Roger Forsgren, Director, NASA Academy of Program/Project Engineering Leadership

“Everyone on the APPEL team understands who our customers are and we value and take their input very seriously. We have developed an outstanding curriculum because of the feedback we have received over the years. We are here for one reason and that is to make NASA program/project managers, system engineers, and engineers the best they can become. We have a responsibility to our stakeholders to develop the training they need and we are accountable to the taxpayer to make sure we implement our program in an efficient and responsible manner.”
~ Roger Forsgren, APPEL Director

The Academy’s training curriculum enables NASA’s technical workforce to develop NASA-specific expertise and capability in program/project management, engineering, and systems engineering. It is intended to supplement an individual’s academic and professional work experience. The curriculum draws extensively on best practices and the knowledge of NASA subject-matter experts to ensure that it addresses the needs of NASA’s practitioners.

The courses are developed following established instructional design processes, and include rigorous annual audits and revisions and incorporation of participant feedback. The Academy’s project management and systems engineering competency model provide the basis for all course objectives.

Courses are highly interactive, featuring case study analyses, group discussions, individual exercises and simulations. Increasingly, the Academy is making its course content available online through video modules and interactive publications. Participants are encouraged to learn from instructors and one another.


APPEL Catalog

APPEL’s online course catalog serves as a one-stop resource for everything members of NASA’s technical workforce need to know about APPEL courses. Practitioners can browse through courses easily searching by subject, category, or alphabetically. Each course features an introductory video detailing the highlights and value of the course to help participants determine if a course will meet their learning needs. Comments by past course participants are included below the video, and in-depth supplemental resources are easy to access. Those interested in registering for courses can click to do so directly from the catalog.

Accreditations and Affiliations

The curriculum has achieved a reputation for excellence within academia and leading professional associations throughout the world:

  • APPEL is a Registered Education Provider of Professional Development Units (PDUs) for Project Management Institute (PMI)® —all participants in project management courses receive PDUs.
  • The American Council on Education recommends granting graduate credits for 12 APPEL courses.
  • APPEL has Accredited Provider status with the International Association for Continuing Education and Training (IACET).

How to Register

Download the APPEL Master Training Schedule and learn how to register for APPEL courses.


Course Domain Definitions

  • Core: Offers a comprehensive, integrated approach to learning for NASA’s technical workforce. The sequence of materials is designed to help participants expand their thinking and see the “big picture” by making connections among the many systems engineering and program/project management principles and concepts.
  • Program/Project Management: Introduces concepts and methods that are designed to promote the conceptual and practical use of modern program/project management theories and applications throughout all phases of the NASA project life cycle.
  • Communications and Leadership: Helps participants learn how to internalize the skills that facilitate open and continuous communications with technical team colleagues, develop personal leadership qualities, and improve negotiation skills.
  • Systems Engineering: Provides a fundamental understanding of systems engineering processes, tools, activities, and deliverables; systems management and leadership; and cross-functional interfaces with other disciplines, such as behavioral dynamics and human ethics. Courses are designed for experience-driven leadership development to help prepare the next generation of NASA technical leaders and managers.
  • Engineering: Strengthens fundamental skills necessary for NASA-specific work via education beyond typical analytics and specialized subsystems. Through engineering essentials, critical thinking, historical lessons, and space systems coursework, learners acquire innovative, everyday skills, along with a deeper appreciation for the significance of their contributions to NASA.
  • Mission and Safety: Provides NASA workforce with an awareness of the roles and responsibilities and standards and requirements related to health and safety technical authority in the Agency.

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