Established by Cornell University, eCornell is an online learning company that offers more than 40 MBA-quality professional development certificate programs, corporate programs, and WebSeries that can help you gain today's most in-demand skills.
eCornell certificates take between two and nine months to complete and consist of between four and 18 courses. Each of these courses is authored by Cornell faculty members, designed in collaboration with eCornell’s instructional designers, and staffed by industry expert instructors.
The eCornell website notes that their coursework is “expressly designed to fit the lives of insanely busy professionals,” so 100% of your coursework is completed online through their learning management system.
Here, you’ll find modules that require you to discuss ideas with other learners, along with video and text lectures, quizzes, case studies, and a variety of other tools.
Together, eCornell tells us they offer more than 120 courses across their certificate programs, and serve 130,000+ students and 2,500+ companies across 180+ countries.
As far as universities go, Cornell certainly has a lofty reputation. But does that necessarily mean a certificate from eCornell will help you learn what you need? Will it set you apart in the eyes of a prospective employer?
Let’s start by outlining the different programs available through eCornell.
Which Certificates, WebSeries, & On-Demand Training Does eCornell Offer?
Marketing – Developed by the Johnson Graduate School of Management: Digital Marketing, Marketing Strategy, Data-Driven Marketing, New Media Marketing for the Hospitality Professional, Hospitality Marketing
Finance and Managerial Accounting – Financial Management, Measuring and Improving Business Performance
Healthcare – Developed by the College of Human Ecology: Executive Leadership for Healthcare Professionals, Healthcare Facilities Planning and Design, Healthcare Leadership
Corporate certificates also available in: Healthcare Facilities Planning and Design: Focus on Facility Planning and Focus on Project Leadership; Healthcare Leadership: Focus on Change Leadership and Focus on Facilities Design
Hospitality and Foodservice Management – Developed by the School of Hotel Administration: Advanced Hospitality Revenue Management: Pricing and Demand Strategies, Foodservice Management, Hospitality Management, Strategic Hospitality Leadership, Hospitality Marketing, Hotel Real Estate Investments and Asset Management, Master Cert. in Hospitality Management, Restaurant Revenue Management, Master Cert. in Revenue Management, New Media Marketing for the Hospitality Professional
Human Resources – Developed by the ILR School: Compensation Studies, Human Resources Essentials, Human Resources Management, Strategic Human Resources Leadership, Social Media in HR: From Policy to Practice
Leadership and Strategic Management – Business Strategy: Achieving Competitive Advantage, Executive Leadership for Healthcare Professionals, Leadership, Psychology of Leadership, Strategic Hospitality Leadership, Strategic Human Resources Leadership, Women in Leadership, Change Leadership, Leadership Essentials, Executive Leadership, Healthcare Leadership, Measuring and Improving Business Performance
Corporate certificate also available in: Leadership Essentials
Sales Leadership – Developed by the Johnson Graduate School of Management: Sales Growth
Project Leadership and Systems Design – Developed by the College of Engineering: Customer-Focused Product and Service Design, Master Certificate in Systems Design and Project Leadership, Project Leadership
Plant-Based Nutrition – Developed by the T. Colin Campbell Center for Nutrition Studies: Promises to “help you understand the importance of diet and nutrition for your life.”
Veterinary Medicine – Developed by the College of Veterinary Medicine: CPR Package: Basic and Advanced Life Support for Veterinary Technicians and Students, CPR Package: Basic and Advanced Life Support for Veterinarians
Master Beekeeping: Developed by the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences: “By the end of this series of courses you will have the skills and knowledge needed to keep colonies healthy and productive year after year.”
In addition to these certificate programs, eCornell currently offers on-demand training in Service Excellence, where an organization’s team members can learn tools that can be used in any interactive situation involving customers.
eCornell’s WebSeries involve live, one-hour interactive sessions led by faculty and alumni that can help participants ask questions while earning continuing education units (CEUs). There are five different channels:
Women in Leadership – Real-world expertise that promises to help organizations overcome imbalanced power and influence in the workplace.
Human Resources – Emerging best practices in HR leadership, including technology, analytics, conflict resolution, cross-team collaboration, and employee engagement.
Entrepreneurship – Promises to help turn your idea into a successful start-up business with the help of Cornell faculty, entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and financiers.
Hospitality – Utilizes faculty experience and leading edge research to instruct students about hotel and restaurant operations, real estate and finance, entrepreneurship, and labor and employment relations.
Expanding Nutrition Frontiers – This WebSeries promises to help you expand your nutrition knowledge and skills to “navigate global nutrition challenges.”
What will you pay for one of these eCornell programs?
How Much Does an eCornell Certificate & WebSeries Subscription Cost?
eCornell’s certificate programs range in price between $1,260 and $9,800. You can choose to pay in full using a credit card or PayPal (lowest priced option), or you can opt to make monthly installments through the Pay As You Go program.
Corporate programs are completely customizable, although you’ll pay a flat $39 per month or $279 per year for WebSeries access.
Because these are certificate-only programs, eCornell’s programs are not eligible for financial aid or federal Pell Grants. However, the company does offer a 30% discount to U.S. military and veterans, along with a 25% discount to Cornell University alumni, eCornell alumni, and Cornell University faculty and staff.
According to the Drop/Transfer page on eCornell’s website:
“You may request to drop out of your prepaid certificate program and receive a full refund if your drop request is received within 30 days of registration. No refund will be given after 30 days for a prepaid certificate program.”
You may request to drop out of your prepaid certificate program and receive a full refund if your drop request is received within 30 days of registration. No refund will be given after 30 days for a prepaid certificate program.
If you have additional questions, a representative can be reached at 866-eCornell (326-7635).
Do eCornell programs come with the same strict eligibility criteria as Cornell University?
What Are eCornell’s Eligibility Criteria & Accreditation Details?
Because eCornell is a certificate-only company focused on professional development, there are no prerequisites or formal admission processes required for enrollment.
All you’ll need is a late model computer for access to the online learning management system. Courses normally start every two weeks.
However, eCornell’s website indicates that all of their programs count toward continuing education units, and many count towards professional credits, including re-certifications for the HR Certification Institute, Project Management Institute, and Continuing Medical Education.
eCornell is a Human Resource Certification Institute (HRCI) Approved Provider, a designated Global Registered Education Provider (REP), and approved by the Foundation for Care Management and the Commission on Dietetic Registration (CDR).
eCornell University Reviews: Is a Certificate Worth It?
Once they spent between $1,260 and $9,800 of their hard-earned money, along with several months of their time, are eCornell’s certificate holders pleased with what they learned? Did they feel it was worth having this certificate on their resume?
Although eCornell has existed since 2000, we didn’t find a whole lot of online customer feedback during our research.
One in-depth reviewer on Quora discussed their experience obtaining a certificate in Financial Management, stating that they felt it was well done, that work flowed at a steady pace, and that courses (taught by professors, not adjuncts) were built around a series of problems that students needed to solve.
Most problems were presented in easily understandable picture illustrations and videos. They liked that they could navigate back and continue reviewing anything they didn’t understand.
Courses weren’t graded, but you’ll have to participate in forums and provide answers to problems in order to pass.
The only real downside the reviewer noted was that they received a lot of promotional advertising once they completed.
On EduInReview.com, we found several more pieces of eCornell customer feedback. There, many compliments referenced enjoyable content, helpful advisors, and great value for the money. On the other hand, several felt there wasn’t enough staff feedback involved and that they could have received the same education elsewhere, but for less.
Finally, Power Innovative Learning Solutions Inc (aka eCornell) held an A+ Better Business Bureau rating and one closed complaint as of 3/22/17, which referenced a refund request.
How Does eCornell Compare to Other Online Universities?
Although eCornell is associated with Cornell University, it’s strictly a professional development company. As a result, it’s not an online university like Kaplan, University of Phoenix, or Western Governors University.
However, you’ll find that many of these online universities also offer certificate programs. In fact, it’s rare to find one that doesn’t.
Given this level of competition, how can you choose the company or institution that’s right for you?
Choosing an online certificate program is a lot like choosing an online degree program: Accreditation won’t come into play, but you can still take a look at the program’s coursework to make sure that what you’ll learn aligns with your goals. Are you also looking to earn CU credits? If so, make sure your program qualifies.
Also, does the company offer robust support services? Are they responsive to students’ needs?
When searching online, what are former students saying? Are there any common themes among compliments and complaints? Are previous students expressing that their certificate improved their employability?
Finally, can you find any statistics about completion rates (i.e. the number of students who enroll in certificate programs, vs. the number who pass)? If so and you learn that many who started their certificate program didn’t finish, this could indicate a concern.
What’s the Bottom Line About eCornell?
With 17 years in business, a direct link to Cornell University (including courses taught by Cornell staff), competitive pricing, and the ability to earn continuing education units, it certainly seems like eCornell’s certificates could learn skills and information that might help you get ahead at work.
Just make sure that, whether it’s with eCornell or another online certificate program, you fully investigate the curriculum and online feedback before making a decision.
If you sign up for a certificate program that ultimately doesn’t meet your needs, though, eCornell allows you to drop the program and obtain a full refund within 30 days of registration.