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Leadership Studies Program

Welcome to the Leadership Studies Program

The Leadership Studies program is a transdisciplinary academic program offering both minor and certificate options, as well as a variety of elective courses on leadership theory and practice open to all undergraduate students at UMD. Any student regardless of major is welcome to pursue a minor or certificate in Leadership Studies; our students represent every academic college/school at the University of Maryland! Our program promotes leadership learning and development by educating students for and about leadership in a complex world. Valuing global citizenship and civic education, 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. The curriculum challenges students to think about leadership critically and broadly, deconstructing dominant narratives of privilege, position, and authority and reconstructing to center shared processes, marginalized voices, global communities, and leadership for social change. Students are supported in recognizing their own biases and assumptions about leadership, and build 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 within the Division of Student Affairs.

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

Minor/Certificate 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)

NOTE: Beginning Fall 2023, Leadership Studies core courses will carry the new LEAD prefix. Both the minor and certificate programs require completion of our three core courses: HESI/LEAD 217, HESI/LEAD 315, and HESI/LEAD 417, in that order. 217 and 315 serve as the theoretical foundation for the program. 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/LEAD 217 - Introduction to Student Leadership
  • HESI/LEAD 315 - Student Leadership in Groups and Organizations (HESI 217 prerequisite)
  • HESI/LEAD 417 - Advanced Leadership Seminar (Capstone) (HESI 217 & 315 prerequisite)

Leadership Elective (3 credits)

Both the minor and certificate programs also require completion of one course (3 credits) from a series of 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 options include some online courses 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, elective for Minor)

NOTE: Beginning Fall 2023, Leadership Studies core courses, including the social action sequence, will carry the new LEAD prefix. 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/LEAD 320 (2 credits) and HESI/LEAD 321 (1 credit), taken consecutively in that order (i.e. "back-to-back"). HESI/LEAD 217 and 315 are prerequisites for this sequence. The sequence can also be taken as an elective toward the minor.

  • HESI/LEAD 320 - Social Action Seminar
  • HESI/LEAD 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 (unless exceptions have been made by the student's major program), 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.

The majority of leadership studies courses are open to any undergraduate student at the University of Maryland. Many of our courses fulfill General Education requirements, upper level electives, or can be applied to a variety of major-related requirements (pending approval from your major school/college). Please be sure to check the Schedule of Classes on Testudo for dates, times, and formats for a specific term.

Core Courses

NOTE: Beginning Fall 2023, Leadership Studies core courses will carry the new LEAD prefix. These required courses serve as the theoretical and practical foundation for the Leadership Studies Program. HESI/LEAD 217 and 315 are also open to the general student population.

  • HESI/LEAD 217 Introduction to Student Leadership
    • Fall in-person, Winter online, Spring in-person, & Summer hybrid
  • HESI/LEAD 315 Student Leadership in Groups and Organizations
    • Fall in-person, HESI/LEAD 217 prerequisite
  • HESI/LEAD 417 Advanced Leadership Seminar/Capstone
    • Fall & Spring in-person, HESI/LEAD 217 & 315 prerequisites
  • HESI/LEAD 320 Social Action Seminar
    • Fall online, for minor/certificate students only, required for Certificate students
  • HESI/LEAD 321 Advanced Social Action Seminar
    • Spring online, for minor/certificate students only, required for Certificate students, HESI/LEAD 320 prerequisite

Leadership Electives

Leadership electives include courses that explore a variety of leadership topics, considerations, and applications. Many of these courses are open to the general student population. Students in the minor and certificate programs must complete at least one of the courses from the following list. Students may also use these courses to count as their General Elective requirement. Generally, leadership electives during winter and summer terms are offered in an online format. Check the Schedule of Courses on Testudo for the latest updates on course days, times, and delivery formats.

  • HESI 221 Leadership, Power, & Privilege (Winter and/or Summer online)
  • HESI/LEAD 320 & 321 Social Action Seminar Sequence (2 credits Fall, 1 credit Spring, online, restricted to minor/certificate students) 
  • HESI/LEAD 318 Courses: Applied Contextual Leadership**
    • HESI 318A: Leadership in Film (Winter and/or Summer online)
    • HESI 318E: Exploring Strengths & Values for Effective Leadership (Spring in-person, Summer & Winter online)
    • HESI 318F: Facilitating Leadership Learning (Spring in-person, permission required)
    • HESI 318W: Leadership and the Workplace (Summer online)
  • HESI/LEAD 418 Courses: Special Topics in Leadership**
    • HESI 418V: Global Leadership in a Virtual Context (Fall and/or Spring online)
  • HESI 421 Leadership and the Black Community (Spring in-person)
  • HESI 422 Women and Leadership (Spring in-person)
  • HESI 423 Leadership and Ethnicity (Fall in-person)
  • HESI 424 Leadership and the Jewish Community (Fall and Spring in-person)
** HESI 318 and 418 options not listed here may also count toward the Leadership Elective requirement for the minor and certificate. Many of these course are open only to students in special programs and organizations (i.e. Greek chapter presidents, orientation leaders, adventure education employees, etc.) If you have questions about these courses, please contact

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. Students in the minor must complete one of the courses from the list below. Students in the certificate must complete two. Students can read more about these courses in the Undergraduate Catalog or by contacting the sponsoring departments directly. If students would like to count a course not on this list, they have the option to propose an alternative using the General Elective Proposal FormThis form must be submitted and approved PRIOR to taking the course. 

Business and Management (BMGT)

  • BMGT 361: Entrepreneurship: Starting and Managing the Entrepreneurial Venture
  • BMGT 364: Management and Organization Theory


  • BSCV 301: Leadership in a Multicultural Society

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 (various letters): The Discourse of Social Movements

Education, Counseling, & Personnel Services (EDCP)

  • EDCP 210/310: Peer Counseling Theory and Skills 
  • EDCP 220: Introduction to Human Diversity in Social Institutions
  • EDCP 312: Multi Ethnic Peer Counseling
  • EDCP 386: Experiential Learning**
  • EDCP 420: Advanced Topics in Human Diversity and Advocacy
** Subject for approval

Education, Human Development (EDHD)

  • EDHD 230: Human Development and Societal Institutions
  • EDHD 402: Social Development
  • EDHD 421: Peer Relations

Education Leadership, Higher Education, & International Education (EDHI)

  • EDHI 338 (various letters): Teaching and Learning about Cultural Diversity through Intergroup Dialogue**
** Offered for 1-3 credits. Must be taken for 3 credits to count for the Leadership Studies Program

Higher Education, Student Affairs, & International Education Policy (HESI)

  • HESI 220: Adaptive Strategies for Multicultural Leadership and Dialogue
  • HESI 221: Leadership, Power, and Privilege
  • HESI 320 & 321 Social Action Seminar Sequence
  • HESI 318: Applied Contextual Leadership (variety of courses offered under this prefix. See listing above.)
  • HESI 418: Special Topics in Leadership (variety of courses offered under this prefix. See listing above.)
  • HESI 470: Introduction to Student Personnel
  • HESI 489: Field Experiences in Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy**
  • HESI 498: Special Problems in Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy**
** Subject for approval

Gemstone (GEMS)

  • GEMS 208: Special Topics in Leadership and Team Development**
** Offered for 1-3 credits. Must be taken for 3 credits to count for the Leadership Studies Program

Journalism (JOUR)

  • JOUR 300: Journalism Ethics
  • JOUR 402: Journalism Law and 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: Public Leaders and Active Citizens 
  • PLCY 311: Women in Leadership
  • PLCY 313: Advocacy in the American Political System

Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies (WGSS)

  • WGSS 250: Introduction to Women, Gender, & Sexuality Studies - Art & Culture (formerly WMST 250)


The Leadership Studies Program is transdisciplinary, and therefore is relevant and open to undergraduate students from any major. A link to the online application for the both the minor and certificate is provided below. Before applying, please make sure you meet the following eligibility requirements:

  • You are currently completing HESI/LEAD 217 or have completed HESI/LEAD 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 and accept that no more than 9 credits of leadership studies coursework taken prior to admittance into the program will count toward completion of the minor/certificate.

The application contains three sections: (1) Personal 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.

While we accept applications year-round, we typically review applications and admit students to the program every fall and spring semester. If you apply to the program during winter or summer term, we will confirm receipt of your application and keep it on file, but may not be able to officially admit you to the program until the next regular term (fall or spring, whichever comes first.) During fall and spring terms, we typically notify students regarding decisions on applications within two weeks of submission. For questions, please contact the Leadership Studies program at

Core Faculty

Teaching and TA Opportunities

The Leadership Studies faculty is committed to creating engaging and inclusive classroom environments. We run a comprehensive instructor development program and often have opportunities for graduate students and staff members to teach with us as instructors of record or teaching assistants. Interested graduate students (doctoral and masters levels) and working professionals with an earned graduate degree should take EDCP 694 Student Leadership Development in preparation for a teaching experience. EDCP 694 is offered in partnership with the Higher Education, Student Affairs, and International Education Policy (HESI) graduate program. Undergraduate students in the Leadership Studies minor/certificate program can also serve in teaching assistant roles. For more information on available opportunities, please reach out to us at

Contact Us

Interested in the Leadership Studies Program? Have questions for our faculty or program administrators? Need to set up an appointment with a faculty advisor? Email us at