Leadership Certificate

Leadership today includes much more than the C-suite. Leadership is found at every part of an organization, and every person can develop themselves as a leader. 

Aerial Summer Rotunda and Lawn

The online graduate Certificate in Leadership is designed for working professionals who want to better understand what leadership today means, and how they can become a better leader. Regardless of whether you’re in the private sector, the nonprofit sector, higher education, or for the federal, state, or local government, this certificate will provide a solid foundation in organizational leadership, community and team development, financial management, and more. No matter how much experience you have or whether you are already in an advanced position, the content of our courses will help you hone critical skills for leading in today's business environment.

What you’ll learn in the Certificate in Leadership program will apply across any industry. You will gain confidence in your own role in your organization. You will be better able to solve challenges creatively and innovatively. You will have greater insight into the way organizations work. And you will have more skills to manage change and support individuals and teams. 

Courses will expose you to topics leaders and managers encounter regularly from goal setting to conflict resolution, from ethical reasoning to persuasion, and from project management to financial management. 

Key Takeaways

  • Advanced leadership credentials through a flexible online program
  • Graduate level certificate; 18 credits / 6 courses. Typically completed in 12 months
  • Whether you are in a leadership role or have found yourself managing others without any formal training, this program will offer improved skills, new strategies, and better outcomes
  • Courses cover theory to practical frameworks developed by experts, allowing you to draw on best practices in situations you encounter daily
  • Students with PMI® certifications can earn up to 45 PDUs per course. PSPM and PSLP courses are eligible. PMI is a registered mark of the Project Management Institute, Inc.

Why Leadership Skills are In-Demand

Leadership skills are critical to the success of an organization. Current studies* indicate that:

  • 58% of managers said they did not receive any management training
  • 79% of people quit their job due to lack of appreciation.
  • 77% of organizations report they are currently experiencing a leadership gap.
  • Fewer than 20% of organizations have a bench of capable leaders ready to fill critical roles. 

*Latest Corporate Crisis: Only 11% of Surveyed Companies Have a Strong Leadership Bench, by Edward Segal, May 19, 2021, and “Leadership Transitions Report 2021,” Development Dimensions International, Inc., 2021.

Begin Your Application

SCPS’ Program Offers Advantages:

  • Flexible programming: with core courses offered regularly, you can stay on your desired learning journey.
  • One tuition rate: you’ll pay the same tution whether you reside in Virginia or out-of-state.
  • Expert Faculty who understand adult learners: learn from Faculty who are experts in their industries and are experts at teaching. They understand the demands adult learners need to juggle and structure courses so you can balance your personal and professional life while learning.
  • Synchronous learning opportunities: you’ll join online classes and can ask questions, dig deeper, and learn from instructors and classmates.
Tuition & Fees
  • Estimated cost: $629 per credit hour or $11,322 for the entire program. Students pay per course, per semester.
  • Pay the same tuition rate whether you are in-state or out-of-state.
  • This program is not eligible for financial aid but may be covered by your employer’s education benefits program. 
  • You may take advantage of an optional, interest-free semester-based payment plan offered by the University to help spread the cost of eligible charges over monthly payment.
  • Additional fees may apply, including course materials. Tuition rates are adjusted annually.

See Tuition Details


New and returning students in certificate or degree programs in the School of Continuing and Professional Studies are eligible to apply for the Enslaved Ancestors College Access Scholarship Program

Admission Requirements & Deadlines


  • To begin in the fall (August): application must be submitted by July 1
  • To begin in the spring (January): application must be submitted by November 1
  • To begin in the summer (May): application must be submitted by April 1


This is a graduate-level certificate course. Applicants must have an undergraduate degree.

To apply:

  1. Complete an online application, including:
    1. Submit your unofficial transcripts. Offers of admission are not binding until official transcripts are received and verified.
    2. Application for Virginia In-State Education Privileges to establish residency.


Sumner Menchero and Son at Washington Nationals Stadium

I felt more empowered by what I was learning. I started to understand my leadership style, the value I can bring to the table, and how I can continue to evolve as a leader.

Sumner Menchero

Required Courses (4)

  • Course schedules and program electives are currently under review in order to increase student options and flexibility.
  • Current and prospective students may contact with questions related to their journey and course schedule. 

Introduces students to various styles and theories of leadership. Through self-assessment and guided inquiry, students examine and create their own unique style of leadership. Students will develop approaches to adapt and modify leadership styles to various situations and individual personalities to influence organizational outcomes.  


Focuses on the challenging role of leaders in today’s complex organizations. Identifies ways to adapt the organizational structures, policies, and management workforce to enhance competitive advantage. Topics include change management, organizational dynamics, and crisis management. Upon completion of the course, students will be able to assess risk, perform root cause analysis, and employ effective decision-making processes.  


Prepares today's leaders for success in communication skills with diverse audiences, as well as effective team building and management. Communication topics address technical and non-technical audiences using presentations; interpersonal skills; and writing skills. Team development instruction focuses on managing teams, identifying and understanding the leadership role, the importance of shared leadership, and team decision-making.


Examines how value is measured, created, and maximized. Beginning with an introduction to accounting, instruction covers the fundamentals of measuring and reporting revenue, costs, cash flow, assets, liabilities, and equity. Explores the financial decisions that management must make, including break-even analysis, budgeting, investment in assets, and funding with debt equity.

Electives (2)

  • Students must complete two electives from one of the focus areas, or select one elective from two of the following areas.

Focuses on strategic planning and foresight. Uses case studies to explore the challenging role of leaders in different organizational settings and how leaders can strategize for successful outcomes.


Introduces and explores the philosophical and practical issues related to ethical decision making. Emphasizes the analysis of ethical problems and the development of analytical skills and values. Incorporates case studies, journal articles, current events, and debates as practical examples of ethical issues.  


Introduces students to the various aspects of the project life cycle and project management. Explores best practices and the application of these best practices for project success.


Analyzes the difference between leadership and management in the project management environment. Evaluates the role of the project manager as team leader, and reviews the application of various leadership and management techniques to project management

Leadership Certificate

Student Experience

Learn more about the courses and annual schedule for the Leadership Certificate.

Begin Your Application

Professional and Enrichment Programs

Learn more about how the School can develop custom programming to drive your organization forward, support retention, and facilitate employee advancement.