Leadership Certificate

Innovative. Compassionate. Visionary. Fair. These are just some of the key traits expected of today’s leaders. If you’re looking to advance your career, take your business to the next level, or simply grow both professionally and personally, a certificate in leadership can help you expand your knowledge and hone your skills.

The College of General Studies Leadership certificate program pulls from a variety of subject areas, including communications, linguistics, psychology, and economics. You will examine leadership theories, learn practical skills, and explore the challenges involved with leading teams and individuals. In addition, you’ll be able to incorporate what you’re learning in the classroom into the workplace seamlessly.

The CGS Difference

CGS offers a small college atmosphere with all the benefits of a large research institution. You’ll see this in the rigor of our academics, in access to university-wide resources, and through our world-wide alumni network.

This certificate is only open to Pitt undergraduates and is not a standalone certificate program—it must be completed in conjunction with another course of study.

Program Expectations

Graduates of this program 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 effective in that situation.
  • Determine their fit to the leadership-related challenges of an organization and what they would need to be more effective as a leader in that situation.

Credit Requirements

  • The leadership certificate requires 18 credits, including six (6) credits of core classes and 12 elective credits. Students are required to:
    • Take at least one (1) elective course in each of these three areas: leadership and ethics; interpersonal relations; and situational analysis.
    •  At least half of the courses must be at the 1000-level.
  • Achieve a minimum grade of C (2.0) or better for all courses required for the program.
  • Credits earned at other accredited educational institutions may be eligible for transfer. However, a minimum of nine (9) credits must be earned at the University of Pittsburgh. 


Students seeking a leadership certificate should have already completed a 1) public speaking and 2) professional writing course and earned a C or better.

Recommended courses:

1) COMMRC 0520 Public Speaking, COMMRC 0500 Argument, or BUSORG 1101 Fundamentals of Business Communication.

2) ENGCMP 0400 Written Professional Communication, ENGCMP 0420 Writing for the Public, ENGCMP 0440 Critical Writing, ENGCMP 0450 Research Writing, ENGCMP 0550 Topics in Public/Professional Writing, or ENGWRT 0610 Introduction to Journalism and Nonfiction.

See the following thematic course clusters and select a lower-level professional writing course that best fits your academic interests and needs.

Co-Curricular Requirement

This certificate has a co-curricular requirement: completion of Pitt’s Panther Leadership Academy (formerly known as Emerging Leaders and Leadership in Action), a 20-week non-credit program run by the Cross Cultural and Leadership Development Office within the Office of Student Affairs.

Important: Students must send proof of completion of Pitt's Panther Leadership Academy program to CGS Advising at cgsadv@pitt.edu.

Flexible Format

Many CGS programs offer a blend of face-to-face and flexible online class formats, all designed to meet our students' needs and schedule constraints.

Online courses are marked with (Web) or (Hybrid). Courses offered in both face-to-face and online formats are marked with (F2F and Web) or (F2F and Hybrid). Courses with no indicator are offered face-to-face only.

Visit CGS Courses to learn more about our online formats and how to search for CGS classes in the course catalog.

Required Courses: (6 credits)

Students must complete LDRSHP 1100, the Panther Leadership Academy (formerly: Emerging Leaders Program), and the program pre-requisite requirements listed above prior to registering for LDRSHP 1200. 

Catalog Number Title Credits
LDRSHP 1100/PUBSRV 1390 Theories of Leadership (F2F and Web, available as of Fall 2021)* 3
LDRSHP 1200 Capstone Leadership Seminar** (Prereq: LDRSHP 1100 and program pre-reqs and co-req) 3

* LDRSHP 1100 - offered Fall only   **LDRSHP 1200 - offered Spring only

Electives: (12 credits)

Students must complete at least one (1) course from each of the three (3) 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

Catalog Number Title Credits
COMMRC 1161 Communication Ethics 3
PHIL 0300 Introduction to Ethics 3
PHIL 0350 Philosophy and Public Issues 3
PHIL 1300 Ethical Theory 3
PHIL 1380 Business Ethics 3
PUBSRV 0050 Ethics and Accountability 3
PUBSRV 1305 Health, Law, and Ethics (Web) 3
PUBSRV 1340 Strategic Planning Public Sector 3

The following may be used as Area One leadership electives for qualified students:

Catalog Number Title Credits
AFROTC 1014 Air Force Leadership Studies 3
MILS 0021 Leadership and Decision Making 1
NUR 1085 Ethics in Nursing and Health Care 3
PS 1910 Institute of Politics Internship/Seminar (cross listed with PUBSRV 1910) 3
REHSCI 1230 Rehabilitation Ethics 2

Area Two: Interpersonal Relations

Catalog Number Title Credits
AFRCNA 1535 Dimensions of Racism 3
ANTH 1760 Anthropology of Law 3
COMMRC 0300 Communication Process (F2F and Web) 3
COMMRC 0530 Interpersonal Communication (F2F and Web) 3
COMMRC 1102 Organizational Communication (F2F and Web) 3
COMMRC 1106 Small Group Communication (F2F and Web) 3
COMMRC 1109 Nonverbal Communication (F2F and Web) 3
COMMRC 1111 Theories of Persuasion (F2F and Web) 3
ECON 0200 Game Theory Principles 3
ENGCMP 1100 Language of Business and Industry 3
ENGCMP 1103 Public Relations Writing 3
ENGCMP 1400 Grant Writing for Nonprofits (F2F and Web) 3
PSY 0010 Introduction to Psychology (F2F and Web) 3
PSY 0105 Introduction to Social Psychology (F2F and Web) 3
PSY 0405 Learning and Motivation 3
PSY 1135 Social Perception and Cognition 3
PSY 1635 Organizational Psychology 3
SOC 0431 Bureaucracies 3

Area Three: Situational Analysis

Catalog Number Title Credits
ANTH 0701 Cultural Anthropology: Overview 3
ANTH 0780 Introduction to Cultural Anthropology 3
ANTH 1737 Special Topics in Cultural Anthropology: Semiotic Anthropology  3
ANTH 1738 Gender Perspectives in Anthropology 3
ANTH 1755 Urban Anthropology 3
ECON 0150 Economic Data Analysis 3
ECON 0800 Introduction to Economics (F2F and Web)
Note: Students with a grade of C or better in ECON 0100 and 0110 can substitute for ECON 0800. Use one for the requirement.
HIST 0050/SOC 0351 Social Change  3
LING 1235/GSWS 1235 Language, Gender, and Society  3
PS 1241 Public Administration and Political Systems 3
SOC 0010 Introduction to Sociology (F2F and Web) 3
SOC 0150 Social Theory 3
SOC 0432 Wealth and Power 3
SOC 0444 Urban Sociology 3
SOC 1448 Working Women 3
URBNST 1614 Urban Sustainability 3
  • Students may not use more than one of each of the courses in these groups: 1) ANTH 0701 and 0780; 2) ANTH 1755, SOC 0444 and URBNST 1614.


As you plan your certificate coursework, please make sure to review the CGS Course Overlap policy for information on how many courses can be double-counted if a student elects to pursue a CGS certificate in combination with other CGS and non-CGS majors, minors, and certificates. If you have questions, please contact your CGS advisor or CGS Advising at CGSAdv@pitt.edu.

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