific courses can be found on our website on the enrollment page. Prices are subject to change without notice.
  • How long will it take me to complete the entire program?
  • That depends on how many classes you can take at once. Given that the program consists of 4 required courses, if you take one class per quarter you would be done in one year. Most students who work full time take one or two classes per quarter, depending on their work schedules and other obligations. You can take as many simultaneous courses as you wish, but we strongly recommend starting with one or two to ensure you have the necessary time to devote to the course(s).
  • Do I have to apply and be accepted before I start?
  • No. This is an open-enrollment program, and you will not have to provide transcripts or prove prerequisites before you begin.
  • Where can I find the course schedule? Do I have to take the classes in order?
  • The course schedule can be found here. You can take the classes in any order that you like.
  • Can I complete the entire program online?
  • Yes, this is a fully online specialized studies program.
  • I've never taken an online class. How does it work? Is it self-paced?
  • No, the classes are not self-paced. Our online classes take place in an asynchronous online environment, meaning there will not be a day of the week or time of day that you will need to be online. You can log in when you have time to do so. However, the courses are structured week-to-week, from Monday to Sunday, and you are expected to log in multiple times during the week to keep up with class discussions and assignments.
  • I am an international student / I am located overseas – am I able to enroll?
  • Yes. As an open-enrollment program, international students are welcome in the program. Please note that if English is not your native language, enrollment in this program assumes that you have a working proficiency in English to allow you to engage in high-level academic discourse without any additional language coaching. If you are interested in taking the program fully online, you may enroll in courses via the Continuing Education website at your convenience and on a quarter by quarter basis. You are not required to have a student visa while taking online courses from your home county.
  • Do you offer job placement at the end of the program?
  • No. While UCI DCE does not offer placement services, our certificate certainly puts you in a good position to find employment. Additionally, the networking to be done in the class can also be invaluable. Our advisors, instructors, and a good number of our students, are current professionals in the field, and are an excellent resource for hiring trends and opportunities.
  • Is UC Irvine Division of Continuing Education an accredited institution?
  • Yes. We are affiliated with the University of California system of schools, and are accredited through WASC. DCE programs are all approved by the respective school within UCI. For more information, please see UCI Accreditation.
  • I can't find the answer to my question.
  • If you have any additional questions, please feel free to contact Irene Dodds at

Advisory Committee

  • Ryan Foland, Senior Administrator of Social Media and Marketing, UC Irvine
  • Breanna Hale, Assistant Director, UCI Beall Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship
  • Henry Hernandez, BSME, MBA, VP of Global Marketing/Business Development, Medical Devices & Health Care Products
  • Dugan O'Keene, Concept Development Manager, Oakley
  • Victoria Tucker, Founder, Chief Dreamer, ZB-Global
  • Marty Wartenberg, Instructor, Consultant, UCI Division of Continuing Education

On-site Training Available

Our Corporate Training specialists can deliver this program or customize one that fits your organization’s specific needs. Visit Corporate Training or call (949) 824-1847 for information.

English Proficiency Requirement
All certificate programs at UCI Division of Continuing Education (classroom and online formats) require professional-level English language proficiency in listening and note-taking, reading comprehension and vocabulary, written expression, and oral presentation.

How to Identify Opportunities and Evaluate New Business Ideas
Recorded 12/3/2019
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Disrupting the Status Quo for Business Innovation
Recorded 3/14/2019
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