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Lean Six Sigma Green and Black Belt

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About the Lean Six Sigma Green and Black Belt Program


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Patheway 1 - Complete the Green and Black Belt together in one course.

Lean Six Sigma Green and Black BeltBUSA-40996

Units: 9.00


Get Ready - Accepting 2024 Enrollments Click HERE to watch a recording of the recent Lean Six Sigma Information Session. Click HERE to attend the next LIVE Information Session or Schedule a...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring


Pathway 2 - Complete the Green Belt and Black Belt separately in two courses.

Lean Six Sigma Black BeltBUSA-40995

Units: 6.00


Go Beyond Your Green Belt.Blaze a path towards $100k in savings with the Lean Six Sigma Black Belt program. Join our next free LIVE Information Session. View details and register HERE. For individ...

Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Lean Six Sigma Green BeltBUSA-41006

Units: 4.00


FREE INFORMATION SESSION:Click HERE to watch a recording of the recent Lean Six Sigma Information Session. Join our next LIVE session to meet the Instructors and ask questions! View details and regis...

Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Courses of Interest

Does not count towards the certificate

Lean Six Sigma LeadershipBUSA-40967

Units: 3.00


Lead the Way with Lean Six Sigma Summer 2023 session begins August 15 - Join from any location!Click here to watch a recent Information Session and meet Instructors Tracy O Rourke and Elisabeth Swan...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Lean Six Sigma Yellow BeltBUSA-40991

Units: 1.00


Take the First Step in Your Process Improvement Journey Lean Six Sigma (LSS) consists of the most powerful process improvement methodologies and its primary focus is to remove wasteful steps and ineff...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Fall, Spring

Kaizen WorkshopBUSA-80057

Units: 0.00


Achieving Excellence Through Continuous Improvement Join This Hands-On In-Person Workshop in San Diego on Friday, September 29, 2023Kaizen, a Japanese term meaning change to improve or change...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Fall

Lean Six Sigma Information Session (Black/Green Belt)INFO-70032

Units: 0.00


Join us to learn about Process Improvement Attend our free information session to learn how Lean Six Sigma can help you to improve all business processes in any industry. Explore the various training ...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Summer

Project Management Boot CampBUSA-40950

Units: 3.50


Gain Practical PM Skills and Tools in Four Days This intensive course will examine the basics of putting together a well-defined, planned, and executed project. Students will learn how to define, plan...

Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

Project Management Information SessionINFO-70061

Units: 0.00


Project Management Program Information and Resources Join this free on-demand information session covering the ins and outs of the Project Management Certificate Program. Once registered, you will hav...

Upcoming Start Dates:
Typically Offered: Fall, Winter, Spring, Summer

EDC Preferred Provider - Internship Opportunities

Students who complete the program are eligible for fully-funded internships at small local companies. The San Diego Regional EDC's Advancing San Diego program is designed to address talent shortages in business positions. Learn more by visiting

Frequently Asked Questions

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Who can I speak to about questions and my program options?

Your program advisor is the best source of information regarding course and program information. Email the Lean Six Sigma program manager, Angela Miller, at or click here to schedule a phone appointment

Can this program be completed entirely online?

Yes, those wanting to participate in asychronous online training, meaning that the coursework can be completed anytime 24/7, must select Pathway 2. 

In Pathway 2, students complete the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt separately in two courses. 

What are the grading options for courses? Should I register for a Letter Grade or Pass/No Pass?

When registering, students can select a Letter Grade or Pass/No Pass option. As long as a student Passes (receives 70% or above), they will earn the same completion documents. If you are seeking company reimbursement for training funds, be sure to check with your employer to see if they require a letter grade. 

Students can change their letter grade preference up until 12:00am on the final class meeting. 

What will I earn after the program?

Graduates earn a verifiable digital credential, which can be shared on social media, and with colleagues and employers to recognize your achievement.

Students can also access their final grades and print out a transcript in their student portal. 
Those who complete both the Green and Black Belt will also receive a specialized certificate, mailed to them directly. 

What is Lean Six Sigma (LSS)?

Lean and Six Sigma (LSS) are a blend of two of the most powerful process improvement tools. The methodologies provide a systematic way to improve performance efficiencies and reduce variations in all business operations to achieve productivity and profitability gains. UCSD Extended Studies LSS courses develop practitioners who are prepared to apply the process improvement methedologies and deliver significant results. Student projects are expected to achieve $40 - $100k in cost savings.

What concepts are important in LSS?

  • Focus on "customer": Identify your customers, whether that is clients, vendors, patrons, other departments, etc.  Once you have your customers identified, gather their input on their goals and pain points.  As your project moves forward, involve your customers in the discussions, along with your Subject Matter Experts.
  • Don't jump to improve: Strive to address a root cause.  Leverage data to validate ideas, and pilot changes to check for downstream considerations.  This will drive you towards averting fires, rather than frantically extinguishing them.
  • Empower staff at all levels: Process knowledge and ideas should be generated from the staff who perform the work.  The Lean Practitioner facilitates discussions and manages the project, but the teams provide and implement solutions.  Not only does this secure creative and effective ideas, but it also facilitates change management and longevity of your outcomes.
  • Explore assumptions and ask ‘Why’: Dig deeper to clear obstacles we have created for ourselves over time. For example, if you hear "There's a policy which drives that step," then consider whether the policy has changed, or whether other comparable departments have interpreted and implemented the policy differently.  If you hear "We've always done it that way" then prompt your team to consider whether it has to be done that way. 

What are my training options?

UC San Diego Extended Studies offers various levels of Lean Six Sigma training to meet your needs, including: 

There is a difference among these courses—in length, time commitment, fees, and projects/course requirements; the Green and Black Belt have different learning objectives and address different levels of Lean and Six Sigma. For example, the Green Belt is roughly half the time commitment of the Black Belt, but both can be completed in one quarter.

Why UC San Diego?

UC San Diego is continuously rated as a top-tier University. In 2023, Forbes ranked UC San Diego third among hte nation’s top public colleges. Widely praised for its award-winning faculty and alumni, academic performance and impactful research!

UC San Diego also embraces a Lean Six Sigma culture.  To date, over 6,000 staff members have pursued process improvement training. This has empowered and enabled us to identify, assess, and solve issues with a customer-centric balance of efficiency and effectiveness.  We invite you to join the community, and apply process improvement at your organization! 

Click here to watch a short video: UCSD’s Lean Journey

Is Extended Studies accredited?

UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies is accredited by WASC through the University. All courses and certificate programs offered by UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies have been developed and administered in accordance with Extension policy and the regulations of the Academic Senate of the University of California. 

Graduates of Extended Studies’ LSS programs receive a verifiable digital credential, which can be shared on social media, and with colleagues and employers to recognize your achievement.

What sets UCSD’s Lean Six Sigma training apart?

  • A trusted name in Lean Six Sigma, with robust certificate programs for 25+ years. 
  • World Class Instructors:  Trainings are conducted by a team of skilled LSS Master Black Belts and Lean experts, including Tracy O’Rourke, Jim Athon, Sabine Rentschar, Brion Hurley, Luis Socconini, Phaniendra Somraj, Pete Thurman, Elisabeth Swan, and Mike Osterling. 
  • Small Classrooms: Classes are limited to 16 - 22 students, to allow for ample coaching and project mentorship. As such, space is limited and registering early is recommended. 
  • Project Application: We exemplify the model of Learn By Doing.  To earn a Green and Black Belt, all students must improve a real business process as part of the training. 
  • Project Coaching and Mentorship: Students have the opportunity to apply the Lean Six Sigma tools and concepts under the guidance of an experienced Master Black Belt. All trainings are comprehensivec, collaborative, and instructor led. 
  • Earn a verifiable digital credential, which can be shared on social media, and with colleagues and employers to recognize your achievement.
  • Trusted by some of San Diego’s leading organizations, including Dexcom, SHARP, Costco, Illumina, UCSD Health, to name a few. We also focus on training fellow educational institutions, including a variety of University of California campus’ and University’s across the country.

I want to earn a Black Belt. Which pathway would you recommend?

Students who want to earn a Lean Six Sigma Green and Black Belt Certificate have two pathways to follow.  All students must earn a Green Belt before progressing into Black Belt. 

Pathway 1 (Condensed): Complete the Lean Six Sigma Green and Black Belt together in one course. 

  • Duration: 5 months
  • Tuition: $5,595
  • Format: Live Online (Instructor led classes hosted via Zoom)

Pathway 2: Complete the Lean Six Sigma Green Belt and Lean Six Sigma Black Belt separately in two courses. 
  • Duration: Minimum of 8 months if completing in consecutive quarters
  • Tuition: $6,290
  • Format: Live Online or Asychonous Online; Green Belt is hosted In-Person. 

Is there financial aid, Veterans benefits, or scholarships?

UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies has several financial resources to assist students. Please visit our Financial Resources page for information about staff and faculty discounts, programs for the unemployed or underemployed, private student loans, and more.

If you are a veteran who served in our armed forces, you may be eligible to use your veteran education benefits to cover some or all of your program tuition. Please review our Veterans Education Benefits page for details. You are also welcome to reach out to the Extended Studies Veteran’s team by contacting

Additional Discount or Scholarship Opportunities: 

  • San Diego Project Management Institute (PMI-SD) chapter members may be eligible to receive discounts on LSS courses, and up to 20% tuition discount on select Project Management courses. Click here for details, and submit a discount request. 
  • UCSD Lean Six Sigma Staff Scholarship - Visit OSI.UCSD.EDU for details. 
  • UCSD Health staff may be eligible to pursue Lean Healthcare Training, which is provided at no cost.
Lastly, everyone is welcome to request a no-interest payment plan, to divide the tuition into equal monthly portions. To request a payment plan please complete the No-Interest Payment Plan Request Form.

Are there networking events or opportunities?

Yes! You are encouraged to get involved with UC San Diego’s vast process improvement community in the following ways:

  1. Join UCSD’s Business Excellence community of faculty and staff dedicated to continuous improvement at UC San Diego. Check out the calendar of events for networking opportunities, webinars, conferences, and other events that appeal to colleagues interested in continuous improvement. These events are great opportunities to sharpen your continuous improvement skills, share and learn best practices, and broaden your network. FREE to join. 
  2. Attend UC San Diego’s yearly continuous improvement celebration, Process Palooza. Process Palooza is a high-energy collaborative experience celebrating the power of continuous improvement. Engage with others as you share, learn, begin, or advance, your continuous improvement journey. Learn more and join this unique event
  3. Lean Six Sigma graduates are invited to attend a yearly in-person LSS Alumni Mixer.  Contact to learn about the next Mixer. 
  4. Lean Six Sigma graduates are invited to join a LinkedIn LSS Alumni group, with 600+ members. 

What if I don't have a project?

Students taking the Green and Black Belt (combo) must work on an individual project. If you are unsure of whether you can locate or work on an individual project, you are welcome to start with the LSS Green Belt. Students taking either the Live Online or In-person Green Belt are permitted to work on team projects. Therefore, in the Green Belt you can team up with a fellow student who has brought in a workplace project and collaborate with them to apply the tools and save an estimated $40k, projected annually. 

Note that the Black Belt level project is much larger in scope, and students must achieve a cost savings of $100k, projected annually.

What are the guidelines for selecting my LSS Project?

  1. Measurable: Either the data needed for the project already exists or may be readily gathered. That is, there is a clearly identifiable unit, and you can quantify what makes that unit defective
  2. Existing Process:  DMAIC assumes an existing process that has one or more deficiencies or inefficiencies that need to be addressed.  It is not optimal for new process development.
  3. Incremental Improvement:  DMAIC is designed to diagnose and address only one (or a few) issues at one time and is not intended for wholesale re-design of a process.
  4. Financial Results: You can clearly demonstrate the financial (or other genuine business) benefits of improving the process.
  5. Unknown Root Cause:  If you are sure you know what is causing the variation in your process, fix it!  DMAIC assumes we don’t know exactly where the process is broken, or why.
  6. Unknown Solution:  If we know what to do to fix the problem, and it is cost-beneficial, fix it! DMAIC assumes we don’t yet know how to fix it, especially since we don’t know where it is broken!
Note: Do not attempt to work on a project that has a known solution, or that has already been predetermined

The more advanced Black Belt project accounts for 53% over the final grade. The Black Belt Project must show projected cost savings of at least $100,000 annualized hard savings. The final project presentation must Show use of Tools, Actions taken to modify a process, quantifiable Results, and Controls to assure process sustains improvement.  The presentation must include the application of Lean Six Sigma tools and concepts, and include the following:
  1. Project Charter 
  2. SIPOC 
  3. Process Map (basic, swim lane, VSM, etc. as appropriate) 
  4. 5 Why’s matrix 
  5. Other tools as appropriate to your project type 
  6. Hypothesis testing using SPC XL to determine root cause(s) 
  7. Hypothesis test to verify quantifiable results on Primary Metric 
  8. Primary Metric that demonstrates improvement 
  9. Control Plan 

Can you provide project examples?

Below are real project outcomes from the class: 

  • HUMAN RESOURCES: Improve and simplify the employee onboarding process. Students saved 2,000 hours/year and reduced email handling by 60%. 
  • MANUFACTURING: 60% reduction in remakes and reworks, saving $150k a year. 
  • BIOTECH: 50% reduction in leakage of bioreactor product, resulting in $80k saved each year. 
  • EDUCATION: Reduced the training preparation time by 72%, from 7 to 2 hours. 
  • EVENT PLANNING: Streamlined the event registration process, and reduced activity planning lead time by 81% (38 steps to 7). 
  • FINANCE: Reduced the time to prepare quarterly reports by 72%, from 16 - 4.5 days. 
  • SUPPLY MANAGEMENT: Reduced warehouse transportation time, resulting in an annal savings of $60k. 

How do I locate a class project?

Generally speaking  you should look at a process that you can impact and measure within a few months.
You should consider a “problem” with the process (errors, customer complaints, delays, etc.). Don’t focus on how you are going to fix the problem because the intent to learn the Lean Six Sigma methodologies and apply the tools to identify and continuously improve your process.

We find that the best kind of project (or process) to select is something that is a measurable problem that needs to be solved and can be broken down (or walked through) and analyzed. For example, reducing defects or improving speed.  A project that focuses on communication, for example, can be a challenge as it’s hard to determine whether the communication is better.

Consider how you would measure the before and after, and outcomes of improving a process. 

By the end of the class, the project may not be completed, but there must be controls put in place so that you can evaluate the projected annual savings.

How do I know whether I can locate $40k or $100 on a class project?

A Green Belt project aims to save $40k projected annually, whereas a Black Belt project aims to save $100k projected annually. Try not to worry too much about exactly how much savings you might achieve. Remember that your improvements will not be discovered until you are in the class. Instead, consider the data you do have regarding the current state of the process. Consider the bullets below when thinking about savings potential:

  • How many times each month/year is the process used?
  • How long the process takes each time it is used?
  • What defects/errors arise along the way and how often do these occur?
  • What are the material costs involved in the process?
  • What are the impacts if we do not find a better way to move through this process?
  • Are there any glaring areas of waste or rework?

Is project coaching and mentorship included?

Yes! Project coaching is an essential aspect of this program. Outside of the classroom, candidates schedule 1-3 one-on-one project coaching sessions with the Master Black Belt Instructor. The majority of sessions are 30 minutes in length. You will also collaborate via email as project questions arise. Students are encouraged to collaborate and review their questions with fellow students during the LIVE classroom portions, or within the online discussion boards.

Classes are limited to 16 - 20 students, to allow for ample coaching and project mentorship. As such, space is limited and registering early is recommended. 

I'm a Project Manager, can I receive Professional Development Units (PDU’s) through PMI?

Yes, our Lean Six Sigma courses may be used to earn the Project Management Institute’s Professional Development Units (PDUs). One hour of classroom instruction equals one contact hour. The LSS Green Belt, as an example, provides 40 instructional hours, and therefore equates to 40 PDU’s. To claim PDU’s, simply print out your UC San Diego Division of Extended Studies transcript or course history document, accessible through MyExtension, and provide to PMI. 

Please note that you’ll need to manually enter the course details rather than select from the pre-populated drop down menus. If you click on the ? mark symbol by each field it explains this. This will allow you to enter the provider name, course title, etc.

What is an approximate time commitment?

The study time commitment varies significantly based on a students’ familiarity and experience with process improvement. On average, instructors estimate that students spend approximately 10 hours per week on course and project work. This estimate varies throughtout the training, also, as the time allocated may increase as the project nears completion. 

How much of the class time is used to work on projects?

As part of the training students receive coaching and mentorship on their class project, however, the time spent in the (virtual) classroom is not typically spent on the class project. In both the Green and Black Belt students schedule a group or one-on-one project coaching session with the instructor. Students also have 6-7 weeks, after the classroom training completenes, to focus on the project work. 

How are online courses formatted?

We offer two fully remote learning formats, as follows:

  • Live Online -  interactive, instructor-led, and real-time. Class sessions take place LIVE via Zoom, simulating the in-person experience. 
  • Asynchronous Online – login and complete class work anytime 24/7. All courses use Canvas, an online learning management system that allows you to complete assignments, share documents, and take tests and quizzes remotely. You will also have the option to schedule LIVE individual or group project coaching sessions with the instructor, hosted via Zoom. 
Regardless of which format you select, you will have weekly assignments and quizzes that are due on specific dates.

How much 1-on-1 time will we have with the teacher and/or coach?

Outside of the classroom time you will schedule 1 - 3 one-on-one LIVE project coaching sessions with the Master Black Belt Instructor. The majority of sessions are 30 minutes in length. You will also collaborate via email as project questions arise. We also encourage students to collaborate and review project needs with fellow students, either during the LIVE meetings or via the discussion boards.

What types of software will we be taught or utilized?

As part of the Black Belt level training, you will learn statistical tools to measure and analyze your results. The Black Belt training includes customized, easy-to-understand, electronic files to conduct statistical portions. It’s important to note that the Black Belt material places a much larger focus on the statistical portions (vs Green Belt). 

While the training material is software-neutral, students are welcome to utilize their organization's desired software. 

If requested, we can also provide training materials specific to Minitab. 

Statistical tools are not provided for the Green Belt level. 

Will this program prepare me for a certification exam?

Once students complete the program (and project) they will receive a Green and/or Black Belt credential from UC San Diego’s Division of Extended Studies. Students can then designate themselves as a Green and/or Black Belt on their resume.

To become “certified,” students can take an exam through a certifying body, such as ASQ (American Society for Quality). Our training is aligned with ASQ’s body of knowledge and helps students to prepare. It’s worth noting, however, that companies we collaborate with, as well as our esteemed advisory board members, have shared that completing this extensive training and mentorship program is more than sufficient to designate yourself as a Green or Black Belt, and the additional certification designation is not typically necessary.  Often it’s important to show that you can (and have) applied the tools via a project.  

Advisory Board

Mojgan Amini, MS, LSSBB

Director, Process Management & Continuous Improvement

UC San Diego

Abdul Chohan, MBA, LSSBB

Senior Vice President Operations

GenMark Diagnostics

Ashley Ghambir , MBA, LSSBB, PMP

Sr. Director, Transformational Healthcare and Ambulatory Inn

UC San Diego Health

Maya Gowri, Ph.D, MBA, LSSMBB

Sr. Director, Manufacturing Technical Operations

GenMark Diagnostics

Michael McLucas, LSSBB

Associate Director, Business Operations

BioMarin Pharmaceuticals


Executive Director

Armed Services YMCA San Diego

Anthony Stephenson, MBA, LSSBB

Mission Assurance Program Manager

Northrop Grumman

Rick Thompson, LSSMBB

Manager Operations Insights

US Postal Service

Carlos Vallejo, LSSBB

Continuous Improvement Manager

Costco Wholesale Industries

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This certificate requires an application before taking any courses. There will be a $0 fee to apply to this program. Students will also be required to pay a $95 certificate fee upon enrollment into the program after acceptance. View the complete Certificate Registration and Candidacy Guidelines.