- What is the Leadership Studies program?
- How is the certificate different from a major or a minor?
- Who can enroll in the program?
- What are the requirements of the program?
- How do I sign up for the program?
- When can I enroll? Is there any specific year I have to begin the coursework?
- Are there any majors that work best with the Leadership Studies Program?
- What are the benefits of the program and how will it help me after I leave Iowa State University?
- I’m a pretty busy person. How much extra coursework does this program really take?
- How long does it take to complete the program?
- How is this program different from other leadership experiences on campus?
- Are there any other parts of the Leadership Studies Program besides coursework?
- What are the classes like?
- Do I need to take the required courses in any certain sequence?
- Are any core courses offered in the summer?
- Are any core courses offered only once a year?
- Can I get credit for a course I took before I enrolled in the program?
- Can a course not on the pre-approved list be considered to count towards the certificate or minor?
- Do you have to be enrolled in the program to take a leadership studies course?
- What else can I do on campus to supplement this certificate or minor?
- Who should I contact with questions?
The Leadership Studies Program is an interdisciplinary program designed for students in all majors, consisting of a 21-credit certificate and a 15-credit minor. By building on university courses offered in a variety of academic disciplines, the students completing either the certificate or minor have a strong foundation and appropriate experience in leadership, communication and organizational theory. The program is designed for undergraduate students who, regardless of their profession, seek to develop their leadership skills.
How is the certificate different from a major or a minor?
A certificate is more substantial than a minor—minors require 15 credits, whereas certificates require 21 credits in multiple subject areas and a capstone course to tie everything together. Certificates may also be completed after receiving a bachelor’s degree from Iowa State University or any other accredited institution.
What are the requirements of the program?
Check out the Curriculum Map (PDF) for a checklist of the requirements for the certificate and minor. Earning the certificate requires the completion of 21 credits through three courses in leadership, speech communication and organizational theory; one elective course in communications; six credit hours in leadership electives; and a capstone experience including a course, internship or study abroad. The minor shares the same three core courses as the certificate, then students choose six credit hours of leadership electives from a subset of the courses included in the leadership certificate.
When can I enroll? Is there any specific year I have to begin the coursework?
You can enroll during any semester and in any year during your time at Iowa State University, or even after graduating. We encourage you to complete the paperwork prior to your next course registration period so that you can plan your coursework with the certificate or minor in mind.
Are there any majors that work best with the Leadership Studies Program?
The certificate and minor complement every major. The colleges of Design, Engineering, and Liberal Arts and Sciences have made efforts to include more electives in the program, but students in any major can complete the program successfully.
What are the benefits of the program and how will it help me after I leave Iowa State University?
Completion of the certificate or minor is recognized on your ISU transcript, and you should include it on your resume. This acknowledges the focused coursework you completed to develop your leadership skills. These experiences prepare you to do better in conveying your skills in interviews and to lead in multiple settings, regardless of your chosen profession.
I’m a pretty busy person. How much extra coursework does this program really take?
The program is set up so you can complete the certificate or minor with only three extra courses if you design your major plan of study and your certificate or minor plan of study together. Typically students add three to five courses to complete the certificate successfully, depending on when they begin. Many students will have completed some of the courses or will have to complete them for another major on campus, thus reducing the courses they must add to their schedule.
How long does it take to complete the program?
You can begin the program your first semester and complete it as a full-time student without additional semesters if you develop your plan of study for both your major and the certificate or minor together. But even students who begin the program later in college often find they have already taken a few of the required courses and can still successfully finish the requirements for the certificate or minor. Of the 21 credits required for the certificate, 12 credits can count toward both the certificate and your major.
How is this program different from other leadership experiences on campus?
The Leadership Studies Program is different from other leadership opportunities on campus because it is an academic program. Students in the program take academic courses to develop their leadership skills. Other episodic campus opportunities, like retreats, speakers or workshops, are great one-time experiences. Students participating in the Leadership Studies Program study leadership across multiple semesters and with some of the same students across multiple classes. The courses and experiences offered through the Leadership Studies Program provide multiple years of rich, developmental experiences. This higher level of commitment and deeper learning through courses is recognized on students’ transcripts and should be included by students on their resumes.
Are there any other parts of the Leadership Studies Program besides coursework?
Yes, the program offers students access to a number of experiences on campus specifically tailored to their interests. Students enrolled in the program are invited to receptions and dinners with guest speakers, as well as to community service activities. These opportunities are made available only for students in the Leadership Studies Program. The Leadership Studies Program also coordinates the Vermeer International Leadership Program, a year-long, in-depth leadership experience and scholarship program focused on the fields of engineering, business and agriculture, and Global Leadership Study Abroad, where participants study leadership theories and practices in a global setting. The Leadership Studies Program also offers several internship opportunities each academic year. In addition, any student interested in leadership can join the Leadership Studies Club, a student organization that promotes opportunities for members to put their leadership skills into practice and creates mentorship opportunities for those new to the program.
What are the classes like?
The core required courses focus on leadership, speech communication and organizational theory. The core course, LD ST 322: Leadership Styles and Strategies in a Diverse Society, is an interactive course that invites students to work with peers to develop their own leadership skills and to better understand society’s views of leadership. The elective courses will vary based on the department. Students are encouraged to take elective courses that are relevant to their areas of interest.
Do I need to take the required courses in any certain sequence?
The courses can be taken in any order. However, it can be helpful to take LD ST 322 first, as it can serve as a prerequisite for SP CM 312 if you are enrolled in the certificate or minor. Also, be mindful of prerequisite courses that are required for some courses in the leadership studies curriculum.
Are any core courses offered in the summer?
LD ST 322 is offered every summer as an online course in Session I and/or Session II. Please check with your adviser, the Course Catalog or the Schedule of Classes for information about the availability of the other core courses, since they are from other academic departments.
Are any core courses offered only once a year?
Yes, POL S 371 is offered only in the Fall semester. However, MGMT 371 – which is offered both in the fall and spring – can be used to fulfill the same requirement.
Can I get credit for a course I took before I enrolled in the program?
Yes. The course requirements are tailored to work with a student’s current major, so if you have already completed a course on the approved course list then it will count towards fulfilling the program requirements.
Can a course not on the pre-approved list be considered to count towards the certificate or minor?
Not all courses will be approved, but we welcome suggestions for classes to be added to the list of approved courses to meet the needs of students. A department can propose a course by completing the Leadership Studies Course Proposal form (PDF) and submitting it to firstname.lastname@example.org or 309 Catt Hall.
Do you have to be enrolled in the program to take a leadership studies course?
No, all leadership studies courses are available to any student enrolled at Iowa State University. However, enrollment in a particular section of a course may occasionally be restricted to certain groups of students.
What else can I do on campus to supplement this program?
There are co-curricular activities offered to students in the Leadership Studies Program; for example, guest speakers and dinners with campus and community leaders to get advice and hear their stories. Simply getting involved on campus can supplement the program, such as participating in leadership retreats, clubs, community service events and more. Get started by visiting the Student Activities Center.
Who should I contact with questions?
For questions about enrolling in the leadership studies certificate or minor or for other advising questions, please contact:
For questions about the Global Leadership Study Abroad Program or Vermeer International Leadership Program, please contact:
Tara Widner, Ph.D.
Lecturer in leadership studies