Community Leadership

The Community Leadership programs at UMBC prepare aspiring and practicing leaders with the skills and experience needed to generate transformative social change. We help students develop greater self-understanding, engage with the assets and challenges of urban communities, hone practical leadership skills, and build personal and professional relationships that will support their growth as leaders.

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These programs are designed for working professionals and offer courses in the evening to accommodate students with full-time jobs. Classes are located in Catonsville and Baltimore City, and conduct class visits to neighborhoods, to learn directly from community and nonprofit leaders. UMBC offers a 9-course Community Leadership Master’s program (M.P.S. in Community Leadership) as well as a 4-course post-baccalaureate certificate in Community Leadership.

We also offer one-credit Skills Courses that are open to UMBC students, staff, and faculty in addition to non-degree learners, no University enrollment required! In these short courses, subject-matter experts provide valuable opportunities for personal and professional development.

The Master’s of Professional Studies pathways encourage students to tailor their education to their strengths and interests. Complete pathways in Urban Studies, Nonprofit and Public Organizations, or Social Entrepreneurship. You can also work with the Director to choose courses from other UMBC programs including American Studies; Gender, Women’s & Sexuality Studies; Geography & Environmental Systems; Modern Languages, Linguistics & Intercultural Communication; Public Policy, Social Entrepreneurship, and Sociology.

For up-to-date information on how UMBC is responding to COVID-19, visit Retriever Ready: COVID-19 Response.


Average Completion Time

  • 3 years (Master’s part-time)
  • 1 year (Certificate part-time)

Credit Hours

  • 30 (Master’s)
  • 15 (Certificate)

Tuition & Fees

Start Date

  • Spring/Fall

Featured Event

Text: Application Deadline next to a clock with a Maryland flag face.
Spring 2023 Application Deadline
Thursday, December 15

The deadline to apply for the Spring 2023 semester is on December 1, 2022. Application requirements vary per program, so make sure you visit the How to Apply page of your intended program for more information.

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Why Community Leadership?

The UMBC Community Leadership graduate programs connect people of different ages, identities and experiences who share a commitment to working with community residents, building on community assets, and addressing intertwined racial, social, and economic inequities. We value community practitioners as colleagues and teachers, and learn from them in the classroom as well as in visits to Baltimore neighborhoods.

Community leadership students capture what they learn in a variety of formats: traditional academic papers, more personal reflective writing, interviews with community leaders, digital stories, and more. In the Introductory and Capstone Community Leadership courses, students undertake projects that respond to the needs of the community partner organization, and can take many forms including narrative documents, spreadsheets, maps, slide shows, curricula, calendars, and program plans.

Why UMBC?

Best Colleges US News and World Report National Universities 2021
Learn more about UMBC’s rankings in the 2021 U.S. News & World Report!
  • Our small evening classes provide the best of an in-classroom experience while allowing for work-school-life balance.
  • Campus is located just outside of Baltimore, a city with a long legacy of grassroots social change, providing the ideal place for students to engage with community-based organizations and develop strong leadership skills.
  • UMBC has a deep and long-held commitment to building community partnerships and tackling issues of social justice with rigor, curiosity, and creativity.
    Classes are conveniently offered on UMBC’s main campus, located just five minutes from BWI Airport, with easy access to I-95 and the 695 Beltway, or the Lions Brothers Building in Baltimore.

What Is an MPS Degree?

An MPS degree is a non-thesis graduate degree designed to provide you with applied and professional knowledge in your area of study. While traditional Master’s programs tend to focus on theory and research, a Master’s of Professional Studies will equip you with specialized domain knowledge and hands-on learning opportunities that focus on developing one’s career. Our MPS programs are designed with your career goals in mind!

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