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Department of Public Administration & Policy

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SPA: Public Administration
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Graduate programs: spagrad@american.edu

SPA: Public Administration
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Key Executive Leadership Certificate



The Key Executive Leadership Certificate Program is a non-credit certificate program designed to increase leadership capacity, confidence, and ability to lead and help individuals move from being technicians and managers to extraordinary leaders.

The program offers 360-degree evaluations from colleagues, supervisors, and customers at the beginning and end of the program to measure progress in the emotional intelligence competencies of self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management.

The Program consists of eight courses, each of which meets for four days on Fridays and Saturdays over the course of 8 months. Each course’s curriculum is directly linked to the Executive Core Qualifications developed by the Office of Personnel Management to ensure that participants are learning the skills and advancing their knowledge in the five areas identified by OPM as critical to success in the Senior Executive Service.

Finally, each participant is assigned an executive coach who creates an individual development plan based on the results of the Emotional Intelligence survey. Working with a coach helps the participants come to terms with the realities of the insights gained in the classroom, and overcome the barriers to implementing what has been learned.

Admission to the Program 

Applicants must:

  • hold a GS-13 (or equivalent) rank or higher,
  • have management experience,
  • demonstrate significant management potential,
  • submit a letter of recommendation, and
  • successfully complete an interview with the program director

Certificate Course Requirements

  • PUAD-020: Leading through Strategic Communication
  • PUAD-022: Transforming from Managing to Leading
  • PUAD-025: Leadership Skills for Program Goal Setting, Monitoring, and Evaluation
  • PUAD-026: Leading in the Context of Constitutional Government
  • PUAD-052: Leader as a Team Builder and Facilitator
  • PUAD-54: Leading Organizational Change to Achieve Results
  • PUAD-057: Diagnosis of Current Leadership Skills
  • PUAD-084: Leading Effective Public Policy Implementation

Learn more about the Key Executive Leadership Certificate.