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LEAD: Leadership and Professional Development Graduate Certificate

The LEAD certificate is designed to provide students with opportunities to master leadership and professional development competencies. The dynamic nature of today’s society and economy requires us all to think critically, communicate effectively, and transfer skills into multiple environments. LEAD facilitates learning and competencies required for academic, career, and personal success.

Why Leadership and Professional Development?

The dynamic and global nature of academia, business, healthcare, and other employment sectors require leaders who are able to develop solution-oriented teams that are able to produce high quality outcomes. Now more than ever are industries seeking ethical and competent leaders who can navigate uncertainty while fostering productivity. LEAD requires students to master the skills industry leaders articulate as most important for career success and advancement.


LEAD at UAB offers world class educational experiences that are documented on an official transcript. In addition to gaining the skills and competencies needed to advance your career, at the conclusion of the LEAD graduate certificate program you will have earned 15 graduate school credit hours. As a regionally accredited institution, these credits may be applied to interdisciplinary degrees in accordance with institutional policies.

Who will benefit from LEAD courses?

  • Anyone interested in improving upon their leadership skills.
  • Employees seeking career advancement, or transferable skills to maximize employment mobility in today’s dynamic economy.
  • Students preparing for admissions to graduate or professional school programs where leadership and team-work skills are expected.
  • Students preparing for entry into the workforce who want to stand out among their peers as the candidate with the most promise.
  • Professionals considering a graduate degree who want to gain practical skills associated with career advancement and quality of life.
  • Current UAB employees who are satisfied with their environment and wish to apply an institutional benefit that supports continued academic learning.

  • Course Details

    LEAD courses are designed to meet the needs of its busy student cohorts. Courses are offered in various formats including evening, face-face classes, as well as online, hybrid or weekend seminar. The program is 15 credit hours taught at the 500 (master) level. To complete the certificate students must complete 4 required courses and select elective “Skill Builder” courses to earn the remaining credits.

    Review the table below to see LEAD courses and when they are offered.

    (total 15 credit hours: 10 required/core + 5 elective)


    Required Course Name Credit Hours Offered
    LEAD 500 Introduction to Leadership Behavior & Theory 3 CH Fall & Spring: Hybrid
    LEAD 520 Ethics in the Workplace 3 CH Spring: Online
    LEAD 540 Team Development and Dynamics 2 CH Summer: Hybrid
    LEAD 590 Capstone: Leadership ReDesigned 2 CH Fall & Spring: Hybrid


    Elective Name Credit Hours
    LEAD 501 Professional Writing for Leaders 1 CH
    LEAD 503 Professional Interviews and Interviewing 1 CH
    LEAD 505 Prioritization and Decision Making 1 CH
    LEAD 506 Emotional Intelligence 1 CH
    LEAD 521 Servant Leadership 1 CH
    LEAD 522 Followership 1 CH
    LEAD 542 Leading Diverse Teams 1 CH
    LEAD 543 Planning and Leading a Meeting 1 CH
    LEAD 570 Seminar in Leadership & Professional Development 1 - 3 CH

    NOTE: Find a description of each course here.

    If you have additional questions regarding the LEAD curriculum, please email

  • Meet the LEAD Faculty & Instructors

    All LEAD instructors demonstrate a passion for education, teaching, learning, and leadership development. We teach specific courses based upon our academic and professional experiences. If you are interested in discussing your interests with us, please reach out and let us know. Sharing ideas with others dedicated to professional development is one of the ways we like to stay connected with you, our students and colleagues.

    Instructor Courses Taught Contact Information
    Dr. Michelle Allen LEAD 570: Diversity - Politics, Policy, & Practice
    Dr. Heather Ammons LEAD 570: Academic Advising History & Practice
    Dr. Josh Carter LEAD 520: Ethics in the Workplace  
    Dr. Anna Davis LEAD 505: Prioritization and Decision Making
    Dr. Lisa Marie Kerr LEAD 500: Introduction to Leadership,
    LEAD 540: Team Development & Dynamics,
    LEAD 590: Leadership Re-Designed,
    LEAD 5XX: Various Skill Builder Courses
    Dr. Virginia Lacey LEAD 500: Introduction to Leadership
    Dr. Tyler Peterson LEAD 524: Intergenerational Leadership
  • Become a LEAD Faculty/Instructor

    All LEAD course instructors must meet the criteria to be credentialed course instructors (CCI) per UAB policy. Therefore, if you are interested in teaching a LEAD course please complete the LEAD CCI Information and Interest form linked below.

    • According to SACSCOC, in order to be the instructor of record, the CCI must demonstrate:
      • An earned doctorate or terminal degree in the teaching or related discipline, or
      • An earned master’s degree in the teaching discipline, or a master’s degree with a minimum of 18 graduate semester hours earned in the teaching or related discipline; direct experience with the course content/leadership in the associated field; and willingness to receive guidance and support from the LEAD certificate director including meetings, training, feedback, and/or mid-semester and end of semester evaluation.
    • If you are interested in proposing a new skill builder workshop or seminar course that meets the LEAD program objective (PO) and desired learning outcomes (DLO), you must provide a sample syllabus that demonstrates the alignment of the course with the PO and DLO.
    • Documents that you must submit to receive CCI approval include:
      • A copy of your current CV or resume
      • Copies of your academic transcripts (these will need to be official copies prior to receiving your appointment letter)
      • Completed copy of the CCI Information and Interest Form
      • Completed copy of the CCI Roster Form
  • Application Checklist
    • New students
      • Please note that admissions to the LEAD graduate certificate is based upon previous academic work, letters of recommendation, and your personal statement. As you prepare to apply to LEAD:
        • Update your resume and/or CV
        • Write your personal statement to demonstrate how LEAD will support you in reaching your professional, academic, and/or personal goals.
        • Identify and ask two people to write supportive letters of recommendation for you. It is a good idea to share your most recent resume or CV as well as your personal statement with them to help the personalize their letter.
        • Request official copies of all your academic transcripts to be sent to UAB graduate admissions (more details in the application)
        • Complete the online application.
        • Pay the application fee
  • You're Admitted - Next Steps
    • New students: Visit the New Students to UAB page.
    • Current students: Reach out to your program director to learn more about which classes to take and upcoming orientation.
    • Questions: Email
  • Frequently Asked Questions

    What are the admissions requirements for LEAD?
    All applicants must:

    1. Submit an official transcript demonstrating that you have earned a bachelor’s degree from a regionally accredited college or university with a 2.5 minimum grade point average.
    2. Submit a personal statement articulating why you seek to complete the LEAD graduate certificate relative to your academic, professional, or personal goals.
    3. Complete and submit the UAB Graduate School Application.
    4. GRE and MCAT are not required to be admitted.

    Can undergraduate students take LEAD courses?
    Yes. Current UAB undergraduate students may enroll in LEAD courses with their academic advisor’s permission. LEAD courses also meet the requirements for Honors College elective credits.

    Can a student take LEAD courses if that student is not enrolled in the LEAD certificate program?
    Yes. You do not need to be admitted to the LEAD certificate in order to take a LEAD course. LEAD courses are great electives for professional and leadership development skills. Anyone in the following groups may enroll into LEAD Courses:

    • Undergraduate Jr. & Sr.
    • Non-degree Seeking, Post-Bac
    • Graduate Students
    • Post-Doctoral Fellows
    • Community members
    • UAB employees

    Can UAB employees use the tuition benefit to pay for LEAD courses?
    Yes, current UAB employees may use the tuition benefits to take LEAD courses. Current UAB employees may take individual classes based upon their interest and professional goals, or apply to complete the LEAD certificate.

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