Designed by faculty at Harvard Kennedy School, the Public Leadership Credential (PLC) is an online professional program that provides changemakers with the skills and knowledge necessary to advance the public good and have an immediate impact within their communities.

Designed for working professionals, the Public Leadership Credential consists of six online courses that are each six weeks in length plus a culminating capstone assessment. Learners have the option to enroll in one course, multiple courses, or all six courses and the capstone to earn the full credential. These courses foster an active and engaged learning environment for participants, offering in-depth training in the design and evaluation of public policy as well as an examination of the role and agency of public leadership.

The PLC also provides a potential pathway to the Mid-Career Master in Public Administration (MC/MPA), allowing those who complete the credential to apply to the MC/MPA Program and—if admitted—the opportunity to count PLC courses toward the MC/MPA degree. To qualify for the PLC, participants must have a bachelor’s degree and five years of work experience. They also must be proficient in English and be able to dedicate 10-12 hours a week to coursework.

The Public Leadership Credential at a Glance

Learn 100 percent online

Equip yourself with a toolkit for taking immediate action in your community

Choose from six courses, with an anticipated 10 to 12 hours of study per week

Participate in a learning experience filled with peer discussions, case studies, and simulations

Enroll in one course, take multiple courses, or complete all six courses and the capstone to earn the credential

Become eligible to apply for a special pathway to Harvard Kennedy School’s MC/MPA Program

Flow chart of course requirements: Students must complete A-level courses in evidence, leadership, and policy before moving on to B-level courses in the same topics. To earn the credential, students must also complete a capstone project.

Why the Public Leadership Credential?

”I have learned to think more critically about policy design, challenge my own assumptions, and ask why prevailing norms exist rather than accept them at face value. This has been an immensely invaluable course as I advance my career.”

– Chi-Chi Zhang, Google News, Policy Design and Delivery Learner

Learners come from every corner of the world to gain the unparalleled transformative education provided at Harvard Kennedy School and to channel their drive for change into effective, ethical action.

Distinguished Scholars and Practitioners

The Public Leadership Credential (PLC) taps the expertise of Harvard Kennedy School faculty members, who develop and direct the coursework. Each six-week course was created to engage learners in an active and meaningful way through case-based teaching, simulations, and peer interaction.

Practical, Immediate Tools

A credential program designed for real-world application, the PLC program equips learners with the skills to make policy, solve public problems, and lead organizations and communities. Those who complete all six courses and wish to earn the credential must complete an online capstone assessment, which encompasses the content of all courses.

A Global Network of Peers

The PLC connects learners with like-minded peers through small-group work and other collaborative activities. Learners will benefit from the experiences and perspectives of other community leaders and changemakers while building connections that foster a lifetime of growth.

Register for the Program

Explore the Public Leadership Credential:

There are limited spots to enroll. Register for a course today.