The Public, Non-profit and Community Leadership Undergraduate 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 pursuing an undergraduate degree at CU Denver.  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 Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science.

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

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 program or with the Departmental Undergraduate Director, in order to register their intent to pursue the Public, Non-Profit and Community Leadership Certificate and to develop a curriculum plan.

Certificate Requirements:

  1. Must complete 15 credits in PSCI coursework.
  2. 6 credits must be upper division level
  3. All credits must be taken in residence at CU Denver.  No transfer credits may apply.
  4. A minimum GPA of 2.0 or better is required for all PSCI courses taken at CU Denver.
  5. A minimum grade of C is required for all PSCI courses applied toward the certificate


Curriculum and Credit Requirements: 

Undergraduate Credit Requirement: the undergraduate certificate requires five “public and community leadership” courses (15 credits), which must include PSCI 4808 (Community Organizing and Development) and an appropriate field study course ( typical courses are an academic internship or PSCI 3914, The Urban Citizen).

Take the following required Public and Community Leadership course:

Take one of the following field placement courses:

Take 9 semester hours of elective Public and Community Leadership courses: