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Leadership Program


  • Leadership Program
    (202) 885-6203
    Ward Circle Building, Room 230

Mailing Address
Leadership Program Curriculum Spring 2015

“The Leadership Program is learning to lead from the best, with the best. Your peers become your teachers and your best friends.”
- Hannah Murphy (’13)


Certificate in Advanced Leadership Studies

First Year

SPA-361 Laboratory in Leadership Development I
Weekly class meetings and small group work on social action project. Taken fall and spring semesters of first year for 1 credit hour each term.

Students meet once a week in class to study leaders and leadership skills, such as public speaking, team- work, and effective communication.

First-year students apply these skills outside the classroom as they work in small groups to design and execute social action projects of their own making. Social action projects allow students to learn about pressing social issues and work successfully with others to create pathways to change. First-year students are also paired with an older Leadership student who acts as a mentor to help guide the student through the first year of college.

Fall 2013 | Spring 2014 | Fall 2014 | Spring 2015

Second Year

SPA-362 Laboratory in Leadership Development II
Weekly class meetings and individual social action project. Taken fall and spring semesters of second year for 1 credit hour each term.

Second-year students build on the skills and knowledge developed in the first year. Sophomores work on social issues they are passionate about to individually design and implement a social action project to address that issue, collaborating with others outside the Leadership Program. In the process, they learn practical skills including grant-writing, public speaking, debate, resume writing, and networking. They also work to acquire a life skill of interest to them, such as cooking, and observe sub-cultures unfamiliar to them.

In class they take several personality assessments, engage in negotiation simulations, and study leadership theory, social movements, theories of social change, and controversial issues in public policy. Each sophomore is also paired with a mentor outside of AU, a professional working in an area of interest to the Leadership student.

Fall 2013 | Spring 2014 | Fall 2014 | Spring 2015

Third Year

GOVT/JLC-391 Internship: Leadership
Weekly seminars to study organizational behavior in conjunction with an internship. Taken fall or spring semester after first four semesters for between 3 and 6 credit hours.

Juniors take advantage of the unique opportunities Washington, D.C. affords by pursuing an internship in one of the many public and private organizations located in the nation’s capital, such as the White House, the National Republic Party, political consulting firms, lobbying firms, non-profit advocacy organizations, think-tanks, or news outlets such as CNN, NBC, or NPR. They earn between three and six academic credits in a special internship class, using their internships to explore organizational behavior and theory.

Fall 2013 | Spring 2014 | Fall 2014 | Spring 2015

Fourth Year

GOVT-460 Political & Organizational Leadership
Weekly seminars for a capstone experience. Taken spring semester during final year for 3 credit hours.

After a year off to allow students to study abroad, seniors return in their last semester to complete the program with a specially-tailored, three-credit seminar emphasizing a multidisciplinary examination of classic leadership literature and contemporary leadership strategies.

Spring 2013 | Spring 2014 | Spring 2015


Students may take a leadership-related course (see right), be a teaching assistant, or complete an independent study in leadership development to earn the remainder of the 15 credit hours needed.

Total Credits: 15


  • COMM-310 Public Speaking
  • GOVT-320 The Presidency
  • GOVT-403 Ancient Political Thought
  • GOVT-405 Modern Political Thought
  • GOVT-409 Contemporary Political Thought
  • GOVT-484 Women & Political Leadership
  • GOVT-520 Advanced Studies in Campaign Management
  • GOVT-523 The Art & Craft of Lobbying
  • JLC-308 Justice, Morality, and the Law
  • JLC-309 Justice & Public Policy
  • JLC-405 Comparative Criminology & Criminal Justice
  • MGMT-360 Nonprofit & Social Entrepreneurship
  • MGMT-409 Leading High Performance Teams
  • PUAD-343 Introduction to Public Administration & Governance
  • SISU-368 Differences & Similarities in Conflict Resolution
  • SOCY-354 White Privilege & Social Justice