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Learn to unpack gender, race/ethnicity, and class issues in politics — and prepare for a leadership role in public service.

Program Type

Graduate Certificate

Semester Start


Study Options

Online, On Campus, Hybrid

Minimum Duration

9 Months

UMass Boston’s award-winning Gender, Leadership, and Public Policy Certificate focuses on preparing you for a public service career where you can serve at all levels of government; take on leadership roles in nonprofit organizations; hold elected office; and pursue advanced degrees in law, public policy, and other areas. It’s designed for professionals who want to hone their leadership skills and add a certification to their résumé. Examine the role of women in public leadership roles in a range of settings; gain an understanding of how the intersection of gender, race/ethnicity, and class shapes women’s lived experiences and their potential for leadership; and determine opportunities and approaches for effectively influencing policy formation to create a more equitable and just society. Apply these skills to virtually any field — from government to nonprofits to research to human resources, diversity programs, and corporate social responsibility issues. You have the option to continue on for an additional two semesters to earn a Master of Public Administration (MPA) with a concentration in Gender, Leadership, and Public Policy.


  • This program consists of six 3-credit courses, or 18 credits.
  • Online tuition is $575 per credit.
  • On campus tuition is:
    • $789.20 per credit for Massachusetts residents
    • $1,365.13 per credit for New England residents
    • $1,520.30 per credit for out-of-state students
  • Total estimated cost to complete this program online starts at $10,350.
  • Estimate is based on completing program by minimum duration. Other fees may apply. Request Info to connect with a program representative for further details.


  • Apply by July 1 for fall admittance
  • Priority deadline for fall admittance is April 15

Application Checklist

To apply online, you'll need to submit:

  • Review the university's general application requirements for graduation admission. 
  • If you are an international applicant, please see additional requirements
  • GREs are NOT required for this program.
  • A Statement of Purpose — Write a two-part essay:
    • In part 1 (no more than 300 words), give your reasons for wishing to attend graduate school.
    • In part 2 (at least 1,200 words), describe your specific interests and the type of work you would like to do in your intended field.
    • This essay should be typed and should include your name.
  • Official Transcripts — Submit official transcripts to the Office of Graduate Admissions from every college and university that you have attended and from which you earned more than 6 credits. Transcripts should provide evidence of a bachelor’s degree from a college or university of recognized standing. Official transcripts must be sealed in an envelope from the issuing institution. We accept electronic transcripts from most universities and delivery services. If possible, please select “UMass Boston-Graduate” when ordering transcripts. Please use for transcripts services that require an institutional email.
  • Letters of Recommendation — Submit two letters of recommendation. The letters should come from people who can address your academic abilities and/or leadership capabilities. They can come from your professors or people who know you professionally or through your civic engagement work. If you are a recent graduate, we ask that at least one of the letters come from a professor who taught or advised you. Download the letter of recommendation form.
  • Résumé/Curriculum Vitae
  • Interview (optional) — Arrange for an in-person or telephone interview with the Assistant Program Director Muna Killingback. This is optional, but advised if you wish to discuss any components of your application further.
  • Application Fee
  • Women in American Politics and Policymaking (PUBADM 623) (online and on campus)
    Explore the many dimensions of politics in the United States, how women have organized to have a greater role in politics, and the skills women need to fully participate in politics and policymaking. You’ll examine how politics and government affect American women’s lives today, and assess the ways that women participate in the political process in order to influence the course of public policy. Reading and class discussions on the intersection of race/ethnicity and gender in politics are central to the theoretical perspectives that provide the foundation of this course. 
  • Contemporary American Public Policy Issues (PUBADM 619) (online and on campus)
    Examine the formulation, implementation, and impact of public policy, as well as the values and principles that influence political debates in the United States. In addition to learning the essentials of public policy formation and analysis, you’ll actively negotiate the complexity of policy making in action through assignments designed to develop key skills. The course focuses on several major domestic policy areas with emphasis on health care, economic security, and social welfare.
  • Research Methods for Policy Analysis (PUBADM 628) (online and on campus)
    In this course, you’ll study a survey of research methods and the use of evidence to build persuasive arguments. The course is divided into three sections: (1) quantitative methods; (2) qualitative methods; and (3) community-based participatory action research, providing an overview of each group of research methods. Throughout all three sections, you’ll explore feminist research methods and scholarly work. Each section of the course culminates in the submission of a policy brief on a topic of your choosing. Each policy brief will highlight the research methods from that portion of the course.
  • Leadership and Organizations: Gender, Power, and Authority (PUBADM 629) (online and on campus)
    In this course, you’ll have the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of authority, leadership, and organizational dynamics, and to learn about your own behavior in groups. You’ll unpack terms such as authority, power, leadership, boundaries, role, and task to deepen your understanding of your own experiences in groups, organizations, and communities. The impact of social identity (gender, race, ethnicity, class, sexual orientation, age, etc.) on how roles are taken up or allowed to be taken up in groups and organizations will also be explored.
  • Fall Internship (PUBADM 622) and Spring Internship (PUBADM 624) (online and on campus)
    The GLPP internship program is designed to provide you with substantive experience in the field of politics and public policy. You’ll receive faculty guidance through the internship selection process and are expected to secure an internship by the end of the semester. You may begin your internship in the fall or spring semester and are expected to complete a minimum of 160 hours during the course of the academic year. Monthly internship class meetings and a final reflective assignment emphasize professional and leadership development.

    The second semester of GLPP’s internship program provides an opportunity for you to integrate and apply knowledge from GLPP core seminars to the experiential learning at the internship setting. It also allows for learnings in the field to inform and complement GLPP coursework. Monthly meetings explore themes of leadership, organizational and institutional analysis, career trajectories, and self-evaluation/professional development. Written assignments and oral presentations are required in this course in addition to the completion of internship hours. The course culminates in final presentations to the cohort and program faculty about the internship experience.

At the end of this two-semester program, you’ll be awarded a graduate certificate in Gender, Leadership, and Public Policy. The certificate will demonstrate your expertise in the field on your résumé, as well as in interviews and workplace evaluations. You can also continue on for an additional two semesters to earn a Master of Public Administration (MPA) with a concentration in Gender, Leadership, and Public Policy.

Graduates of the GLPP certificate program have gone on to accept leadership positions in:

  • the public sector, including elected or appointed positions in legislature or government agencies at municipal and state levels
  • nonprofit organizations focused on issues of advocacy
  • research centers and think tanks
  • the private sector including human resource offices, diversity programs, and corporate social responsibility initiatives

Many graduates have also continued on to further graduate studies, generally in law and public policy.

Recent Graduates

Employers include:

Bank of America Charitable Foundation      Unitarian Universalist College of Social Justice       Federal Trade Commission United States of America

Maggie Hassan United States Senator for New Hampshire          Boston Public Health Commission                   Office of the Attorney General Commonwealth of Massachusetts

dhcd Massachusetts          City of Boston                 Victim Rights Law Center

Why UMass Boston Online?


Among the lowest online tuition rates of an accredited, public research university.


Study full-time to finish fast, or part-time to suit your schedule. Live sessions scheduled with the working professional in mind.


The same courses taught by the same academic departments as on campus. No third-party providers.

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Gender, Leadership & Public Policy Certificate

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Get the inside scoop on the Gender, Leadership & Public Policy experience, career outcomes, events, and more.