Certificate in Leadership and Communication

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Certificate in Leadership and Communication


The Certificate in Leadership and Communication at Penn LPS Online is an exciting new skills-building and career-enhancing Penn program designed by distinguished, award-winning Ivy League academic experts and researchers in consultation with top executives and leaders from the real worlds of business, government, and the nonprofit sector.

  • Courses
1 Term
(8 weeks)
  • Tuition
cost per c.u.*
online general fee
per c.u.
  • Certificate
5 Courses
per certificate
5 Terms
(40 weeks)

A Penn path to effective, ethical and career-boosting leadership

Drawing expertly on the social sciences, humanities and data sciences, each of the five Leadership and Communication courses is scheduled especially for working adults and taught by a dedicated and experienced Penn-affiliated scholar.

Each Leadership and Communication course brings students one step closer to having the intellectual understanding and professional skills needed for effective leadership and communication.

  • In LEAD 101, Leadership Theory and Practice, students learn what studies say about how to identify, develop and apply their distinctive leadership traits and skills, and craft their own five-year career plans.
  • In LEAD 202, Leadership Lessons from the Social Sciences, students study what Nobel Prize-winning research in psychology, economics and other fields teaches about the ABCs of effective leadership.
  • In LEAD 203, Leadership Lessons from the Humanities, students explore competing schools of thought about leadership ethics, and co-author a mini-biography assessing the ethics of a famous (or infamous) public leader.
  • In LEAD 304, Professional Communication and Self-Development, students learn how to edit their own writing, give persuasive oral presentations and practice what positive psychology teaches about success in professional settings.
  • In LEAD 305, Quantitative Data: Reasoning, Analysis and Display, without needing to know statistical analysis or be a math whiz, students learn key concepts in data analytics using the programming language R, and discover how to acquire, mine, format, analyze and display large quantitative data.

Getting a Penn Leadership and Communication Certificate: learning while earning

The Certificate in Leadership and Communication at Penn LPS Online is a 5-course, 5 c.u.* credit program of study taught by University of Pennsylvania faculty. Tuition for the certificate program is calculated at a per c.u. rate.

To earn the certificate, students must successfully complete all five courses and maintain a 3.0 overall grade point average (GPA).

Penn LPS Online courses in the Certificate in Leadership and Communication are offered on an accelerated (8-week) schedule. Courses in this certificate program include a weekly synchronous session. Learn more about specific course dates on the Penn LPS Online Academic Calendar page.

Students may also enroll in individual courses without committing to the entire certificate, enjoying the flexibility and expertise offered by Penn LPS Online to suit their schedules and interests.

Team effort: Penn LPS and Civic Enterprises

The Certificate in Leadership and Communication is designed, developed and delivered through a working partnership between the leaders and staff of Penn’s College of Liberal and Professional Studies (LPS), headquartered in Philadelphia, and those of Civic Enterprises, headquartered in Washington, DC.

The College of Liberal and Professional Studies is the home of lifelong learning at the University of Pennsylvania. Housed within Penn’s School of Arts and Sciences, LPS offers high school, undergraduate, post-baccalaureate, graduate, summer and online studies as well as customized professional training with courses that span across academic fields.

Civic Enterprises works with universities, nonprofits, corporations, foundations, businesses and governments to develop innovative programs in the fields of education, national service, civic engagement, conservation, public health and more.


Instructor: Rebecca Padot >
1 c.u.
Accelerated semester format, offered in fall 2
Online seminar meets Thursdays at 8 p.m.

Using an innovative combination of academic theory, empirical research and self-reflection, this course is an intensive introduction to multiple and competing concepts of leadership. Students critically analyze texts and research related to effective leadership and leaders and, at the same time, develop their own individualized leadership traits and skills profiles. A culminating biographical analysis paper requires students to compare and contrast their own distinctive leadership traits and skills to those of an admired leader. The course concludes with each student crafting a five-year leadership and communication career plan.

Instructor: Rebecca Padot >
1 c.u.
Accelerated semester format, offered in spring 2

This course is an in-depth exploration of behavioral and social science subfields such as behavioral economics, positive psychology, principal-agent relationship and forecasting models. Through the study of Nobel Prize-winning research in these and other fields, students enhance their understanding of these highly relevant academic disciplines and their application to effective leadership and problem-solving approaches in a broad range of organizational settings.

Instructor: Elizabeth Matthew >
1 c.u.
Accelerated semester format, offered in summer

Using philosophy, literature, religious studies and biographies of famous public leaders, students conduct a searching examination of competing ideas and concepts regarding leadership, moral reasoning and ethical action. Students reflect on the complexities of problem-solving through an ethical lens and further define their individual interpretations and approaches to ethical decision-making. As an integral part of this simultaneously academic and practical exploration of leadership ethics, students co-author a mini-biography assessing the ethics of a famous (or infamous) public leader.

Instructor: Elizabeth Matthew >
1 c.u.
Accelerated semester format, offered in spring 1

This writing-intensive course is designed to enhance each student’s ability to communicate effectively in the workplace and other professional settings. Students learn how to edit their own writing, give persuasive oral presentations to different audiences, communicate effectively during conflicts or crises and apply evidence-based lessons from positive psychology to personal development and professional success. Students who have taken LEAD 101 use this introspective exercise to update their five-year leadership and communication career plan, and students who have not taken LEAD 101 complete the first draft of a plan.

1 c.u.
Accelerated semester format, offered in summer

In our digital world, data-driven decision-making is becoming more common and more expected. Effective leadership and communication, therefore, often hinges on the ability to acquire, manage, analyze and display large, quantitative data sets. Even many entry-level jobs assume or require basic knowledge of data analytics. This course introduces students to important concepts in data analytics across a wide range of applications using the programming language R. Students complete the course with a clear understanding of how to utilize quantitative data in real-time problem identification, decision-making and problem-solving. No prerequisites in statistics or math are required.

*Academic credit (PDF) is defined by the University of Pennsylvania as a course unit (c.u.). A course unit (c.u.) is a general measure of academic work over a period of time, typically a term (semester or summer). A c.u. (or a fraction of a c.u.) represents different types of academic work across different types of academic programs. One c.u. is usually converted to a four-semester-hour course.


LPS Online

3440 Market Street, Suite 100
Philadelphia, PA 19104-3335

(215) 898-7326