Leadership Certificate Program

Develop the skills you need to manage effectively and implement change with a leadership certification from Northwestern University. Whether you’re a current people leader or strive to become one, this online leadership training program builds your strengths in practical areas such as strategic thinking, influence building, and team development.

Grounded in proven methodologies, Northwestern’s leadership certificate program focuses on three core topics—people, strategy, and change—to provide a thorough understanding of leadership as it applies to the individual and the broader organization. Using the strategies and frameworks discussed in each course, students work through real workplace or career challenges, while gaining perspective from professionals in a variety of industries. Students enrolled in the online leadership program will complete three industry-recognized self-assessments (DiSC, TKI, and CliftonStrengths) for deeper personal awareness of their own impact and effectiveness as leaders. All on-campus and online leadership courses are taught by experienced corporate leaders, executive coaches, and industry consultants who provide personalized insights and guidance to help students in the program further their own development goals.


Spring 2024 Registration deadline:
LEAD_ART 200-0 Strategic Thinking and Leading (Remote) April 22, 2024
Summer 2024 Registration deadline:
LEAD_ART 200-0 Strategic Thinking and Leading (Remote) May 31, 2024
LEAD_ART 204-0 Developing People and Teams (Remote) June 28, 2024

 Register here


About the Leadership Certificate Program

Leadership Program Goals

During this program, students will:

  • Define their personal leadership style through targeted assessments and group mentoring
  • Learn how to lead and influence direct reports, peers, stakeholders, and executives
  • Assemble a personalized strategic development plan
  • Learn the skills and behaviors to lead successful change
  • Engage and align others through storytelling techniques
  • Learn how to anticipate and address dysfunctions within a team
  • Improve strategic thinking skills through interactive simulations
  • Practice delivering feedback and coaching confidently and effectively

Audience for Leadership Program

The Northwestern University School of Professional Studies Leadership Certificate program is designed for professionals seeking to propel their career forward and elevate themselves as leaders. It is applicable to any individual who wants to better demonstrate their leadership skills on a daily basis, and especially those who are seeking or have received a promotion to an expanded or more advanced professional role in their organization.

Participation in the Leadership Certificate program is a prime opportunity to hone skills that are essential to excel professionally, and to network with professionals from other companies and industries. Each class is designed to be highly interactive using best practices in online teaching and adult learning. Participants address real work issues and gain insights from fellow classmates and from seasoned experts with decades of practical experience. This approach provides the tools and the real world strategies needed for leaders to excel in their organizations.

Northwestern's leadership training is a highly cost-effective option for middle managers, supervisors, owners, and leaders of small- to medium-sized businesses and nonprofit organizations, and anyone looking to develop a customized plan for leadership within their organization.

Leadership Certificate Requirements

Completion of three courses is required for the leadership certification:

  • Strategic Thinking and Leading (LEAD_ART 200-0)
  • Leaders as Change Agents (LEAD_ART 202-0)
  • Developing People and Teams (LEAD_ART 204-0)

Visit the Leadership Program Courses page for course descriptions and schedule information.

Tuition and Financial Aid for the Leadership Certificate Program

The tuition for each course required for the Leadership certificate is $1,200. The total cost of the leadership training program is $3,600. Complete details can be found on the Leadership Certificate Tuition and Financial Aid page.

Career Options in Leadership

Skilled managers are essential across all industries including sales, training and development, public relations, marketing and real estate. Management positions often require a bachelor’s degree with two to five years of experience. Top executives may need to also earn a master’s degree and typically need extensive managerial experience. Many top executives advance within their own company, moving up from lower level managerial or supervisory positions. Read more on the Career Options in Leadership page.

Related Professional Development Programs at SPS

Learn more about related certificate programs:

Find out more about Northwestern's Leadership Certificate

Contact an Enrollment Adviser

An Enrollment Adviser at Northwestern University School of Professional Studies can help with any inquiries regarding our certificate programs.

Leadership Certificate Program Courses

Core Courses:Course Detail
Strategic Thinking and Leading <> LEAD_ART 200-0

Strategic thinking and leading always appears on the list of highly desired skills for leaders, managers, and key individual contributors. This highly interactive class will use simulations and real life examples to teach you practical strategic thinking practices that you can immediately put to use. In addition, you gain insight into the strengths and development areas of your leadership style, and how your style can help you think and act strategically.


This course uses an adult learning approach. You will be actively involved and apply course concepts to actual situations and case studies in class. This enables you to practice skills and use tools that can be immediately applied when you go back to your work environment. We will apply strategic thinking tools including: Scenario Planning, Systems thinking, SWOT analysis, and Mind Mapping. We will use the DiSC Work of Leaders Assessment to understand your leadership strengths, development areas, and how those relate to strategy and leading people. The instructor will use a combination of lecture, facilitation, and in-class coaching. You will also create a Personal Strategic Plan to help you with your next steps in your professional development.


Registered students can access their online course site here. An activated NetID and password is required for login. *Please note: It may take up to 24-hours for registered students to be added to the online course platform.

View LEAD_ART 200-0 Sections
Leaders as Change Agents <> LEAD_ART 202-0

Leaders at all levels are often asked to support organizational changes, many of which fail. Have you been asked to explain the “why” of the change, identify and influence stakeholders as the champion for the change, or envision the change plan from idea to execution? You may be leading a small or large change, a change that is within your team or organization-wide, and it may span a few weeks or many years. While each change looks different, there are several models and approaches which will support you as change agent.

Leaders as Change Agents will teach you how to approach leading changes within your organization. We will explore models for change which set the stage for success and can serve as a checklist for you to consider as you move from the idea to implementing the change. You will also create your own “change profile” with your strengths and watch-out areas to help assess your change fluency.

Learning objectives

By the end of this four-week course, you will be able to:

  • Utilize multiple change models to design organizational change with increased success
  • Analyze the organizational environment and variables to determine the barriers and strategies for effective changes
  • Identify your strengths and opportunity areas as a change agent in your organization
  • Practice and discuss change approaches through case studies
  • Describe key elements of change management, including vision, stakeholders, resistance, and key questions to ask

Registered students can access their online course site here. An activated NetID and password is required for login. *Please note: It may take up to 24-hours for registered students to be added to the online course platform.

View LEAD_ART 202-0 Sections
Developing People and Teams LEAD_ART 204-0

Organizational leaders do not achieve their goals by themselves. Effective leaders develop people in a way that promotes individual growth, while improving business outcomes. Students will look at individual development including coaching, mentoring and motivation theory. Team development will be explored through the topics of facilitation and collaboration. Participants will also have the opportunity to assess their personal style of conflict resolution.


Registered students can access their online course site here. An activated NetID and password is required for login. *Please note: It may take up to 24-hours for registered students to be added to the online course platform.

View LEAD_ART 204-0 Sections