College of General Studies


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The Certificate in Leadership provides a structured framework of courses and experiences for acquiring the basic practical and analytical skills required of successful public and private sector leaders. Offered by the University of Pittsburgh College of General Studies, this program uses the skills and knowledge of students to help advance their careers further, and take their organizations to the next level.

This 18-credit program is designed for students looking to become a more attractive candidate for a managerial or leadership position in their chosen field, or for those students looking to enter into the business, nonprofit, government, or corporate world.

Who should participate:

The Certificate in Leadership is open to any University of Pittsburgh degree-seeking student, regardless of current school or college, who anticipates moving into a leadership role in business, nonprofit, or other organization.

Upon completion of this certificate, participants will be able to:

  • Demonstrate knowledge of leadership theories and models, such as situational, participative, transformational, and servant leadership
  • Identify and evaluate the effectiveness of different communicative styles, and communicate clearly and effectively themselves
  • Analyze an organization in its cultural, social, historical, developmental, geographic, and/or competitive aspects, and decide which type of leadership style would be most effectivein that situation
  • Determine one’s fit to the leadership-related challenges of an organization and what one would need to be more effective as a leader in that situation.

Admission requirements

Students wishing to pursue the Certificate in Leadership must be in good academic standing and must submit a certificate application form to the College of General Studies. The form is available through the college’s Web site or may be picked up in person.

Obtaining the certificate

To receive the certificate, you must fill out an application with your academic advisor prior to completing your last term in the program. Check with your academic advisor for the application filing form and deadline, and be sure all requirements for the certificate have been met. To avoid a late fee, you should complete this process when registering for the term.

Pre-requisite requirements

Because strong communication skills are essential, prior to enrolling in LDRSHP 1200 students must have completed at least one class each in oral and written communication with a C or better.

Recommended courses:

COMMRC 0520 Public Speaking

ENGCMP 0400 Written and Professional Communication

Other courses may substitute for these: ENGCMP 0420, 0440, and 0450 and ENGWRT 0550 and 0610 can be substituted for ENGCMP 0400; BUSORG 1101 and COMMRC 0500 can be substituted for COMMRC 0520.  

Co-curricular requirement: Emerging Leaders Program

All students must complete the Emerging Leaders Program, a 20 hour non-credit program run by the Cross Culture and Leadership Development Office within the Office of Student Affairs. For more information on the program, please visit  

Curriculum: 18 credits

Students must complete their required and elective courses for a total of 18 credits. A grade of C or better is required for all courses in the program. Students also must complete the Emerging Leaders Program. All courses are 3 credits, unless otherwise noted.

Required courses: 6 credits

Students must complete LDRSHP 1100, the Emerging Leaders Program, and the program pre-requisite requirements listed above prior to registering for LDRSHP 1200. Students may register for the cross-lists of these required courses: PUBSRV 1390 for LDRSHP 1100 and ARTSC 1902 for LDRSHP 1200.

LDRSHP 1100 Theories of Leadership (pre-requisite for LDRSHP 1200)

LDRSHP 1200 Leadership Seminar (capstone)

Note: Changes to the frequency of course offerings - LDRSHP 1100 will run only in fall terms beginning Fall 2016 (2171). LDRSHP 1200 will be offered in both fall 2016 (2171) and spring 2017 (2174), after which the course will be offered only in the spring terms starting AY 2017-2018. 

Electives: 12 credits

Students must complete at least one course from each of the three designated areas below, and complete 12 credits in all. At least half of the courses must be at the 1000-level.

Area One: Leadership and Ethics

PHIL 0300 Introduction to Ethics

PHIL 0350 Philosophy and Public Issues

PHIL 1300 Ethical Theory

PHIL 1380 Business Ethics

PUBSRV 0050 Ethics and Accountability

PUBSRV 1305 Health, Law, and Ethics

PUBSRV 1340 Strategic Planning Public Sector

These may be used as leadership electives for qualified students:

AFROTC 1014 Air Force Leadership Studies

MILS 0021 Foundations of Leadership

CMNAVS 0402 Leadership and Ethics

PS 1910 Institute of Politics Internship/Seminar (cross listed with PUBSRV 1910)

Area Two: Interpersonal Relations

ANTH 1760 Anthropology of Law

COMMRC 0300 Communication Process

COMMRC 0530 Interpersonal Communication

COMMRC 1102 Organizational Communication

COMMRC 1106 Small Group Communication

COMMRC 1109 Nonverbal Communication

COMMRC 1111 Theories of Persuasion

ECON 0200 Game Theory Principles

ENGCMP 1100 Language of Business and Industry

ENGCMP 1103 Public Relations Writing

ENGCMP 1400 Grant and Proposal Writing

PSY 0010 Introduction to Psychology

PSY 0105 Introduction to Social Psychology

PSY 0405 Learning and Motivation

PSY 1135 Social Perception and Cognition

PSY 1155 Psychology of Small Groups

PSY 1635 Organizational Psychology

SOC 0431 Bureaucracies

Area Three: Situational Analysis

ANTH 0701 Cultural Anthropology: Overview

ANTH 0780 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology

ANTH 1738 Gender Perspectives in Anthropology

ANTH 1755 Urban Anthropology

ECON 0800 Introduction to Economics

HIST 0050 Social Change (cross listed with SOC 0351)

LING 1235 Language, Gender and Society (cross listed with GSWS 1235)

PS 1241 Public Administration and Political Systems

SOC 0010 Introduction to Sociology

SOC 0150 Social Theory

SOC 0432 Wealth and Power

SOC 0444 Urban Sociology

SOC 1448 Working Women

Students may not use more than one of each of the courses in these groups: 1) ANTH 0701 and 0780; 2) ANTH 1755 and SOC 0444.

Requirements subject to change. Check with an academic advisor before registering.


If you have further questions about the Leadership certificate, please contact your CGS Academic Advisor.