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Graduate Certificate Public, Nonprofit and Community Leadership

University of Colorado Denver

The Public, Non-Profit and Community Leadership Graduate Certificate is offered in two different formats: the traditional, on-campus format, and the New Directions weekend classes format, with classes offered in CU Denver facilities south of Denver (currently at the Liniger Building in Parker). Students can choose classes in either of these two formats to complete the certificate.

The CU Denver Political Science Department's Public, Non-Profit and Community Leadership Certificate engages students in a focused curriculum in the local public leadership, and in the community organizing and development field, including field placements in internships with local community partners. The certificate is tailored to meet the needs of individuals in public and non-profit positions that require development of their leadership competencies and for individuals in informal community leadership positions who want to build their knowledge, skills, and effectiveness.

The program curriculum is anchored around the study and practice of local civic engagement, especially in traditionally marginalized communities. Students will be connected to meaningful work and networking opportunities in local government or in community settings, through community-based coursework, professional internships and service-learning opportunities. The certificate program provides critical education and effective skills-based training for students seeking careers in local government, in non-profit organizations, or in community organizing and development work. Students will be prepared to become change agents in their communities, while developing possible career paths in community-based advocacy/service organizations, public agencies, or international development work.

The certificate is open to non-degree seeking students (with or without an undergraduate degree) as well as students formally admitted to the MA in Political Science and to upper division undergraduates seeking to get a head start on their graduate studies. The Certificate can be earned as a stand-alone University certificate, or it can be applied to a current or future degree program. Non-degree seeking students who successfully complete the certificate program would be allowed to transfer in the credits received in the certificate program to complete the Master's Degree in Political Science.

The certificate can be earned either through our traditional on-campus graduate seminars, or entirely through classes offered in a weekend-intensive format in our New Directions graduate program. Students may take classes in either format desired.

These program requirements are subject to periodic revision by the academic department, and the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences reserves the right to make exceptions and substitutions as judged necessary in individual cases. Therefore, the College strongly urges students to consult regularly with their Public, Non-Profit and Community Leadership Graduate Certificate advisor to confirm the best plans of study before finalizing them.

Admissions and Declaring This Certificate

Any current or potential student wishing to declare this certificate should schedule a certificate advising appointment with either the Director of the New Directions graduate program (Dr. Steve DelCastillo) or with the Director of the On-campus Graduate Program (Dr. Michael Berry), in order to register their intent to pursue the Public, Nonprofit, and Community Leadership Certificate and to develop a curriculum plan.

Graduate Education Policies and Procedures apply to this program.
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Listed below are the documents required to apply for this course.
1 year


Jun 2024

Start Month

May 2024

Application Deadline

Upcoming Intakes

  • August 2024
  • June 2024
  • August 2025
  • January 2025

Mode of Study

  • Full Time