Welcome to the Leadership Studies Program

The Leadership Studies program is an interdisciplinary academic program offering both minor and certificate options. Any undergraduate student regardless of major or home college is welcome to apply. Leadership Studies students represent every academic college at the University of Maryland! Our program promotes undergraduate student leadership development by educating students for and about leadership in a complex world. We aim to prepare students to effectively engage in leadership in both formal and informal ways within campus, local, national, and global contexts.

As a part of this program, students explore leadership theory and practice from a variety of social, historic, and disciplinary lenses and are challenged to think about leadership critically and broadly, beyond dominant narratives of position and authority. Students are also encouraged to identify a working philosophy of leadership that can advance their thinking around ethics, civic engagement, and the importance of working within diverse and multicultural environments. Beyond the classroom, students can use their knowledge, skills, and competencies gained from this academic program to enhance their sense of self and engagement with others, as well as their practice within their major discipline, future career, and ongoing engagement with communities and organizations.

The Leadership Studies Program is made possible through a partnership between the Department of Counseling, Higher Education & Special Education and the Leadership & Community Service-Learning office in the Adele H. Stamp Student Union - Center for Campus Life.

Please explore the tabs above to learn more about the minor and certificate requirements, courses offered, instructors, contact information, and more.

Program Requirements

The Leadership Studies Program offers both a minor and certificate option. The minor requires 15 credits total, with at least 9 credits at the 300 level or above. The certificate requires 21 credits total, with at least 12 credits at the 300 level or above. Details of these requirements are listed below. A full course listing can be found under the courses tab above.

Core Courses (9 credits)

Both the minor and certificate programs require completion of our three core courses: HESI 217, HESI 315, and HESI 417, in that order. HESI 217 and 315 serve as the theoretical foundation for the program and are offered every fall and spring semester. HESI 417 is a capstone course taken in a student's final year at UMD and after all other requirements for the minor/certificate have been completed.

  • HESI 217 - Introduction to Student Leadership
  • HESI 315 - Student Leadership in Groups and Organizations
  • HESI 417 - Advanced Leadership Seminar (Capstone)

HESI Leadership Elective (3 credits)

Both the minor and certificate programs also require completion of one course from a series of HESI courses on a variety of topics designed to help students dive deeper into applications of leadership theory. This course can be taken at any point in the program and include some online options offered over winter and summer terms. The complete listing of course options for this requirement can be found on the courses tab above.

General Elective (3 credits for Minor, 6 credits for Certificate)

In addition to the requirements listed above, the minor requires completion of one general elective (3 credits) and the certificate requires completion of two general electives (6 credits). General electives are courses offered through a variety of schools and colleges across the University that offer unique disciplinary and contextual lenses on leadership and organizational life. General elective requirements can be fulfilled any point in the leadership studies program. A list of our pre-approved general elective courses can be found on the courses tab above.

Social Action Sequence (3 credits for Certificate Only)

In addition to the requirements listed above, students pursuing the certificate option are required to also complete our Social Action Sequence, designed to help students critically explore connections between leadership and social issues. The sequence includes HESI 320 (2 credits) and HESI 321 (1 credit), taken consecutively in that order (i.e. "back-to-back"). HESI 217 and 315 are prerequisites for this sequence.

  • HESI 320 - Social Action Seminar
  • HESI 321 - Advanced Social Action Seminar

NOTE: Per university policy, no more than six credits from a student's minor or certificate program can also be applied to a student's major, and no more than six credits may be taken at an institution other than the University of Maryland. All courses must be completed with a grade of C- or better.

Core Courses

These required courses serve as the theoretical and practical foundation for the Leadership Studies Program.

  • HESI 217 Introduction to Student Leadership
  • HESI 315 Student Leadership in Groups and Organizations
  • HESI 417 Advanced Leadership Seminar (Capstone)
  • HESI 320 Social Action Seminar (Required for Certificate students only)
  • HESI 321 Advanced Social Action Seminar (Required for Certificate students only)

HESI Leadership Electives

HESI Leadership Electives include courses that explore a variety of leadership topics, considerations, and applications.

  • HESI 220: Adaptive Strategies for Multicultural Leadership & Dialogue
  • HESI 221: Leadership, Power, & Privilege 
  • HESI 318A: Leadership in Film (ONLINE) 
  • HESI318C: Applied Contextual Leadership: The Principles of Personal Excellence (Personal Leadership) 
  • HESI318I: Applied Contextual Leadership; Global Leadership in a Virtual Context 
  • HESI318J: Applied Contextual Leadership; Leadership and Sports 
  • HESI318M: Applied Contextual Leadership; Leadership and Education 
  • HESI318W: Applied Contextual Leadership; Leadership and the Workplace
  • HESI318Z: Applied Contextual Leadership; Socially Responsible Leadership and Internship
  • HESI320: Social Action Seminar (2 credits Fall) and HESI321: Advanced Social Action Seminar (1 credit Spring) 
  • HESI418A: Special Topics in Leadership; Asian American Leadership 
  • HESI418B: Special Topics in Leadership; Black Student Leadership 
  • HESI418C: Special topics in Leadership; Latino Leadership
  • HESI418D: Special Topics in Leadership; Leadership and Ethnicity 
  • HESI 418E: Strengths-Based Leadership (ONLINE) 
  • HESI418F: Special Topics in Leadership; Jewish Leadership
  • HESI418G: Special Topics in Leadership; Women’s Leadership 
  • HESI418I: LGBTQ Leadership
  • HESI418K: Leadership and the Multiracial Experience 

General Electives

These courses are offered through a variety of schools and colleges across the University and provided discipline-specific perspectives on leadership and organizational life.

Education, Counseling, & Personnel Services (EDCP) and Higher Education, Student Affairs, International Educational Policy (HESI)

  • EDCP 220: Introduction to Human Diversity in Social Institutions
  • EDCP 310: Peer Counseling Theory and Skills 
  • EDCP 312: Multi Ethnic Peer Counseling
  • EDCP 386: Experiential Learning**
  • HESI 220: Adaptive Strategies for Multicultural Leadership and Dialogue
  • HESI 221: Leadership, Power and Privilege
  • HESI 320 & HESI 321 Social Action Sequence
  • HESI 318: Applied Contextual Leadership (variety of courses offered under this prefix)
  • HESI 418: Special Topics in Leadership (variety of courses offered under this prefix)
  • HESI 420: Advanced Topics in Human Diversity and Advocacy
  • HESI 422: Women's Leadership
  • HESI 470: Introduction to Student Personnel
  • HESI 489: Field Experiences in Counseling and Personnel Services**
  • HESI 498: Special Problems in Counseling and Personnel Services 

**subject for approval

Behavioral and Social Sciences (BSOS)

  • BSOS 301: Leadership in a Multicultural Society

Business and Management (BMGT)

  • BMGT 361: Entrepreneurship
  • BMGT 364: Management and Organization Theory

Communication (COMM)

  • COMM 324: Communication and Gender
  • COMM 330: Argument and Public Policy
  • COMM 420: Theories of Group Discussion
  • COMM 424: Communication in Complex Organizations 
  • COMM 461: Voices of Public Leadership in the Twentieth Century
  • COMM 469: The Discourse of Social Movement

Educational Leadership, Higher Education and International Education (EDHI) & Words of Engagement.

  • EDHI 338: Teaching and Learning about Cultural Diversity through Intergroup Dialogue/Words of Engagement (Note: This is usually a 1-credit course. If you take this course as an elective you will still need at least 2 additional credits at the 300/400 level to fulfill one elective course.)

Gemstone (GEMS)

  • GEMS 208: Special Topics in Leadership and Team Development

Human Development

  • EDHD 230: Culture, Context, & Human Development
  • EDHD 402: Social Development
  • EDHD 421: Peer Relations

Journalism (JOUR)

  • JOUR300: Journalism Ethics

Psychology (PSYC)

  • PSYC 221: Social Psychology
  • PSYC 334: Psychology of Interpersonal Relationships
  • PSYC 361: Survey of Industrial and Organizational Psychology

Public Policy (PLCY)

  • PLCY 201: Leadership for the Common Good 
  • PLCY 313: Political Leadership and Participation: Advocacy in the American Political System
  • PLCY 311: Women in Leadership

Women's Studies (WMST)

  • WMST 250: Introduction to Women's Studies

**For students who would like to use a course not listed as an elective towards their Minor/Certificate please refer to the General Elective Proposal Form.  Forms must be submitted and approved PRIOR to taking the course. 


The Leadership Studies Program is interdisciplinary, and therefore open to undergraduate students from any major. A link to the online application for the both the minor and certificate will be made available here on this website once per semester for a period of 3-4 weeks.  Before applying, please make sure you meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • You are currently enrolled in HESI 217 or have completed HESI 217 with a C- or better.
  • You are in good academic standing
  • You have at least one full academic year left before you graduate from UMD
  • You understand that no more than 9 credits of leadership studies coursework taken prior to acceptance into the program will count toward completion of the minor/certificate.

The application contains three sections: (1) Demographic Information; (2) Leadership Studies Coursework (your plans for completing the program requirements), and (3) Short Answer Questions (highlighting your interest in/readiness for this program). Applicants should review the program requirements and list of various courses on the menu above prior to filling out this application and/or or have them up on their screen while filling out the application. Please note that students accepted to the program are permitted to make adjustments to their coursework plan by meeting and discussing with one of our LSP academic advisors. It may also be helpful for applicants to prepare responses to the short answer questions on a separate document before placing them in the application, as work may not "save" within the application prior to submitting. For reference, the short answer questions are listed here. Responses should be approximately 250-300 words for each:

  • How will learning about leadership inform your future aspirations? 
  • Tell us a bit about where and how you spend your time when you are not in class.
  • What strengths do you bring to a learning community?

Click here to access the Leadership Studies Program application.

Please note that our online application is opened for a limited time each fall and spring semester, typically in September and February. Email notifications will be made regarding application status approximately two weeks after the application period has closed. For questions, please contact the Leadership Studies program at leadershipstudies@umd.edu.


  • Craig Slack, PhD Affiliate Assistant Professor & Leadership Studies Director
  • Melissa L. Rocco, PhD  Affiliate Assistant Professor & Leadership Studies Coordinator
  • Genevieve Hiltebrand, Instructor & Graduate Coordinator
  • Ashley Hixson, Instructor & Graduate Coordinator
  • Noel Kuriakos, Instructor & Graduate Coordinator

Contact Us

Interested in the Leadership Studies Program? Have questions for our coordination team? Need to set up an appointment with an advisor? Email us at leadershipstudies@umd.edu.