Certificate Leadership in Public Service

The Leadership in Public Service (LPS) Certificate is a joint venture with the MLK Freedom Center in Oakland, California. It presents an opportunity for those interested or involved in mid-level public administration to become  “transformational leaders,” or leaders who want to make a difference.

This certificate can be completed in one year and is delivered fully online, allowing students to complete the coursework quickly and effectively. As one of the few schools that provide an online certificate program in public service, Union is uniquely positioned to help students gain valuable leadership skills while emphasizing social justice within the program.

This program acts as a stand-alone certificate and credits from the CLPS are transferable to the MA program.

18 Total credits
$460 Cost per credit hour
May 3 Next Start Date

Course Foundation Topic Areas

  • Foundations/Fundamentals of Public Administration
  • Public Policy
  • Human Resources/Personnel Management/Human Relations
  • Ethics
  • Strategic Management/Planning
  • Courses developed by the MLK Freedom Center in Oakland, CA
  • 18 credit hours—6 fully online courses
  • January, May and August start dates
  • Complete the certificate in as little as 12 months
  • CLPS 506 - Developing Cultural Identity and Awareness within Public Administration
  • CLPS 505 - History of Public Administration
  • CLPS 504 - Personal Transformation through Public Services
  • CLPS 501 - Principles of Nonviolence in Public Service
  • CLPS 502 - Social Relations and the Role of Public Service
  • CLPS 503 - Transformational Change in Public Service Agencies
  • History of Public Administration
  • Personal Transformation through Public Service
  • Transformational Change in Public Service Agencies
  • Social Relations and the Role of Public Service
  • Principles of Nonviolence in Public Administration
  • Developing Cultural Identity and Awareness within Public Administration
  • Have successfully completed a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a cumulative grade point average (GPA) of at least 3.0.
  • Have three to five years of work experience with an interest in expanding their public administration abilities and skill set with the possibility of taking on greater leadership responsibilities.
  • Demonstrated interest and commitment to social justice issues and practices, as demonstrated in a statement of purpose.

Frequently Asked Questions

What makes the Certificate in Leadership in Public Service [CLPS] unique and distinctive?

The Certificate in Leadership in Public Service is an interdisciplinary program that will build upon one’s professional expertise and experience. It provides professionals with an ethical framework to apply the principles of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr’s nonviolence to public service within one’s career. Students benefit from a basic understanding of key intellectual and historical developments through which Public Administration became a formalized, structural government vehicle. Graduates develop a framework for cultural proficiency and for applying cultural power within Public Administration. They will also benefit from an analysis of public service based on an understanding of the role of tension and points of unity between differences of race, class, culture, age, national origin and geographic location.

How was the CLPS developed?

The program is a joint venture with the Martin Luther King, J.R. Freedom Center in Oakland, CA. This partnership combines Union’s academic excellence with the educational training experience, social justice advocacy and political knowledge of the Freedom Center.

The Freedom Center, founded in 1987, is a community action agency “dedicated to Dr. King’s ideals of non-violence, social change, racial and economic justice, and a peaceful world.” While specifically focused on working with children, youth and families in the Greater San Francisco Bay Area, it also works in collaboration with existing organizations to educate and provide resources to surrounding communities.

What topics are embedded in the program curriculum?

The following topics/foundational areas are embedded throughout the program curriculum: foundations/fundamentals of public administration/service, public policy (analysis), human resources/personnel management/human relations, ethics and strategic management/planning. There will be a specific emphasis in the program on the teachings and work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and Cesar Chavez.

Who would benefit from the Certificate in Leadership in Public Service?

The CLPS is geared toward leaders who aspire to or currently serve in administrative roles within their organization. The certificate is designed for the “transformational leader” not for those who are just seeking advanced training; it is for those who want to make a difference, not just be knowledgeable leaders.

How is the CLPS program of study structured?

The curriculum consists of six (6), 3-credit courses. One course is offered every eight weeks in a 16-week term, with the program completed in three consecutive terms (one calendar year). The program will include all of the usual components of a graduate level online course, including coaching sessions for all students with specified faculty to enhance their personal and professional development. These coaching sessions will be 30-60 minutes phone or in-person meetings between the student and each of her/his faculty members in each course, to be arranged by the student. All courses are delivered fully online.

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