Public Leadership
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Examining today's events to develop tomorrow's leaders

Public Leadership explores the theory and practice of leadership, empowering students to become social change agents through hands-on public service projects and examination of pressing social, political, and economic issues. Public Leadership is defined as “the inspiration and mobilization of others to undertake collective action in pursuit of the common good.”

Students become informed citizens able to reason critically and persuasively about public matters and to apply diverse approaches to leadership and citizenship in a multicultural society. Students learn to form an ethical vision and develop their own leadership potential as they explore and assess personal values, beliefs, and purpose.

Public Leadership is a community of students from all majors who are committed to developing their leadership skills for the common good.


Active Learning

Located near the nation's capital, the state capital, and a large international diplomatic community, the University of Maryland is an ideal setting for examining and growing public leadership. PL provides a variety of engaging field trips, professional development seminars, and speaker events.  Past field trips have included trips to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum, U.S. Capitol, Goddard Space Flight Center, US Justice Department and the Peace Corps Headquarters.

Students participate in a team-based capstone experience that uses the skills developed in the program to create and implement consulting projects addressing real issues in our community.  These projects allow students to apply skills related to leadership, social innovation and entrepreneurship to make an impact on a social issue or problem of their choice. The project also includes an opportunity to effectively raise, manage and deploy real funds to achieve social impact.

Colloquium and Lecture Topics

  • Why would anyone want to be led by you?
  • Leadership and social change application
  • Negotiation and conflict resolution
  • Persuasion and motivation 
  • Understanding leadership strengths in yourself and others


Curriculum Overview

The following table represents a typical four-year curriculum, but individual schedules may vary. Details about courses and requirements can be found on the Public Leadership Citation Checklist.

View, print or download Public Leadership Citation Checklist

Freshman Fall   Freshman Spring  
Course Credits Course Credits
Scholars Colloquium 1 Scholars Colloquium 1
Leadership for the Common Good 3 ENGL 101S 3
3-4 Courses toward degree and major requirements 9-12 4-5 Courses toward degree and major requirements 9-12
Sophomore Fall   Sophomore Spring  
Course Credits Course Credits
Scholars Colloquium 1 Scholars Practicum 3
Oral Communication Course 3 4-5 Courses toward degree and major requirements 12-15
3-4 Courses toward degree and major requirements 9-12