Skip to main content
SPS Logo

Program Overview

Leadership Certificate Program

Leadership Certificate Program

This program is designed around three core topics: people, strategy, and change. Combined, these areas form a thorough understanding of leadership as it applies to the individual and to the broader organization. Using the strategies and techniques discussed in each course, students work through real workplace or career challenges, while gaining perspective from professionals in a variety of industries. Each course includes an industry recognized self-assessment for deeper personal awareness of the leader’s impact and effectiveness. Students are taught by experienced corporate leaders, executive coaches, and industry consultants who will cover each topic.

Registration for Winter 2019 is open:

Space is limited. Save your seat today!


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 confidently and effectively

Audience for Leadership Program

The Northwestern University School of Professional Studies Leadership Certificate 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 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 insights needed for leaders to excel in their organizations.

This 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 certificate:

  • Leading, Acting, and Thinking Strategically (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 $1,060. The total cost of the program is $3,180. 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.

Find out more about Northwestern's Leadership Certificate

Contact an Enrollment Advisor

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

Leadership Certificate Program Courses

Core Courses:Course Detail
Leading, Acting, and Thinking Strategically <> LEAD_ART 200-0

Strategic Thinking and Acting always appears in 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. 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.


Required Course Preparation:

Students will be provided with a link to take a DiSC assessment prior to the first day of class; learning activities will be tailored to each course based on assessment results.

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

As leaders or project managers you are expected to support organizational changes and get your team bought into those changes. You also create changes within your scope of work to create positive improvements to the products, services, people and revenue of the business, yet 80% of change efforts fail.


In this course you will learn how to be that successful influencer and creator of change. You will use proven processes for implementing lasting change that eliminate the risk of your change becoming another “flavor of the month.” You will gain the personal insight and skills to convince key stakeholders of your proposal and enlist others in your vision of change. These skills will also reduce resistance and eliminate the potential for legal action originating from mishandled change initiatives.


By the end of the second day you will not only possess a clear understanding of the mechanics of change within organizations but will have developed a vision for change and learned how to be a better influencer as a leader.


Learning Objectives: At the end of the two-day session students will have the models, knowledge and insights to:

1)  Design change using proven methods to increase adoption success
2)  Analyze the environment and variables to determine the barriers and strategies for change
3)  Identify system implications to ensure sustainable change
4)  Anticipate reactions to change and respond appropriately
5)  Identify your strengths and challenges as a key influencer in your organization
6)  Tailor influence communication to those in different stages of change and whose communication patterns differ from the student’s own style


Required Course Preparation:

1)  MBTI: Students will be provided with a link to take the Myers Briggs Step II assessment prior to the first day of class; learning activities will be tailored for each course based on assessment results.

2)  Change Application Tool: Students will apply what they learn to real situations, one of personal change and the other work related. Complete the planning tool for each change and bring these to the first day of class.

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.


Course Materials:

  • StrengthsFinder 2.0. Rath, Tom. New York: Gallup Press, 2007. ISBN-10: 1-595-62015-X | ISBN-13: 978-1-59562-015-6

Students may purchase this book from any retailer where it is available, in any format. PLEASE NOTE:  Students must purchase a new book in order to ensure that the assessment link is valid.

Required Course Preparation:

Students should complete the assessment included in StrengthsFinder 2.0 and email their results to the instructor, Alyssa Dickman, at prior to the first day of class. Learning activities will be tailored to each course based on assessment results. 

PLEASE NOTE: Students must purchase a new book in order to ensure that the assessment link is valid.

View LEAD_ART 204-0 Sections
Back to top