About the Program

Request a leadership studies faculty member to speak at your class or campus event.


The Leadership Studies Program focuses on developing students’ leadership skills in seven distinct areas:

  • Catalytic—Identifying, analyzing, and judging complex collective challenges and opportunities, and mobilizing others to remain focused on addressing them.
  • Contextual—Knowing the cultural, historical, institutional, intellectual and policy context in which one operates.
  • Interpersonal—Modulating one’s behavior in order to interact effectively in a variety of settings.
  • Theory
    Understanding the fundamental leadership concepts, constructs and research findings.
  • Organizational—Planning, organizing, coordinating and executing collective action.
  • Personal—Being self-aware; that is, able to reflect on one’s thinking, feeling, and behavior and knowing one’s strengths and weaknesses, predilections, dominant tendencies and values.
  • Social Systems—Analyzing dynamic social and political systems.

Adapted from: Pittinsky, T.L. (2006) “How to Develop Public Leaders.” Kennedy School Bulletin, summer 2006, p. 13.


The objectives of the Leadership Studies Program are to:

  • Develop students’ leadership capacity—which encompasses individual-level capabilities of self-awareness, integrity and commitment; group-level capabilities of collaboration, shared purpose and handling controversy with civility; and community-level capabilities of citizenship and civic responsibility.
  • Provide opportunities for students to study leadership by learning effective communication practices, organizational theories, ethical principles, an appreciation of diversity, intrapersonal development and the value of community service.
  • Cultivate students’ understanding of social empowerment and social justice to create positive and sustainable change.
  • Challenge students to critically examine leadership at the intrapersonal, interpersonal, team, organization and society levels.
  • Bring students into contact with community leaders and faculty members from diverse academic departments, backgrounds and leadership experiences.
  • Prepare students to undertake leadership roles in their careers and in service to their community through coursework and co-curricular engagement.

Learning outcomes

Upon completion of the minor or certificate in leadership studies, students will:

  • Recognize leadership as a set of skills, knowledge and attitudes that can be learned.
  • Understand traditional and emergent leadership theories and apply them in practice.
  • Comprehend key concepts of communication theories, organizational theories, contemporary diversity issues and ethical principles.
  • Practice and evaluate their own capacity to lead effectively within teams, organizations and diverse communities.
  • Develop and implement plans for continually improving their leadership capacity.
  • Demonstrate proficiencies in written and oral communication.