Certificate Program in Public Service and Leadership

Basic and Advanced Option
Two certificate levels are offered: a basic 18 credit and an advanced 30-credit certificate. Core courses are identical for both programs. For the advanced certificate, students may specialize in defined areas, or they may simply select from the broad range of the courses listed as part of the program. The basic certificate program can be completed in as little as 1 year, but must be completed within 3 years of admission. The advanced certificate must be completed within 5 years of admission.

Core Requirements
12 credits
COMM 243 Public Communication
3 cr
ECON 337 Public Finance
3 cr
POLS 220 State & Local Politics in the U.S.
3 cr
Choose one Leadership course:
MGT 315 Leadership & Interpersonal Skills
3 cr
SOC 390 Issues in Sociology
3 cr
Core Electives
1 course from any 2 areas
Choose one Policy course:
SOCW 210 Social Welfare: Policy & Services
3 cr
POLS 361 Public Policy
3 cr
Choose one Research course:
POLS 260 Research Methods in Political Science
3 cr
SOC 320 Research in Methods in Sociology
3 cr
Choose one Urban course:
ECON 335 Urban Economic: Problems
3 cr
GEO 321 Urban & Regional Planning
3 cr
SOC 325 Urban Sociology
3 cr


Advanced Certificate
Beyond the requirements listed above, 12 hours of elective coursework allow students to pursue the advanced certificate. This additional coursework enables students to select any courses relevant to their professional interests or to specialize in one of the following areas below. Prerequisites may apply to certain courses, as stated in the catalog, and these must be met in order to enroll in those courses.

Areas of specialization include:

  • Communication
  • Urban Issues
  • Research Tools
  • Government
  • Social Policy & Issues, including Race & Ethnicity
  • Leadership & Human Resources

Up to 3 credits from another institution may be considered as transfer credit toward the certificate programs. Although required courses may be substituted on the recommendation of the student's program adviser (e.g., if a student has already taken the course at another university), the overall number of credit hours will not be less than 15 for the basic certificate and 27 for the advanced certificate.

Admission and Registration

Students apply for admission to the PSL certificate program through the College of Adult Scholars. Applicants having a baccalaureate degree may be admitted with no preconditions. Applicants having an associate's degree or less will be considered on individual merit that takes into account the student's potential for success in the program. These applicants may need to demonstrate adequate preparation for the program through relevant coursework, professional experience, and/or proficiency. In addition, they must take and pass POLS 220 before advancing to other coursework for the certificate.

Certificate students may enroll in a maximum of 11 credits per semester. Although every effort is made to accommodate students who must attend classes during the evening hours, at present some courses are offered only during the day and not all courses are offered every semester.