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Graduate Certificate Options

While pursuing a Masters of Public Administration, you can also work towards a Graudate Certificate! The Department of Political Science offers the Certificate in Local Government Administration, but students have a variety of options they can chose from while in Graduate School. These options include:

Local Government Administration

The graduate certificate in Local Government Administration prepares students for careers in local government administration. The two required courses rely on a foundation of Public Administrative theory relevant to the current issues and skills necessary for effective and responsible local government administration

The certificate can be taken by itself or in conjunction with the pursuit of the master's in public administration or a graduate degree in another field. Course credits earned in the certificate program can be applied to the MPA. It is possible for students to complete their MPA with an emphasis in Local Government Management and receive the graduate certificate without completing additional coursework.

While local governments are facing greater demands, they have limited resources to meet these increased expectations. Enhanced professionalism and efficiency play a central role in the ability of local government and local government officials to address these challenges. The graduate certificate in Local Government Administration will help develop skills and knowledge needed to increase the effectiveness of local governments.

The Local Government Administration Certificate highlights the basics of local government administration, while also addressing emerging trends in areas like e-governance. The certificate requires 12 hours and can be earned online within a period of one year.

Required Courses (6 hours)
PS 526 Local Government Administration

PS 528 Civic Engagement & E-Governance

Elective Courses (6 hours)
PS 520 Elements of Public Administration        
PS 512 Kentucky Government & Politics
PS 550 Cultural Competencies for Public Administrators      
PS 554 Cross-Sector Collaboration & Conflict
PS 562 Public Policy Implementation & Evaluation       


For more information, please, contact Dr. Shannon Vaughan by e-mail (shannon.vaughan@wku.edu) or by phone (Phone Num270-745-2908).

Nonprofit Administration

The graduate certificate in Nonprofit Administration prepares students for careers in, and service to, the nonprofit sector. Guided by national curricular guidelines, the focused program addresses current issues and skills relevant to the nonprofit sector.

What is it?
  • A 12 credit hour program that is 100% online.
  • Program designed to increase student preparedness for careers in, and service to, the nonprofit sector.
  • Program design was guided by national curricular guidelines. The focused program addresses current issues and skills relevant to the nonprofit sector.
Who is the program for? 
  • Nonprofit professionals interested in continuing their education.
  • Students preparing for careers in the nonprofit sector.
  • Community members interested in serving the nonprofit sector (e.g., board of directors, committees)

Courses (12 hours)

RSA 560 Issues in Nonprofit Administration

RSA 565 Nonprofit Grant Writing and Fundraising

RSA 570 Fiscal Administration in the Nonprofit Sector

RSA 585 Nonprofit Practicum

Additional information about these courses can be found by clicking here.


For more information, please, contact Dr. Raymond Poff by e-mail (raymond.poff@wku.edu) or by phone (270-745-2498).

Organizational Leadership

The Organizational Leadership Certificate program provides an interdisciplinary academic graduate program through which students can enhance their understanding of leadership theory and practice while applying it directly toward their academic or professional area of interest. The academic requirements offer students a common basic curriculum of leadership theory at the graduate level and practical application of that theory to a specialized area of interest to the student. Additionally, the program allows the student to choose two courses from a broad interdisciplinary selection of courses for a total of 12 credit hours. Substitutions for these courses may be made with consent of the advisor. Students applying to the Graduate School at WKU can elect to pursue the graduate certificate in Organizational Leadership either by itself or in conjunction with a graduate program in a selected specific discipline.

  • Enhanced career opportunities
  • Special lectures and interaction with local and regional leaders
  • Workshops and seminars
  • Applied activities
  • Leadership participation
  • Professional experience
  • Certificate becomes a permanent part of your academic transcript

I. Introduction to Leadership Perspectives (3 hours)

  • LEAD 500: Effective Leadership Studies
II. Electives: Pick 2 electives with advisor approval from the following 3 categories: (6 hours)
  • Ethics and Social Responsibility
  • Human Relations
  • Critical Thinking and Empirical Assessment

III. Capstone (3 hours)

  • LEAD 600: Leadership Capstone Experience


For more information, please contact Dr. John Baker by e-mail (Email:john.baker1@wku.edu) or by phone (270-745-5149).

Communicating in Organizations

The Communicating in Organizations certificate provides students the opportunity to develop an in-depth understanding of how communication functions in organizations. Using foundational and current research in the field, students are exposed to organizational communication theory and processes. Students will take graduate courses that focus on general organizational communication theory, applied organizational communication, communication within specific organizational contexts, and one other course chosen by participants as especially relevant to their own work and interests.

Organizational Communication in Context (6 hours)

  • COMM 528 Comm in the Nonprofit Sector
  • COMM 561 Multinational Organizational Comm
  • COMM 564 Crisis Communication
  • COMM 571 Organizational Communication in the Digital Age
  • COMM 581 Applied Organizational Communication
  • COMM 586 Processes of Group Communication

Strategies for Communicating (6 hours)

  • COMM 523 Health Communication
  • COMM 553 Health Communication Campaigns
  • COMM 563 Issues Management
  • COMM 565 Communication and Conflict
  • COMM 566 Corp & Org Advocacy
  • COMM 568 Organizational Identification
  • COMM 577 Terrorism & Communication
  • COMM 578 Seminar in Interpersonal Communication
  • COMM 587 Comm Intercultural Negotiation & Mediation
  • COMM 590 Intercultural Communication


For more information, please, contact Dr. Jie-Young Kong by e-mail (jieyoung.kong@wku.edu) or by phone (270-745-6578).

Beyond these four Certificates, the Graduate School offers many other options.
Please click here to see what else you can do!


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Your Future Begins Here

The MPA program prepares graduate students from diverse backgrounds to be productive leaders and managers in public service by sharing knowledge, encouraging excellence in research and practice, and fostering an environment of professionalism within the communities we serve. 

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 Last Modified 5/21/21