Registration and Payment

Certification and Credit

Courses and Timing

Transcripts and Enrollment

Technical Requirements

Registration and Payment

Do I need to have a specific degree or a certain amount of work experience to register for the Public Leadership Credential?

As part of the registration process, learners will need to confirm that they meet these course requirements:

  • They have completed a bachelor’s degree.
  • They have at least five years of work experience.
  • They are proficient in English.
  • They are available to commit an estimated 10 to 12 hours per week to coursework, including a required weekly live video conference with other enrolled students around the world.

Are GRE, TOEFL, or other standardized test scores required to register?

Learners do not need to submit any standardized test scores in order to register. These tests are not required.

How much does a single course cost?

For the 2019-2020 academic year, a single course costs $750.

How much does the capstone cost?

For the 2019-2020 academic year, the capstone costs $500.

How much does the overall PLC cost?

The estimated total cost for all six courses and the capstone required to earn the credential is $5,000. For the 2019-2020 academic year, a single course costs $750, and the capstone fee is $500.

What forms of payment are accepted?

We accept all major credit and debit cards: Visa, Mastercard, American Express, and Discover. Credit and debit cards are the only forms of payment we accept.

Is financial aid available? Do you offer scholarships or discounts?

HKS does not provide financial aid, scholarships, or discounts for PLC at this time.

Can I use federal student aid (e.g. GI Bill benefits) to pay for PLC courses?

HKS does not provide federal student aid or GI Bill benefits for PLC at this time.

Do you offer payment plans?

HKS does not offer payment plans for PLC at this time.

Can I withdraw from a PLC course once I’m enrolled?

Yes, a learner can withdraw from a PLC course before the start of the orientation period of a given session. Withdrawals will be considered on a case-by-case basis and must be requested by the learner in writing. If a learner withdraws from a course, HKS will provide a full refund through the orientation start date. HKS will refund the tuition to the credit card used for the original payment. No refunds will be granted after the start of orientation.

Can I defer my enrollment to another session?

A learner may request to defer a course enrollment if extenuating circumstances prevent their participation in a course in which they are currently enrolled. Requests to defer enrollment from one session to another are made on a case-by-case basis and must be requested by the learner in writing.

Certification and Credit

What is the credential?

Program participants earn the Public Leadership Credential after the successful completion of the six courses plus the capstone assessment. The credential is in the form of a certificate. It is not a diploma.

How can I complete the credential?

Learners must complete all six courses plus an online capstone assessment to meet the requirements for the credential. Please visit our courses page for more information.

How long will it take to complete the credential?

A highly motivated learner could take all six courses and complete the capstone to earn the PLC credential in as little as 11 months. More typically, a learner might take two or even three years, depending on work, professional and personal commitments.

What is the capstone?

The capstone serves as a cumulative learning experience after the successful completion of all six courses and is a requirement to attain the Public Leadership Credential. During the capstone experience, Harvard Kennedy School faculty facilitate online activities for learners to demonstrate learning outcomes across all courses, including an assignment that synthesizes PLC frameworks and tools and a review of key learning assignments completed in the courses.

What is required to begin the capstone assessment?

Learners must have successfully completed all six online courses to enroll in the capstone.

Once I complete the credential, how do I apply to the MC/MPA Program?

Learners who have earned the Public Leadership Credential may apply to the Mid-Career Master in Public Administration (MC/MPA) during the standard admissions cycle. If accepted, the PLC credential replaces three of the eight courses required for the MC/MPA. This path allows learners to be at HKS for just the summer session and one semester instead of a whole year.

Do you offer Harvard Kennedy School credit for PLC courses?

While we do not offer academic credit for individual PLC courses, we offer academic credit within the Harvard Kennedy School MC/MPA Program for those who successfully complete our credential and are accepted to the MC/MPA Program.

Courses and Timing

Can I take two courses at the same time?

The default recommendation is to take one course at a time. While it is possible to take two courses at a time, learners need to be aware of the time commitment and academic rigor that these courses demand. Learners wanting to take two courses simultaneously should weigh these considerations with other professional and personal demands. We also recommend reviewing our refund policy before registering.

Can I take three courses at the same time?

Learners cannot take three courses at a time.

Can I take any course I want, or is there a required path?

Learners are welcome to take any A course they want. Learners must take an A course before they take the corresponding B course. See course list here.

How long will coursework take each week?

Learners should expect to spend an estimated 10 to 12 hours per week on online and offline activities and assignments, including a required weekly synchronous virtual meeting (typically taking place on the weekend) with an assigned small group of other enrolled students.

I have a prior commitment during part of the course. Can I make up my work the following week?

Because of the nature of the learning experience, learners must fully participate in each of the six weeks of the course and submit work by the weekly deadlines. Any work that is submitted late will be subject to the late policy outlined in the course syllabus. The estimated time per week for course-related activities is 10 to 12 hours, including required synchronous group work each weekend.

Are the courses available in languages other than English?

At this time, courses are offered only in English. Learners must be proficient in verbal and written English.

What access to Harvard University resources will be available to learners in the PLC?

All PLC courses are facilitated by a team of dedicated educators who are available to guide learning. Learners in the PLC may have some limited opportunities to engage with our faculty leads, though they are not generally available for one-on-one support. PLC learners do not have access to HKS alumni services or most other university-wide resources (e.g., facilities, student services, career services, library online resources).

What happens if I find I cannot commit to completing my work every week?

PLC courses require regular weekly participation by learners. If a learner has been inactive in the course for more than one week, HKS reserves the right to withdraw that learner from the course.

Transcripts and Enrollment

What will I get if I complete one course?

Upon successful completion of a course, learners will receive email verification.

What will I get if I complete the PLC?

Upon successful completion of all six courses and the capstone assessment, learners will receive a credential in the form of a certificate.

Will I receive a diploma?

No, a PLC learner does not receive an HKS diploma for completing PLC. Should that learner go through the MC/MPA program following PLC and graduate, then they would be awarded a diploma.

Will I receive a transcript?

The PLC program does not provide formal transcripts for completing courses in our program. However, at the end of each course, learners will receive an email informing them of their final outcomes.

Do you provide enrollment confirmation?

The PLC will email a letter of enrollment confirmation upon request.

Can I use my credential to pursue a degree at Harvard Kennedy School other than the MC/MPA?

No. Learners can use the PLC only as a potential path to the MC/MPA program.

Technical Requirements

What technologies do I need to participate?

These online courses rely on technology for general course delivery, display of streaming video and other multimedia, and video calls with group members. To participate in these courses, learners will need to have access to computer hardware and a stable internet connection. Learners will also need access to a camera, microphone, and speakers to participate in weekly web conferences.

The primary technologies used to deliver the courses are the Canvas learning management system and Zoom web conferencing technology. Learners’ technology needs to meet or exceed these requirements:

Please note that because of government regulations, users in the following countries are currently not able to access the required technologies for the courses: Cuba, Iran, North Korea, Sudan, Syria, and Ukraine (Crimea region).

Are the courses mobile-friendly?

While some course components are accessible via mobile devices, learners will need to have access to a desktop or laptop computer to submit assignments.

Are the technology platforms accessible?

Our technologies are compliant with the following accessibility standards:

Learn more about accessibility features:

Interested in learning more about the Public Leadership Credential from Harvard Kennedy School?

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