Higher Education Leadership / Certificate

Leadership in higher education requires the ability to formulate strategies for meeting current and future challenges facing higher education institutions. This includes making decisions and taking actions that are mindful of the latest trends in higher education and student services, focusing on the unique needs of an institution and its students. Students enrolled in the Certificate in Higher Education Leadership will learn how to use critical thinking and decision-making skills to enhance their effectiveness as leaders in higher education.


This 18-hour Certificate in Higher Education Leadership is an alternative to the complete Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership for students looking to build critical leadership skills specific to institutions of higher education. This certificate does not require a thesis. Students who earn the Certificate in Higher Education Leadership will understand leadership theories and leadership as a psycho-social phenomenon, use critical thinking and decision making skills to enhance leadership and organizational effectiveness within higher education institutions, gain an awareness of existing systems and services along with future directions in higher education, and develop the ability to facilitate change in their organizations.


Minimum Requirements for Admission to the Certificate Program

The applicant must:

1. Have earned a baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited institution of higher education.

2. Have maintained a GPA of at least 3.0 (on a scale of 4.0) in the last 60 hours of undergraduate courses.

3. Complete a graduate form, accompanied by a non-refundable application fee.

4. Submit official undergraduate and graduate transcripts from all institutions of higher education previously attended.

5. Submit two letters of recommendation.

6. Submit an essay concerning one's personal and professional goals.

7. Be accepted by the Graduate Council of the College of Arts and Sciences.

Relationship to Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership

Students who earn this certificate may apply all certificate courses to the Master of Arts in Organizational Leadership and do not have to reapply for the entrance into the master's program. Please see Organizational Leadership / Master of Arts for information on the master's program.

Contact the Graduate Program Director for master's program policies which are pertinent to the certificate program as well. [The undergraduate Fast Track option does not apply to applicants for the Certificate in Higher Education Leadership.]


A student-at-large is not a degree candidate. In order to be admitted as a student-at-large, the applicant must submit official documentation of a baccalaureate degree from a regionally-accredited institution of higher education and complete a modified application form. The decision to admit an at-large student to graduate courses belongs to the Graduate Program Director, whose decision is based on an evaluation of the applicant’s undergraduate coursework and possibly an interview. However, should the student decide to apply for full admission status at a later time, but within 5 years of course completion, only a maximum of 6 semester hours of graduate coursework completed as a student-at-large can be applied toward the certificate, and only courses with grades of B or better will count toward the certificate.

Transfer Admission Procedures

Students may apply up to 3 semester hours of graduate-level work from other regionally-accredited institutions to their certificate program. (Students who earned their master's in MAOL from Lewis University may, with permission of the Graduate Program Director, apply specific courses-up to 6 credit hours-to this certificate program.) The following conditions apply to the acceptance of transfer credit:

1. Only a course with a grade of B or better will be accepted.

2. Coursework must have been completed at a regionally-accredited graduate school.

3. Appropriateness of coursework will be decided by the Graduate Program Director at the time of the student’s application to the program.

4. Courses from outside the United States will be considered if they are evaluated as graduate level by the Office of Admission or the Commission on Accreditation of the American Council on Education.

5. Transferred credit may not exceed 3 semester hours in any case.

6. Credit for prior learning is not awarded for graduate programs.

Certificate Requirements

1. Successful completion of 18 credit hours of graded coursework, of which 15 hours must be taken at Lewis University. No more than 3 credit hours in graduate coursework may be transferred in from a regionally-accredited institution of higher education.

2. Successful completion of all required courses listed below.

3. Students will be permitted to repeat a course only one time.

4. Achievement of an overall GPA of 3.0 in all courses taken at Lewis University included in the certificate program.

Degree Offered: Post Baccalaureate Certificate
Total Credit Hours: 18


Program: PBC-HEDU-L

Required Courses (18)

ORGL-50900Leadership: Theories, Practices and Context


ORGL-51600Principles of Higher Education: Mission and Directions


ORGL-52400Leading Change


ORGL-55600Systems and Services in Higher Education


ORGL-55800Planning Strategically


ORGL-57200Adult Development


Some courses required for this certificate may be offered online only.