The Leadership Program offers students in the School of Public Affairs the opportunity to develop their potential for leadership in public service. In the Program students study leadership, develop essential leadership skills, refine their career goals, expand their personal horizons, and apply what they learn by working on social action projects that effect real change.
In our Program, leadership is developed both inside and outside of the classroom. Knowledge is pursued through retreats, community-based learning, guest speakers, group projects, internships, mentoring, simulations, and visiting the unique and historical resources of Washington, DC.
Students who have accepted admission to AU as first-year students and who intend a first or second major in the School of Public Affairs are eligible to apply. Applications are posted in early May and are due in mid-July. Admissions decisions are announced in early August.
The Leadership Program maintains very high standards and admission is competitive. Selection criteria include a demonstrated capacity for leadership, commitment to public service, broadly defined diversity, and strong academic capability.
Over the course of the four-year program, some of the strongest and most cherished college friendships are forged between our students. Teamwork in class and on service projects, shared meals, committee responsibilities, community-building events, and serving as teaching assistants, all reinforce lasting relationships with fellow students destined for leadership roles in college and throughout their lives.
What Leadership students share is a deep commitment to making the world a better place. I feel honored to work with them.
Director, Leadership Program
Apply to the Leadership Program
Learn about applying to the Leadership Program
What Leadership Means
SPA Leadership Program alumna Tracy Empson, BA/SPA '10; MA/SOC '12, created this video about what students gain from the program and what they are learning about leadership.
- The School of Public Affairs chose to feature Leadership student Tyler Sadonis, highlighting his passion for service.
- Deon Jones, Leadership Class of 2014, is one of the nation's youngest elected officials. Watch his interview on Fox News DC.
- Congratulations to Leadership alumna Alli Gold on her prestigious EPA fellowship.
The SPA community sought to better understand the recent 16-day government shutdown in a number of ways, from watching the Senate debates in person, hosting experts to debate the issues, and helping drive the conversation in the media.
Ki’tay Davidson was chosen as one of only eight young Americans leading in disability advocacy.
The graduating senior is motivated, engaging, a natural leader, and a community builder.