Community Leadership Graduate Certificate

The Certificate provides students with a strong academic foundation in Community Leadership, reflective writing exercises and class discussions, and two immersive experiences working with community partners. Students may apply certificate course credits to the Master of Professional Students in Community Leadership. To complete the Post-Baccalaureate Certificate in Community Leadership, students must complete 4 courses for a total of 15 credits.

The Community Leadership program includes core courses that provide a broad understanding of the leadership, ethical and quantitative skills needed to excel as a community leader.

Required Courses

CLDR 600: Methods for Community Leadership

This Methods for Community Leadership course is the foundational methodology course for the Certificate and MPS in Community Leadership. In its most general sense, a method is simply a defined way of doing something (i.e., methods). In academic studies and scholarship, methods can also refer to highly specialized approaches to disciplinary research (i.e, Methods). This course will embrace the diversity (and tension) between methods and Methods with the goal of introducing students to a range of tools that are useful for community collaborations that seek to address community-identified questions. CLDR embraces a range of worldviews and ways of knowing and the methods you will learn in this course support the diverse goals of what your community collaborations the methods aim to accomplish not just academic knowledge discovery, but collaborative knowledge construction, and action-oriented applied knowledges for intended community purposes. We intend to extend the tools we will explore together beyond the traditional academic frameworks and into real-world application with real-world impacts. While students will not become “experts” in any single methodological approach, our pragmatic goal is for students to learn and practice diverse methods collaboratively and to leave the course with an applied experience using a range of methods tools to approach complex community-identified questions, and having begun to develop and articulate their own methods toolbox for community leadership.

CLDR 601: Introduction to Community Leadership – Contexts, Models, and Communication

This Introduction to Community Leadership course is the foundational class for the Certificate and MPS in Community Leadership, grounding students in key concepts, skills, and experiences that they will continue to build upon throughout their graduate program and professional development. Students learn the theory and practice of establishing an inclusive learning community with attention to developing leadership skills of self-reflection, deep listening, and facilitation.

Thematic course units investigate core program elements including: (1) Social contexts of community leadership with special attention to urban settings, historical and structural inequity, and asset-based development. (2) Models and metaphors for community leadership, including attention to diverse theoretical and practice-based approaches to leadership with opportunities to explore leaders’ identities and personal strengths. (3) The central role of diverse media platforms and approaches to communication that underpin effective community leadership practice.

In addition to class readings, written reflections, and discussions, students will participate in community experiences to complement their classroom learning. Students will develop a relationship with a community leader and corresponding partner organization. Through regular semi-structured conversations, they’ll have the opportunity to learn and discuss core elements of community leadership. Students will work with community partners to collaboratively design a project that will contribute directly to a need in their partner organization. At the end of this first foundational course for the MPS, students will also create a template for their overall MPS digital portfolio, designing a compelling media platform for planning and demonstrating their best learning and development as they move forward. 

CLDR 603: Capstone Seminar and Project

This interdisciplinary capstone course provides participants with a culminating experience in the theory and practice of collaborative leadership, community-centered social capital development, and culturally-inclusive problem solving. The course immerses students in the theories, knowledge, skills, and affective competencies related to building community assets. A key focus of the course is strengthening students’ capacities to assess and address community problems. The course builds on students’ prior courses in the Community Leadership curriculum to provide a field-level application of their diverse leadership tool kits. 

In addition to class readings, written reflections, group discussions, conversations with guest speakers, and visits to different neighborhoods in Baltimore City, students participate in a collaborative community-based research project. Students work in conjunction with a local community partner organization and an instructor to: (1) explore key issues facing a specific community and organization, and identify a particular topic to focus on;  (2) develop and deliver a research-based intellectual product that enhances the student’s professional development as well as the capacities of the community and partner organization. This is a 6-credit course.

CLDR 610: Special Topics: Skills Courses

One-credit skills courses with multiple topics available. To be counted as electives toward the degree, at least three of these one-credit courses must be taken. Students can receive a maximum of six (6) credits by taking one-credit courses (equivalent to two standard electives). See available skills courses.

Certain non-credit articulated courses offered by UMBC’s Institute for Extended Learning (IXL) may be transferred for credit. Contact the Program Coordinator for more information. 

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Featured Event

UMBC Professional Programs Virtual International Information Session. Wednesday February 14. 9 AM to 11 AM Eastern Time.
Prospective International Student Information Session
Wednesday, February 14

Join us virtually to interface with the Office of Professional Programs, Graduate Program Directors, and Office of International Students and Scholars (OISS) at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County! This session will allow you to receive information and ask questions about the University, our Professional Programs, and how to begin your studies in the U.S.

See our full event listing for more opportunities to connect with us!

Note: Curriculum advertised is effective Fall 2023. Students who matriculated prior to the Fall 2023 semester will have the option of following the old curriculum or adopting the new curriculum. The decision of which curriculum to adopt will be made only after advising from the Graduate Program Director.

Required courses for students prior to Fall 2023

CLDR 601: Introduction to Community Leadership – Contexts, Models, and Communication

This Introduction to Community Leadership course is the foundational class for the Certificate and MPS in Community Leadership, grounding students in key concepts, skills, and experiences that they will continue to build upon throughout their graduate program and professional development. Students learn the theory and practice of establishing an inclusive learning community with attention to developing leadership skills of self-reflection, deep listening, and facilitation.

Thematic course units investigate core program elements including: (1) Social contexts of community leadership with special attention to urban settings, historical and structural inequity, and asset-based development. (2) Models and metaphors for community leadership, including attention to diverse theoretical and practice-based approaches to leadership with opportunities to explore leaders’ identities and personal strengths. (3) The central role of diverse media platforms and approaches to communication that underpin effective community leadership practice.

In addition to class readings, written reflections, and discussions, students will participate in community experiences to complement their classroom learning. Students will develop a relationship with a community leader and corresponding partner organization. Through regular semi-structured conversations, they’ll have the opportunity to learn and discuss core elements of community leadership. Students will work with community partners to collaboratively design a project that will contribute directly to a need in their partner organization. At the end of this first foundational course for the MPS, students will also create a template for their overall MPS digital portfolio, designing a compelling media platform for planning and demonstrating their best learning and development as they move forward. 

SOCY 600: Research Methodology

This course is designed to advance graduate students’ knowledge of the modes of inquiry in the social sciences and to familiarize them with research methods and techniques.

SOCY 606: Social Inequality & Social Policy

This course examines poverty and inequality in modern society. The focus is on describing the extent of poverty and inequality, examining theories that attempt to explain these phenomena and discussing the policies that have been employed to mitigate them. In addition to class inequality, the course will consider racial and gender inequality.

CLDR 603: Capstone Seminar and Project

This interdisciplinary capstone course provides participants with a culminating experience in the theory and practice of collaborative leadership, community-centered social capital development, and culturally-inclusive problem solving. The course immerses students in the theories, knowledge, skills, and affective competencies related to building community assets. A key focus of the course is strengthening students’ capacities to assess and address community problems. The course builds on students’ prior courses in the Community Leadership curriculum to provide a field-level application of their diverse leadership tool kits. 

In addition to class readings, written reflections, group discussions, conversations with guest speakers, and visits to different neighborhoods in Baltimore City, students participate in a collaborative community-based research project. Students work in conjunction with a local community partner organization and an instructor to: (1) explore key issues facing a specific community and organization, and identify a particular topic to focus on;  (2) develop and deliver a research-based intellectual product that enhances the student’s professional development as well as the capacities of the community and partner organization. This is a 6-credit course.

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