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Graduate Certificate in Public Leadership and Management

The School of Public Policy offers professional programs that develop innovative leaders in the art of policy and governance, advance the frontiers of applied interdisciplinary knowledge, and promote local, national and global public good. The curriculums are designed to develop the skills and techniques used by professionals to implement policies, projects, and programs that resolve important societal problems.

Mentoring and advising are an essential part of the program. Students meet with faculty and the academic program director to ensure that educational goals and career learning and development goals are met. Students with specific academic questions may contact Thomas Kennedy, Director, Office of Executive Programs, via email:


The Graduate Certificate in Public Leadership and Management provides targeted focus on the knowledge and skills necessary for enhanced management and leadership skills to address changing governance demands. In today’s reality, the public interest of modern governance is accomplished through traditional hierarchic bureaucracies, by cross sector collaboration in network organizations, and within a diverse and demographically shifting environment.

  • Offered in person (major code Z004) or online (major code Z158). The curriculum is identical.
  • Program has a 12-credit, 4-course curriculum that develops the skills, knowledge, and experience for graduates to analyze and address complex governance challenges. 
  • Students enroll in three required courses and one elective from the School of Public Policy’s robust menu of public management and leadership courses.
  • Students learn how to formulate innovative strategies, and to negotiate the complexities of hierarchic bureaucracies and cross sector networks across local, national and global settings. 
  • Beneficial for students from all sectors: public agencies at the national, state and local levels; multinational organizations and NGOs; as well as private for-profit and nonprofit organizations.
  • Can be completed in nine months of continuous part-time enrollment. See Designation of Full-time/Part-time Status.


Below is a listing of all program courses. For a detailed course description that includes pre-requisites or co-requisites, see The Graduate School Catalog, Course Listing as follows: PLCY Course Descriptions.

Category Course Number Course Title
Required PLCY688F State, Local and Nonprofit Financial Management
Required PLCY689X Performance Management
Required PLCY698T Networks: Leading and Managing Across Sectors
Elective PLCY670 Public Finance and Budgeting
Elective PLCY688G Governance: Management, Leadership and Accountability
Elective PLCY689A Federal Acquisitions: Concepts and Management
Elective PLCY689Z Strategic Management for Nonprofit and Public Organizations
Elective PLCY692 Leadership Principles and Practices
Elective PLCY698B Organizational Behavior
Elective PLCY699F Ethics in Public Administration Practices
Elective PLCY699G Leadership in Groups and Organizations
Elective PLCY717 Federal Budgeting: Policy and Process
Elective PLCY752 Managing Differences: Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating Agreements
Elective PLCY781 International Economic Policy
Elective PLCY798Y Nonprofit Management and Leadership

Registration Overview

  • See the sample plan of study, below. Students should use this as a guide to develop a plan with the academic program director. 
  • Actual course offerings are determined by the program and may vary semester to semester. Students should note if a course has a pre-requisite or co-requisite. 
  • Specific class meeting information (days and time) is posted on UMD’s interactive web service services, Testudo. Once on that site, select “Schedule of Classes,” then the term/year. Courses are listed by academic unit. 
  • The program uses specific section codes for registration which are listed on the sample plan of study. 

One-Year Sample Plan

Semester Year Course Number In Person Section Code Online Section Code Credits
Fall 1 PLCY689T PCM* PWL* 3
Fall 1 PLCY689X PCM* PWL* 3
Spring 1 PLCY688F PCM* PWL* 3
Spring 1 PLCY*** PCM* PWL* 3

Two Year Sample Plan

Semester Year Course Number In Person Section Code Online Section Code Credits
Fall 1 PLCY689X PCM* PWL* 3
Spring 1 PLCY688F PCM* PWL* 3
Fall 2 PLCY689T PCM* PWL* 3
Spring 2 PLCY*** PCM* PWL* 3


  • Offered in person (major code Z004) or online (major code Z158). The curriculum is identical.
  • Uses the semester academic calendar with classes held in the fall and spring semester (16 weeks each).
  • Classes are held weekday evenings (e.g., after 5:00 p.m.) to accommodate the working professional’s schedule
  • Instruction provided by University of Maryland faculty and professionals in the field.

In-Person Learning 

  • Classes meet in UMD College Park campus classrooms, offering a focused, distraction-free learning environment. 
  • Instructors present dynamic and interactive seminar-style instruction. 
  • Students enrolled in a program that features in-person instruction are required to submit the University’s Immunization Record Form prior to the first day of their first semester/term. See Health Requirements

Online Learning 

  • Using advanced audio and video technology, UMD’s online learning environment delivers dynamic and interactive content. 
  • Featuring convenience and flexibility, online instruction permits asynchronous or synchronous participation.
  • Lectures are video archived. Students who are unable to attend in real time can review the session through asynchronous participation.

Upon successful completion, graduates will have mastered the following competencies:

  • Understand the principles and practices of public policy management and leadership.
  • Understand how the principles and practice of public policy management and leadership relate to the management of programs designed to serve the public.
  • Apply the tools and techniques of public policy leadership and management to address complex problems through traditional approaches and through cross-sector, collaborative networks.
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